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Emmys 2017
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These are the 25 best minor characters on 'Parks and Recreation'

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Pawnee Characters

There’s almost too much to love about Parks and Recreation, which kicks off its seventh (and final—sniff!) season tonight on NBC. That’s largely because Parks isn’t just a show about a ragtag group of quirky local government employees. Instead, it’s a series that takes place in a kooky, self-contained comic universe, one filled to bursting with secondary, tertiary, and even quaternary characters—many of whom are comic heavyweights on par with the show’s main cast. (Just call Pawnee, Indiana the live-action Springfield, State TK.)

Which made compiling the following a real challenge. How do you pare down the list to include just 25 characters, let alone pick a number one? After deciding on our criteria (recurring characters who have appeared in three make that two or more episodes only—which means favorites like Parker Posey’s Lindsay Carlisle Shay were unfortunately out) and scientifically averaging the contents of eight separate staffer rankings, here’s what we came up with. Spoiler: The competition was so fierce that Councilman Jamm didn’t even make the finals.

25. Barney Varmn

Played by: John Balma

Money quote: “And that concludes a quick look at QuickBook…s Pro.”

Ben Wyatt doesn’t “get” him—but everyone else in Pawnee does. The dearly departed quadruped was so much more than just a cute horse—he was the town’s mascot, an icon, a symbol of all that is pure and good and soooo cuuuuuute. He had an honorary degree from Notre Dame, for Pete’s sake! And, of course, he also gets bonus points for inspiring “5000 Candles in the Wind,” the best damn song MouseRat ever unleashed. Sniff. We still miss you, li’l buddy. —Hillary Busis

1. Jean-Ralphio

Played by: Ben Schwartz

Money quote: “Hope you brought a change of clothes, ’cause your eyes are about to piss tears.”

Buzzfeed / NBC

Tom’s best buddy and business partner was designed to be the most irritating man in the universe—but his hair’s so swag, his rhymes are so sick, and his entire persona is so awesomely pathetic (or pathetically awesome?) that we always want more of him (and of course, to dance up on him). He’s number one, even if technically, he’s homeless—Hillary Busis