The 20 Best 'Parks And Recreation' Recurring Characters (And The 5 Best Single-Episode Guest Stars)

This week's Parks & Recreation finale proved a worthy sendoff for the show's main characters. But as we say goodbye to Leslie, Ron, and the rest of the gang, we also wanted to take a look at some of our favorite side characters through the years.

Parks and Recreation has maybe the deepest bench of supporting players this side of The Simpsons — far too many to honor here. So after the jump, we've listed our 20 top 20 Parks and Recreation recurring characters, plus our 5 favorite single-episode guest stars.

Some of Parks and Recreation's best loved supporting players cropped up so frequently, they almost felt like main characters themselves. Others managed to make a big splash in just one appearance. Let's start with the latter group.

The 5 Best Parks and Recreation Single-Episode Guest Stars

5. Steve Wyatt (Jonathan Banks)

Unlike Breaking Bad's Mike Ehrmentraut, Ben's dad probably isn't a fixer for a high-powered drug ring run by a megalomaniac cancer patient. But he is, if anything, even less approachable than Mike was. Just look at the way he growls, "We're a Twizzlers family."

Parks and Recreation - Steve Wyatt4. August Clementine (John Hodgman)

Is there anyone better at playing insufferably pompous than John Hodgman? He puts those specific skills to good use as Eagletonian public radio host August Clementine, whose habit of interrupting and use of unnecessary French phrases drives his Pawneean counterpart to perhaps the most soft-spoken on-air outburst in history.

3. Tynnyfer (June Diane Raphael)

Tynnyfer is a spot-on parody of a certain type of female douchebag. Which, naturally, means April wants to travel the world with her. It's just a bummer she never actually got to, because we would've totally watched that spinoff.

Parks and Recreation- Season 62. Keg Jeggings (Werner Herzog)

The improbably named Keg Jeggings is basically living April's dream life — he lives in a haunted holding cell for people who went insane on the assembly line for the Pawnee doll-head factory. Plus, he looks and sounds just like Werner Herzog. But that eerie exterior masks a playful soul who just wants to move closer to Disney World.

1. Garth Blundin (Patton Oswalt)

In a single episode, Patton Oswalt delivered one of the most epic Parks and Recreation scenes of all time. Truth be told, we're still a little bummed this isn't the real plot of Star Wars Episode VII. C'mon, Disney — you're just leaving money on the table if you don't introduce the Infinity Gems into the Star Wars galaxy.

* * *

On the next page, we'll move on to the 20 best Parks and Recreation recurring characters.

Parks and Recreation - Chris, Leslie, Harris, and Brett

The 20 Best Parks and Recreation Recurring Characters

20. Detlef Schrempf (Detlef Schrempf)

While Detlef Schrempf is most closely associated with Tom, his snarky comments about his Entertainment 720 boss suggest he might secretly be more of a Ben: "They wouldn't know a non-employee tax-reportable expenditure request if it bit them in the ass."

Parks and Recreation - Detlef Schrempf19. Ken Hotate (Jonathan Joss)

The proprietor of the Wamapoke Casino really and truly does "play white people like a fiddle," as Leslie put it. Sometimes it's for a practical or noble purpose, as when he helps Leslie in her struggle for Lot 48. But much of the time, he just likes to troll them. Those white people probably had it coming anyway.

18. Kyle (Andy Forrest)

Over seven seasons, Kyle has overpaid for Mouse Rat CDs, been vomited on, sat in shoe polish, and been cheated on. He's such a Jerry that even Jerry treats him like a Jerry.

Parks and Recreation - Kyle17. Derry Murbles (Dan Castellaneta)

Pawnee's local public radio host is a spot-on parody of real public radio hosts, from his nasal, somnolent voice to his defense of the admittedly "quite awful" Afro-Norwegian funk duo Nefertiti's Fjord:

Parks and Recreation - Derry Murbles16. Ron Dunn (Sam Elliott)

Ron Swanson's first meeting with Ron Dunn promised a beautiful friendship between like-minded men. Ron's second meeting with Ron brought something even better: the beginning of an intense one-sided hatred, as Ron (Dunn) turned out to be everything Ron (Swanson) hated.

Parks and Recreation - Season 614. & 15. Brett & Harris (Colton Dunn & Harris Wittels)

Pawnee's recurring pest problem can be explained by one look at these alarmingly incompetent Animal Control employees. The last we see of them, they're secretly living in the city hall basement. In a weird way, it's kind of sweet that these two will always have each other.

(R.I.P. Harris Wittels.)

13. Orin (Eric Isenhower)

Quite possibly the most terrifying Pawneean, Orin has the ability to freak people out simply by standing there. When he's actively trying to be strange, whether by posing as April's mom or by dressing up as a sheep, he's even scarier. The only thing that weirds him out is relentless positivity, like the kind Chris Traeger has in spades.

Parks and Recreation - Orin12. Barney Varmn (John Balma)

No one, possibly not even Leslie Knope herself, loves Ben Wyatt more than Barney Varmn does. The only thing Barney loves more is accounting puns: "When it comes to accounting software, there's no accounting for taste."

11. Ethel Beavers (Helen Slayton-Hughes)

Under her buttoned-up outfits and grumpy persona, Ethel might secretly be the weirdest and wildest of them all. Even Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur thinks so:

I'll say this: there is an entirely different show, covering a much longer period of time in Pawnee's history, that could be told completely from Ethel Beavers' POV. Her life, her lovers, her job on the fourth floor. Maybe that's the next project. That's my Better Call Saul.

(He's probably just joking, but yes please.)

Parks and Recreation - Ethel Beavers

* * *

Haven't seen your favorites yet? Join us as we count down the 10 best Parks and Recreation recurring characters on the next page.

Parks and Recreation - Joan and Ron10. Dave Sanderson (Louis C.K.)

Until Ben came along, it was hard to imagine a nicer match for Leslie than sweet, shy Dave. Sure, he didn't know who Madeline Albright was at first, but the fact that he was willing to learn more than made up for it.

9. Howard Tuttleman a.k.a. The Douche (Nick Kroll)

The Douche was funny enough as an ever-so-slightly exaggerated version of a radio shock jock. He became flat-out amazing when he revealed himself to be a thoughtful, eloquent Northwestern alum... who still can't resist referencing his "banco del spanko."

Parks and Recreation - The Douche8. Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn)

Jennifer Barkley's cynical pragmatism kept Leslie Knope from tipping too far into starry-eyed idealism. Not so much evil as unabashedly amoral, Jennifer Barkley might be the only Parks character who seems like she'd fit in on TV's other best political comedy, Veep.

Parks and Recreation - Jennifer Barkley

[gif via Tumblr]

7. Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins)

How can you not love a woman who has a theme song for her own brand of gotcha journalism, whose latest memoir is titled Game of Joans, and who may or may not be powdering her vagina when she goes to the restroom?

6. Tammy Swanson a.k.a. Tammy I (Patricia Clarkson)

Only a woman this menacing could get Ron Swanson to shave off his beloved mustache, and only a woman this evil would want to. Her complete control over Ron makes his relationship with Tammy II look downright... well, maybe not healthy, but slightly less creepy.

5. Mona-Lisa Saperstein (Jenny Slate)

Such a horrible human being that even Jean-Ralphio thinks she's (sing it with him now) the wooooorst. She will start a fire in your bathroom. And your car. She'll steal your money, destroy your car, and ruin your business. To paraphrase Craig, she's awful and horrifying and we love her.

4. Li'l Sebastian

The miniature horse is cute enough to inspire a song 5,000 times better than Elton John's "Candle in the Wind." But his ranking on this list is a dead giveaway we're not from Pawnee. Any true Pawneean would obviously have ranked Li'l Sebastian first.

3. Tammy Swanson a.k.a. Tammy II (Megan Mullally)

Some of Ron's best lines have been descriptions of his second (and also technically third) ex-wife. Even they fail to capture how truly evil and unhinged she is. Though really, the simple fact that she works for the library is reason enough for most of the Parks employees to hate her.

2. Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson)

Perd Hapley may be the world's densest TV news journalist, but he's a professional through and through. Kudos to Jay Jackson for keeping a straight face while delivering redundant clunkers like "I have an update that contains new information" and inane head-scratchers like "Are centaurs real? Are you absolutely sure?"

1. Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz)

In the finale, Leslie tells Jean-Ralphio she hopes she'll never see him again. We respectfully disagree. Jean-Ralphio, you sing-speaking, injury-faking, pill-popping, hair-sniffing, morally corrupt asshat. We'll miss you most of all.

* * *

Okay, it's your turn: Who'd we miss?