|Parks and Recreation character|
|Last appearance||"One Last Ride"|
|Portrayed by||Jim O'Heir|
Mayor for the City of Pawnee|
National Park Service Midwest Region
Employee in the Department of Parks and Recreation (Former)
Millicent Gergich (daughter)|
Miriam Gergich (daughter)
Gladys Gergich (daughter)
"Jerry" Gergich is a character in the TV series Parks and Recreation, portrayed by Jim O'Heir. The character has appeared in every episode of the series, with the exception of the first-season episode "Canvassing". He was credited as a recurring character for the first two seasons, but was promoted to the main cast beginning with season three. He first appeared in the opening credits/theme in the season six episode "Anniversaries", following the departures of cast members Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe.
Jerry's true name is Garry, but he is referred to as Jerry for the first six seasons (for which reason the character is usually referred to by this name in external media). In the last two seasons — as a running joke — the name other characters call him changes, initially to Larry, then to Terry, before finally settling on his real name of Garry.
Garry Gergich, born February 29, 1948 (S4: E16), is a longstanding employee of the Department of Parks and Recreation who is nearing retirement and is a married father of three girls. He first speaks in the Season 1 episode, "The Reporter". His job performance is middling and unspectacular, he places more importance on his happy home life. Jerry is content to do simple, repetitive tasks.
His surname was first mentioned in the episode "Park Safety". He is often the butt of jokes and is frequently mocked by his co-workers. 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. 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.
Some episodes feature characters discovering an appreciation for Jerry, for instance in "Jerry's Retirement" Tom finds Jerry's attraction of all the office mockery to be useful for him, and he and Ron conspire to have Jerry bought out of retirement and back into the department. At the end of season 6, Leslie hires Jerry (then called Larry) as part of her National Park Service administration team.
He is artistically talented, though these talents are not appreciated by his colleagues. Jerry is a practicing Roman Catholic. His happy home life, and stunningly attractive wife (Gayle, played by Christie Brinkley) and three daughters, bemuse his co-workers who know him from the office. One of Jerry's daughters, Millicent, dates Chris Traeger for much of season 4.
In "Two Funerals", city manager Ben Wyatt searches for an interim mayor to replace the recently deceased Mayor Gunderson. After a fruitless search Ben realises Garry (as he is then called) is the ideal candidate. In the flash forwards in the final episode it is shown that Mayor Gergich is repeatedly reelected in earnest, serving 10 terms. These flash forwards show that Garry dies on his 100th birthday, after celebrating with several generations of his family and toasting a perfect life.
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, the character's personality was not fully formed 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 because it meant that the show's writers were interested in developing his character. 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." 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". The episode "Park Safety" was written as a result.
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." O'Heir received particularly positive reviews after the episode "Park Safety."
The character's name has been a running joke over the course of the series. For most of the series run he is known as "Jerry Gergich". In season four, it is twice stated that Jerry's real name is Garry, but since his first boss misheard him, he goes by Jerry. In the episode "Telethon", his name is misspelled as "Gerry Grgich" on the television. From the season 6 episode "Doppelgängers" everyone starts calling him "Larry Gengurch" at the encouragement of April, a situation "Larry" meekly accepts with little protest. 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 "Garry Jerry Larry Gergich Gengurch" as he wasn't sure what names to use.
Following the time jump to 2017 at the end of "Moving Up", he goes by the name of "Terry" - an explanation is given during the season 7 episode "2017" that a new employee that works in the National Park Service also goes by Larry and the group changes his name to Terry. In the season 7 episode "Donna and Joe", Donna puts his name down as "Garry" on a seating placard at her wedding, which prompts April to begin calling him Garry, his actual name. Throughout season 7, he also appears on Andy's television show The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show, playing a character named Mailman Barry.
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