TV

From Johnny Karate To Duke Silver: Ranking The Alter-Egos Of ‘Parks And Recreation’


Just because you work in the public sector doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. On Parks and Recreation, the town of Pawnee, Indiana was full of memorable personalities; some of the best were self-created offshoots of the characters themselves.

The show may have ended, but the legacy of Bert Macklin and Duke Silver lives on. Whether you’ve already crafted an incredible alternate persona or are looking for a little inspiration, look no further than the ladies and gentlemen of Pawnee. Let’s take a look back at some of the best alter-egos that showed up on NBC’s classic comedy and decide which ones embodied the true nature of their character.

7. Tommy Timberlake

Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is the kind of guy who gives himself nicknames, not realizing that nicknames are something you earn. With his never-ending quest for swag, Tommy Timberlake, embodies Tom’s ceaseless ambition. Tom can be a genuinely sincere and caring individual, but Tommy Timberlake is just concerned with getting his way. Tommy Timberlake is the part of Tom that thinks carrying a dragon cane and a signature fragrance called “Tommy Fresh” are good ideas. While Tom may want this fedora-wearing dude to be his true self, it’s just not who Tom really is deep down.

6. Kip Hackman

Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) is the master of the action hero persona. After Bert Macklin was felled by ten too many shots of Snakejuice, his brother, Kip Hackman, picked up where Macklin (that son of a bitch) left off in the quest to capture the elusive Janet Snakehole. Unfortunately, Hackman was only a half-baked idea from the mind of Andy, and he too ended in vomit. Hackman may have been a good idea at the time, but he was never destined to join the ranks of Andy’s best personas. There’s only room for one crimefighting brother.

6. Municipal Bond/Tall Tyrion Lannister/The Architect

Poor, dorky Ben. The guy just wants to enjoy Game of Thrones and calzones in peace. Over the course of the show, it becomes pretty darn clear that Ben truly is king of the nerds, between the lame accounting jokes, unleashing his inner Joffrey on his very own Iron Throne, or proving that no one can beat the architect of The Cones of Dunshire at his own game. At some point, these personas become less alter ego and more a reflection of Ben’s true self. If one of them had a costume, he may have been a little higher up on the list, but on the whole, they are just flashes of Ben’s nerdiness.

4. Johnny Karate

Andy somehow managed to parlay his penchant for make-believe into a career with The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show. While Mr. Karate doesn’t have the charisma or will to find whoever stole the President’s rubies, he does teach kids valuable lessons and commands a squad of tiny ninjas. Not bad for a former shoeshine boy. While Johnny Karate was the most lucrative of Andy’s alter-egos, he never hunted Hitler’s offspring or solved pie-related mysteries, so he doesn’t quite make it to the top of this list.

3. Janet Snakehole

Part of what makes Andy and April (Aubrey Plaza) so perfect for each other was how much fun they have living everyday life together. They may be young, stupid, and broke, but they truly understand each other. In order to make the best of what could be a boring situation, April becomes Janet Snakehole, a wealthy, smoking widow with “a terrible secret.” We may never know what that secret is, but it was always a delight when April’s weirdly Southern persona came out to play. While Janet may have a flair for the dramatic and April prefers a more deadpan approach to life, they are truly two sides of the same morbid coin.

2. Bert Macklin

While Kip Hackman may have succumbed to a hangover after some projectile vomiting, Bert Macklin always gets his man. Even though he may have been framed for a crime that he didn’t commit, that doesn’t keep him from solving mysteries and defeating Mikhail Petrov. Macklin was the finest agent the FBI ever had, and he’s got the piece of paper to prove it. You never know when he’ll show up again, and you’ll never (always) see him coming. Andy’s sheer physical commitment to playing Macklin and his ability to think up incredible code names makes this a truly top notch alter-ego, but you’ve got to be more than effective to win the top spot. You’ve also got to be almost too smooth for words.

1. Duke Silver

Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) may be gruff around the office, but in his free time, he’s the jazz-playing Duke Silver. Ron prefers to keep his private life private, and there’s a sense that he’d rather burn down the recording studio rather than let his friends know about his multiple albums and swooning groupies. Despite the seeming contradiction between Silver and Swanson, it really does make sense. Why shouldn’t Ron be able to cut loose in his free time? Besides, it would be a crime to deny the people of Indiana that sweet sax sound. Ron’s secrecy about his alter ego nearly reaches superhero proportions, so could anyone else really take the top spot?

×