Jerry Gergich

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Jerry Gergich
Parks and Recreation character
Jerry Gergich.jpg
First appearance "Pilot"
Portrayed by Jim O'Heir
Information
Nickname(s) Jerry, Larry, Terry
Gender Male
Occupation Works in the Department of Parks and Recreation
Spouse(s) Gayle Gergich
Children Millicent Gergich (daughter)
Miriam Gergich (daughter)
Gladys Gergich (daughter)

Garry Gergich (born February 29, 1948), called "Jerry", is a fictional character in the TV series Parks and Recreation and is portrayed by Jim O'Heir. He has appeared in every episode of the series. He was credited as a recurring character for the first two seasons, but was promoted to the main cast beginning with season three.

Background[edit]

Jerry Gergich works for the Department of Parks and Recreation and is a married father of three girls.[1] His surname was first mentioned in the episode "Park Safety". In "Practice Date", Dave Sanderson reveals ". . . that he's got a couple of 3-5-9s on him. Public urination." He is often the butt of jokes due to his embarrassing history, a collection of awkward moments including plastic surgery after being hit by a fire truck, routinely spilling his cup of soup, and being adopted by a woman arrested for selling marijuana (he did not know that he was adopted until Mark Brendanawicz told him in "Practice Date" when the members of the Parks department decide to find scandalous information on one another).[2][3] Despite this, he is overwhelmingly kind and warm-hearted toward his friends in the Parks Department. He has heart problems; he mentions he has a pacemaker in Season 2 Episode 17, and had a heart attack in Season 5 Episode 5. He seems to have a normal family life and excellent artistic talent. In the episode "The Camel", he paints a pointillist mural of the Pawnee City Hall composed of minuscule pictures of the town's citizens. In the episode "Telethon", he is shown to be a skilled pianist, and in the episode "Go Big or Go Home" he is shown to be an exquisite painter of natural scenes.[4] His opinions and talents often go unnoticed due to a total lack of respect from his co-workers. For example, on one occasion he stumbled over his words saying "murinal" rather than "mural", causing an abundance of teasing rather than a reaction to the aforementioned (and beautiful) mural he had created and led to the submission of a group-accepted (and horrendous) mural that wasn't selected.[5] Although he never joins in the teasing, Ron Swanson describes Jerry as someone who "shrivels up when you shine a light on him," insisting Jerry does his best work alone. Ron also describes Jerry as both the "schlemiel," and the "schlemazel," of the office, meaning he is both the person who spills the soup and is the person upon whom the soup is spilled.[6]

Jerry's ID card, circa 1977. Pictured in "Smallest Park".

His approach to his job is straightforward, to the point where he is not only thrilled to spend hours stuffing envelopes but is fine with re-doing the entire assignment because he screwed it up. He reveals to Leslie in 'Jerry's Retirement' that his lackluster government life was fine with him because he placed more importance on getting home to his happy family. Jerry does have some competence issues, as Donna Meagle revealed in the Season 4 finale that she keeps all of the office's computer records on backup files because Jerry accidentally erases them on a regular basis. For his part, Jerry mainly tolerates the mocking of his coworkers, since he's been looking ahead to a peaceful retirement with his full pension. However, he does feel intimidated by his colleagues. For example, in the episode "Park Safety", he claimed to have been mugged by teenagers rather than owning up to falling into a stream.[7] It is revealed in "Pawnee Rangers" that one of Jerry's daughters' name is Millicent, and Chris is very surprised to find out she is very attractive. Chris asks Jerry if it is okay for him to date her and he agrees. Chris, in an attempt to be completely open about their relationship, continuously tells Jerry intimate details about their dates despite Jerry's discomfort; Jerry was told by Millicent that she would be breaking up with Chris and made no efforts to either talk her out of it or warn Chris, though he seems sympathetic when Chris is completely crushed over the breakup. Jerry is also one of the few characters in the series to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship with a significant other, as he has been married for almost thirty years. This contrasts with the fact that his coworkers have not fared so well as he has when it comes to relationships (i.e. Ron's two ex-wives, Tom's green-card marriage with Wendy, Donna's somewhat promiscuous lifestyle, April's previous gay boyfriend who also had a boyfriend, Andy's rocky relationship with Ann, etc.).

In the season four premiere, Jerry is revealed to have an enormous penis during office-wide screenings for mumps. Jerry is apparently Roman Catholic; he has performed the sign of the cross when he wanted Leslie to win the city council election that he neglected to vote in; during her debate with Bobby Newport, he is seen with several nuns watching her on television. In "Practice Date", it is revealed that Jerry has a Facebook page. In Season 5's "Ron and Diane," the gang are amazed to find that Jerry's wife is a gorgeous woman named Gayle (played by Christie Brinkley) who helps him throw lavish parties every Christmas. Ben Wyatt has become somewhat obsessed over how a woman as stunning as Gayle is married to someone like Jerry, posing such insulting theories as how her father owed Jerry's father a huge debt and that Gayle has visual agnosia and thinks Jerry is a friendly hat. At the party, the already-seen Millicent is joined by Jerry's two other daughters, who are equally gorgeous. Tom, April and Andy are barred from the party for being jerks to Jerry (Donna, who backed out of a planned dinner with the group using funds pooled every time Jerry did something stupid in his workday, is allowed in by Anne) and Tom is chastened to realize that he missed years of kind and supportive messages on his email and other platforms when he blocked Jerry for being boring. Leslie notices in "Jerry's Retirement" that Jerry, when he is at home and surrounded by his adoring family, is beloved, jovial and so quick that he catches a falling mug. When Tom is despondent over becoming the office's new Jerry (i.e. the brunt of insults), Ron Swanson sympathizes and they bring the real Jerry back to serve as both an intern and the renewed target of their rudeness.

Development[edit]

Although Jerry Gergich has been a regular character since the pilot episode of Parks and Recreation, O'Heir having originally read for the role of Ron Swanson,[8] the character's personality was not fully developed until the second season. Series co-creator Michael Schur said they liked actor Jim O'Heir so much that he cast him immediately and "figured we'd work it out later". Jerry's personality traits began to become established after the episode "Practice Date" when, during a contest to see who could find the most dirt on each other, city planner Mark Brendanawicz inadvertently reveals that Jerry was adopted. O'Heir was thrilled by this development because, if the show was writing for Jerry, it meant they had found out who he was.[8] Schur said after that script, "We realized that’s who he is: He’s the guy who wants to put his head down and get his pension, but is asking for it all the time. In the next three scripts, it was like throwing chum into the water. Every script after that had 15 slams on Jerry."[9] Once this personality was established, the writers felt it important to establish that the other characters liked Jerry, despite their constant mockery of him. O'Heir said in an interview that whenever his co-stars apologize for being mean to him during a scene, he tells them "You're not doing it to Jim. We're all actors".[8] The episode "Park Safety" was written as a result.[9][10] In season 4, it is suggested that Jerry's actual name is Garry Gergich, and that he only goes by Jerry because one of his first superiors mistakenly called him as such, and "Jerry" thought it rude to correct him. This seems to contradict, however, season 3 episode 3, "Time Capsule," in which it is suggested that Jerry's proper name is Gerald. In that episode, while reading from Jerry's mother's journal, April reveals that in January of 1964, "Gerald starred in a school production of Peter Pan...he was a beautiful Tinkerbell." In episode 8 of season 4, "Smallest Park", Jerry shows Tom his old ID badge from when he first started at the parks department. It can be seen that the ID card says "Garry Gergich".

Critical reception[edit]

Several critics have praised both the writing of the character, as well as O'Heir's performance. Hitfix writer Daniel Fienberg praised Jim O'Heir, saying, "Even the background players have begun to shine, including Jim O'Heir's hard-luck Jerry, who I've crowned my favorite tertiary character on TV."[11] O'Heir received particularly positive reviews after the episode "Park Safety."[12][13]

Name[edit]

There has been much controversy over the spelling of Jerry's name. His name is believed to be spelled "Jerry", as it is on NBC.com. [14] Although in "Telethon" it is shown spelled "Gerry", but this was taken as a misspelling and another joke at Jerry's expense, as his last name was misspelled as well ("Grgich"). In "Time Capsule", his full name is said to be Gerald by April as she reads from his mother's journal. In season four, it is twice stated that Jerry's real name is Gary, but since his first boss misheard him, he goes by Jerry. In the season 6 episode "Doppelgängers" everyone starts calling him "Larry Gengurch" at the encouragement of April. In "Ann and Chris", the men of the department give Chris a gift with their initials on it. Jerry signed it GJLGG which he said stood for "Gary Jerry Larry Gergich Gengurch" as he wasn't sure what names to use. The season 6 finale shows a flashforward to three years in the future where he is now called "Terry".

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0200318/
  2. ^ Fog, Henning (October 9, 2009). ""Parks and Recreation" recap: Dirty little secrets". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Matt (October 9, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: "The Practice Date" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ Fowler, Matt (May 6, 2010). "Parks and Recreation: "Telethon" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on March 27, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ Fowler, Matt (November 13, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: "The Camel" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ Hochberger, Eric (March 19, 2010). "Parks and Recreation Review: 'Park Safety'". TV Fanatic. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (March 19, 2010). "Parks and Recreation, 'Park Safety': Andy Samberg, park ranger". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Lehman, Daniel (March 8, 2012). "John Lutz and Jim O'Heir Play the Punching Bags on NBC Sitcoms". Backstage. Retrieved Aug 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Heisler, Steve (March 24, 2011). "Interview: Michael Schur". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ Muharrar, Aisha (March 24, 2010). "Exclusive: Aisha Muharrar answers your 'Park Safety' questions". Knope Knows. Archived from the original on March 15, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ Feinberg, Daniel (December 24, 2009). "HitFix's Top 20 TV Shows of 2009". HitFix. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.nj.com/entertainment/tv/index.ssf/2010/03/parks_and_recreation_park_safe.html
  13. ^ http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/03/19/parks-and-recreation-recap-lets-hear-it-for-the-schlemiel-and-schlemazel/
  14. ^ http://www.nbc.com/parks-and-recreation/about/bios/jim-oheir/

External links[edit]