jean ralphio tells it like it is

Gang as parks and rec characters

Ponyboy Curtis - Gary/Jerry/Larry/Terry 

“I think that Comic Sans always screams FUN!”

Darry Curtis - Leslie Knope 

“I just slept for seven hours, which is twice as long as I usually sleep, so I’m a little disorientated.”

Soda Curtis - Chris Traeger (not just because of rob, they’re also kinda alike) 

“No no no, I’m not lonely. I have me.”

Johnny Cade - Andy Dwyer 

“I’m not crying okay! I’m just allergic to jerks!”

Dallas Winston - April Ludgate

“I wanted to make fun of stupid people while I got drunk. My two true passions.”

Two Bit Mathews - Tom Haverford 

“I have never taken the high road. But I tell other people to because then there’s more room for me on the low road.”

Steve Randle - Ann Perkins 

“Jogging’s the worst. I mean, I know it keeps you healthy, but God, at what cost?”

Cherry Valance - Bobby Newport

“I’m against crime and I’m not ashamed to admit it.”

Tim Shepard - Ron Swanson 

“When people get to chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.”

Curly Shepard - Jean Ralphio Saperstein 

“When life gives you lemons, you sell some of your grandma’s jewelry and go clubbin’.”

Angela Shepard - Mona Lisa Saperstein 

“I have done nothing wrong, ever, in my life.”

Evie - Ben Wyatt

“I don’t even have time to tell you how wrong you are… Actually it’s gonna bother me if I don’t.”

Kathy - Craig Middlebrooks 

“Oh I have a medical condition alright. It’s called caring too much! And it’s incurable!”

Sylvia - Tammy 2

“A lovely, intelligent, self possessed, pediatric surgeon named Wendy.”

“Sounds like a real whore.”

Sandy - Donna Meagle

“I hope no one minds if I live tweet this bitch.”

Marcia - Councilman Jam

“What are you doing tonight?”
“More like WHO am I doing… No one, I’m free.”

From deadpan one-liners to deep emotions: How April Ludgate evolved throughout the years on Parks & Recreation

Part 1: Season One or Can you do that, April? Probably.

Part 2: Season Two or I don’t want him to be mad at me, okay?

Season 2 is the season where all characters start to be shaped for real. Leslie and Ron’s personalities get adjusted, Andy gets huge character growth, April, Donna and Garry get expanded on from pretty much extras to actual characters and get real distinctive traits, Tom, Ann and even Mark get explored more. The narrative frame is simply the everyday life of Leslie in the Parks Department, her desire to do the right thing and be acknowledged for her achievements and her romantic life with its ups and downs.

Episode summaries

2x01 Pawnee Zoo

April helps Leslie organize a penguin wedding and is really happy when it turns out the penguins were both male. She, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s boyfriend throw a party for her at The Bulge and April is ecstatic that Leslie actually came.

2x02 The Stakeout

April notices Ron can’t move and finds out he has a hernia. She helps him go to the hospital.

2x03 Beauty Pageant

April tries to bribe Leslie into voting for her in the beauty pageant in Pawnee only to discover that the prize is only a coupon for fences instead of cash like she thought. She leaves immediately.

2x04 Practice Date

April plays a game where people dig up dirt about each other and is upset that no one seems to be digging anything on her, despite the fact that she drove a land-mower through a store.

2x05 Sister City

April is hit on by the Venezuelan intern and ends up going to his house in Venezuela with Donna.

2x06 Kaboom

April doesn’t appear in this episode, presumably because she is still in Venezuela.

2x07 Greg Pikitis

April, Derek and Ben go to Ann’s Halloween party, but she finds it boring and they leave. She steals Ann’s decoration skeleton.

2x08 Ron and Tammy

April doesn’t have a specific plotline in this episode.

2x09 The Camel

April’s suggestion to the mural is made of trash, videos of knee operations and hamster wheels.

2x10 Hunting Trip

Leslie needs April to call the State Parks Office to get confirmation that their budget documentation is in. After an hour of waiting on someone to pick up, April asks Andy (who was passing by) to hold the phone for her while she goes to the bathroom. When she comes back, he sings a little song to the tune of the waiting music and she falls for him instantly. They spend the rest of the day hanging out at the Parks Department together and she gives him hickeys to make Ann jealous.

2x11 Tom’s Divorce

April is present at the dinner to cheer up Tom, where she says that he’s the only cool person in the office. She is seen hanging out by the pool table where Mark and Andy are competing and later, Leslie insists Donna drives her home.

2x12 Christmas Scandal

She is on the team supposed to do Leslie’s work while she’s busy dealing with the press. In addition to that, by pretending to ask Andy for help finding a present for her boyfriend, she actually finds out what he really wants for Christmas and gives it to him. She also offers Leslie to sleep with Perd Hapley to get her out of the scandal she’s in (to see if she can do it), but Leslie refuses.

2x13 The Set Up

April comes late to work and is scolded by Tom and Garry. She complains to Andy about it, saying she can’t wait till her internship is over, and suggests he sells his band’s CDs at the shoeshine stand. When he sells his first album and thanks her, saying he likes when she hangs out, she asks Ron to be his assistant, which he accepts, and Leslie formally introduces her into the Parks Department.

2x14 Leslie’s House

Leslie invites April and Derek and Ben to her dinner party, and points them out as a polyamorous trio to Justin. Then Andy complains about Justin to April, but she begrudgingly admits that Justin is kind of awesome. Andy is upset, but she makes it up to him by putting chewing gum in his pockets as she’d suggested before.

2x15 Sweetums

April helps Tom move because Andy said he would go. Then, Ben and Derek come tease her, and as they make fun of Andy, she walks away.

2x16 Galentine’s Day

April spends Galentine’s Day with Leslie, then the next day, helps her organize a Valentine’s Day dance party for the senior center with Mouse Rat singing. April fangirls over Mouse Rat, is excited that Andy dedicated her a song (even after Ann made her upset by showing possible signs of jealousy) and claps for him after the concert is over. Derek and Ben tell her that she’s changed since she’s started hanging out with him and she breaks up with them.

2x17 Woman of the Year

April offers Andy help to find a new apartment, but he ends up not renting it because he gave Tom his money to buy a share of the Snakehole Lounge.

2x18 The Possum

April is house sitting Ann’s house in this episode. She gets upset when Andy tells Shauna Malwae-Tweep he might try to get back with Ann by seducing her with his possum catching skills. Leslie asks her to hide the possum at Ann’s, but it gets loose. As they’re hiding from it in the bed, April opens up to Leslie about not wanting Andy to be mad at her. 

2x19 Parks Safety

Just like the rest of the Department, April lies about putting her own name in the hat and put Jerry’s instead. Later, during Ron’s self-defense classes, she’s obviously jealous by Andy and Ann showing closeness and tries to bond with him. After the class, she’s about to turn around when she sees that Ann is by the shoeshine stand but Andy calls out to her and gives her a muffin.

2x20 Summer Catalogue

April and Andy help Leslie set up a picnic for the previous directors of the Parks Department. During the preparation, Andy asks April to help him write a song and asks her out to do that in a bar together, which she readily accepts. Later that day, she helps Leslie with the pictures of the day and an X-rated version of them she’s made. When Andy and her are about to go into the bar, the bouncer refuses to let her in because she is underage. She suggests going to a different bar, but Andy prefers to go back home.

2x21 94 Meetings

April has made the mistake of forgetting how many days the month of March has. 94 people were scheduled to have an appointment with Ron on March 31st because she thought that date didn’t exist. She gets Leslie on board, but then Leslie has to go save a gazebo, so she gathers around some people (Andy and Ann), then continues to meet with the citizens (lying through her teeth to make them happy, but actually having no idea what she’s saying). At some point, Ron, completely overwhelmed, tells her off for making that mistake. Andy try to comfort her and she refuses any pity from him or Ann. She quits on Ron, but after Andy had a talk with him, she accepts to take her job back. 

2x22 Telethon

April reluctantly helps Leslie with the telethon. She hangs around Mouse Rat and sarcastically congratulates them when they get a spot at 2 am, and sarcastically responds to Leslie that everything is going really well when she asks how things are doing between her and Andy. Later, she tries to make Andy jealous by flirting with Sewage Joe on the phone, but is happy to see Andy lead him away when he actually comes to see her.

2x23 The Master Plan

It’s April’s birthday party. Andy promises her a song and she’s excited to spend the night hanging out. Once at the Snakehole Lounge, where the party is happening, she spurns Jean-Ralphio’s advances and Donna’s birthday shot. She seems to be very happy to see Andy, especially when he compliments her outfit, and tells him in no subtle terms that she’s seriously interested in him romantically. But when she sees him talking with a very touchy-feely Ann by the bar, she grabs Jean-Ralphio, dances with him, hangs out with him. She tells Andy she’s with Jean-Ralphio now, and when he goes to get them drinks, she expects Andy to say something, which he doesn’t, so she sulks the rest of the night with Jean-Ralphio. The next day, she gets comforted by an awkward Ron.

2x24 Freddy Spaghetti

April accepts to help Leslie put up the Freddy Spaghetti concert on lot 28. She is mad at Andy and refuses to talk to him. When she reluctantly accepts to listen to his confession of romantical feelings for her, she tells him that she feels uncomfortable being with him because she doesn’t like to feel like he still loves Ann. Later, after he’s had a bike accident, she tells him that she didn’t mean it and they kiss, but when she learns that he kissed Ann five minutes earlier, she leaves. 

April’s role in season 2

Expanding from what we’ve seen of her in season 1, April’s role is that of the mostly uninterested intern, then assistant in the Parks Department. However, she’s been given storylines of her own, especially in the second half of the season, and she definitely has a discernible personality.

S2 April is sarcastic and kind of bratty. She sasses people when they talk to her, she can be taunting, she loves pranking others. We see her throwing pens at Ron when he’s stuck in his chair because of his hernia, she’s constantly mean to Garry, she steals a skeleton from a Halloween party, she makes a nightmarish mural for City Hall and puts down all other options, she puts gum in Justin’s coat pockets, she photoshops the previous Parks Department directors’ heads on porn, she refuses to take any more meetings for her boss, etc. S2 April has proven many times that her first reaction towards most people is not kindness and openness. 

S2 April is “weird”, in the sense that she likes weird and creepy things. She developed an aura of being “special” and likes that about herself. She can win staring contests with cats, she can convince little kids she’s a witch (and probably has, many times), she’s driven across a store in a land-mower probably just because she thought it’d be weird, her idea of a perfect mural is completely weird and disgusting (in Leslie’s words, it might make someone vomit), even her first real conversation with Andy is her hoping Mark will get eaten by a deer (which, honestly, we’ve all thought). It’s overall a recurring trait of her personality that she sets herself apart from other people with her weirdness. 

S2 April is antisocial and avoidant. With the exception of Pawnee Zoo, which I believe to be a S1-like OOC blunder, she seems to dislike most human contacts. She’s happy she didn’t have to make new friendships at the beauty pageant, she spurns the Venezuelan intern for most of the episode (and only accepts his advances when he’s acting creepy), she avoids her coworkers, when she’s invited to Leslie’s dinner party she just hangs with her boyfriend in the kitchen, she stays with them when they’re at the Valentine’s dance party or watches Andy sing, all on her own, her first reaction when she sees Andy and Ann hang out together in Parks Safety is to just get away, she doesn’t typically enjoy spending time in a group as seen at her own birthday party where her plan was to hang out exclusively with Andy. The way April interacts with people is as little as possible, and one on one. That’s when she has her more honest discussions, her more sincere moments. In a group, we see April shut off and make herself as small as she can.

In the same train of thought, S2 April is conflict-averse. We see that she’d rather walk out of the pageant rather than make a scene about being tricked into taking part because she thought the prize was going to be something else. She’d rather sulk in a corner that no one found any dirt on her despite her having a big stain on her past. She’d rather tell bullshit to Leslie in a language she knows Leslie doesn’t understand rather than call her out for her stereotyping (she’s got a Puerto Rican background on her mother’s side so she must speak Spanish). She’d rather go home and steal Ann’s skeleton than tell her her party sucks or do anything about it. She’d rather hint that she wants Andy to tell her to stay in City Hall rather than tell him openly. She’d rather sulk all night knowing Andy is mad at her then deal with it by putting gum in Justin’s pockets rather than deal with it openly, immediately, directly. She waits till she’s really had enough to break up with her boyfriend and his boyfriend, whereas before that she would just walk away. She’d rather sulk in the courtyard when Andy has upset her, and talk to Leslie about it, rather than confront him directly. She hates knowing that she may have ruined his big day, she hates knowing that she’s mad at him, she really dislikes the whole situation. She would rather walk away than talk with Andy if Ann is there talking to him already. She’d rather accept Andy going home rather than have that discussion about her being too young for him. She’d rather quit on Ron and go back home rather than talk about it, and then she’d rather not talk things through but instead just accept the job without question. She’d rather sulk and hang out with Jean-Ralphio when she’s mad at Andy for Ann flirting with him, and likewise she won’t talk about what’s bothering her until Andy gives her no other choice. Then when Andy breaks her heart, she flies away to a different country instead of dealing with it. I could go on: that’s how conflict-averse April is. She is very avoidant, would rather let hurt feelings simmer than deal with them openly and risk a fight. 

The key element that makes S2 April a fully-fledged character is how she’s able to fall in love with the guy who is everything she isn’t. Throughout the second half of the season, we observe April navigating her life in City Hall as she develops a big crush on Andy. And somehow, all these traits of her fade away when she’s around him − to a certain point, of course. She can be sarcastic with Andy, but soon notices he’s not particularly receptive to that, and we see her soften that up over time. She can be antisocial, but mostly not to the point where she doesn’t want to see Andy. In fact, we’ve seen many times that she enjoys spending time with him and caring for him and being kind to him. She hangs around his shoeshine stand, helps him find a new place, brings him coffee, is a total fangirl for Mouse Rat… She’s in deep. This shows one of April’s key traits: she values kindness. She just doesn’t give it away to everyone like Leslie does: it has to be deserved and the right person getting it.
Also linked to Andy, S2 April is jealous. She hates Andy talking about Ann, even mentioning her, being in her presence, and especially she hates that Andy still has feelings for Ann for a big part of the season. She desires exclusivity, she wants to be the sole recipient of Andy’s affection and attention. Many times, we see her get jealous of Ann, either openly or in thoughts − in one of her emotionally vulnerable moments, she mentions to Leslie that it’s obvious Andy is still in love with Ann.

April’s relationships

April and Leslie

There is affection there, especially on Leslie’s part. April tries to keep her distance, but often fails. She’s very admiring of Leslie’s stance for gay penguins, for example, even if it’s fake initially. Generally, all throughout the season, you see Leslie trying to bond with her. They share a moment in Ann’s bed where April confesses her feelings for Andy, which gets Leslie invested in April and Andy’s budding romantic relationship. She chooses a picture of them for the Summer Catalogue front page, asks if there’s been any progress, just generally seems to be rooting for them. And April reluctantly accepts her demonstrations of affection in a way that really reminds of a parent/child relationship (“Any time you wanna talk about boys…” begged for April to answer her famous “Ugh, mom!”, not to mention Leslie fawning over how fast April has grown up). April even accepts to help Leslie outside of work hours when she offers help for the Freddy Spaghetti concert. 

April and Ron

From the first time they interact (with the hernia storyline), April and Ron seem to have a tacit understanding of each other. Almost every time they interact, it’s shed in a positive light: she becomes his assistant and does exactly what he wants her to do (with one big exception), she accepts his comforting her with a smile when she’s feeling so low after she believes Andy rejected her, etc. Overall, the impression is given that they like and get each other. There is one episode where their relationship is strained and that is when she forgets that March has 31 days. Even then, when he asks her to come back to work after she quits on him, they seem obviously at ease with each other. We even learn that April knew about Ron’s secret identity and never told anyone, which shows a huge respect for him, considering she is not one to pass up on opportunities to tease people. Overall, though they don’t share many scenes or storylines, April and Ron hold respect for each other, in no small part to their similar avoidant personality type.

April and Andy

The biggest relationship she has this season (and all other seasons from then on). From the first time they interact in Hunting Trip, Andy and April have a very strong chemistry. Andy loves April’s weirdness, April loves Andy’s bubbliness. They just click. All throughout the second half of the season, April’s story is mostly about trying to get closer to Andy, trying to help him, to spend time with him. Her feelings seem to get stronger every day, up to a point where she can’t brush them off as a simple meaningless crush. She breaks up with her boyfriend, actively makes (albeit subtle) moves on Andy. A noticeable feature of their relationship in season 2 is that Andy is the one worrying about April’s age and trying to do the right thing by waiting till she’s 21 to confess his feelings. April, on the other hand, really doesn’t care. I think this is probably an accurate representation of reality, where the younger party obviously thinks age matters less than the older party does. 

April and Ann

All throughout the season, April also battles her anxiety linked to Ann. It’s interesting to notice that April already had a negative opinion of Ann before her feelings towards Andy became an obstacle to their becoming friends. April criticizes Ann’s mural and steals her Halloween decoration, and this initial negativity just gets amplified tenfold when April develops feelings for Andy, who is still into Ann. In my opinion, the dislike towards Ann gets kindled in Galentine’s Day, where she finds out that not only Andy is into Ann, but Ann seems also to care about Andy in a way April suspects is romantic. That feeling of inadequacy starts to fade as her relationship with Andy gets stronger, but then she spots Ann flirting with Andy at the Snakehole Lounge, and that strong dislike gets even stronger. Even the climax of the season for April, which is her leaving Pawnee, is induced by her jealousy towards Ann. Interestingly, while Ann remains rather neutral towards April throughout most of the season or even tries to bridge that gap between them, she starts to also develop some sort of jealousy towards her by the end episodes. She seems upset that Andy changed for April, became more selfless in her presence, made effort to get himself back into shape, and seems to consider that he should get back together with her because she shaped him. She later admits that it was a moment of confusion and a mistake.

April and Tom

Still a nice friendship. According to April, Tom is “the coolest person in the office”. She might refuse to help him move in at first, but still accepts in the end when Andy says he’ll help too. When Andy tells April he’s given Tom all his money, even though she’s disappointed that her plans involving Andy’s new place can’t happen, she seems happy about that gift. Tom is the one organizing April’s birthday party, too. Overall, pretty much all of their interactions are positive, even though there aren’t that many. Tom and April are the definition of successful workplace acquaintances.

April and Derek/Ben

As April explains, “Derek’s gay but he’s straight for me, but he’s really gay for Ben”. From the get go, her relationship with Derek isn’t particularly intimate or tender. Their common grounds seem to be their sarcastic behavior and mocking of other people. As time goes by, she seems to find less and less in common with him and Ben. They start to seem a bit more mean-spirited than she’d like towards Andy, their interests start to look too ironic for her. They simply lack the genuine kindness that Andy always exults. After trying to avoid the issue for as long as she can, when Derek says that he doesn’t like what she’s become since she’s started hanging out with Andy, she breaks up with him and Ben and we don’t see them any more.

April and her family

We have little to go from to judge the state of April’s relationship with her parents and sister. We learn that she believes that her sister is the favorite, but we don’t see her interact with Natalie. We see that her parents are very warm and welcoming people who don’t seem to know much about April, but we don’t see them interacting to prove that. As is, there is no way to really know what April’s relationship with her family is in S2. 

April and her work

April isn’t generally very engaged in her work. She obeys direct orders from Ron or from Leslie, but she doesn’t show any real initiative of her own (let’s not count her trying to bribe Leslie with a fancy coffee or photoshopping the Parks Department directors onto porn pictures as taking initiative). She comes late to work and doesn’t do much work, usually texting and not answering phones. As it happens, these are qualities that Ron requires for an assistant, so paradoxically, this makes her an amazing assistant for him. As far as Leslie is concerned, April follows the orders she receives just fine, like hiding the possum or helping out with the picnic. 

April’s character growth

Since April’s character was so flat in season 1, pretty much all of her traits developed can be considered character growth because we weren’t aware of them before. What I am going to consider is her growth within the season. She was really completely apathetic in season 1 and early season 2, and became someone who had personal interests. She was completely closed off to other people, and learned to open up to friends and got a romantic interest. She was entirely disinterested in the Parks Department, and went as far as helping Leslie in her free time by the end of the season. She was in an ill-fitted relationship and learned to listen to her desires and break up when she needed more. She learned to let go of her fears of Ann and Andy getting back together (only for that dream to be shattered once again, admittedly). Generally, season 2 is the beginning of April opening up to the world and it starts with Andy. Whereas S1 April was completely closed off, S2 April learns to let her guard down sometimes, little by little, learns to care.  

This is the end of the analysis on April in season 2. What do you think? Did I miss any important element within season 2 that changes what I’ve written and needs to be addressed? Is there a key element to April’s personality that I didn’t mention? Please share any opinion with me. I want this to be a give and take.