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The Wild Parks And Recreation Theory That Explains Everything About Jerry

Jerry Gergich (Jim O'Heir) — also sometimes known as Garry, Larry, Terry, or Barry depending on the situation — is a beloved character on the hit NBC television show "Parks and Recreation." Running for seven seasons and 126 episodes, the hit comedy show follows a group of lovable misfits who work at the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. 

The bumbling Jerry is a sweet-natured guy who is, sadly, the butt of the office's cruel jokes and pranks. Initially, co-creator Michael Schur didn't know what to do with Jerry but knew he wanted O'Heir in the cast, as he revealed in a 2011 interview with The AV Club. It wasn't until the re-tooled second season that the character became more fleshed out. In doing so, Jerry's personal life also had some amusing developments, like the fact that he has a very stable and loving marriage to his wife, Gayle. It's revealed in the Season 5 episode "Ron and Diane" (via IMDb), Gayle is played by former supermodel Christie Brinkley, which leads to a lot of confusion amongst the other "Parks and Rec" characters about why she's with Jerry.

Adding to this hilarious irony, we learn Jerry and Gayle have a picturesque family, with the couple's three daughters (who take after their mother) still living with the couple. In a 2015 Esquire interview, O'Heir explained why Brinkley was cast: "Mike said, 'To keep Jerry around he has to have an amazing home life.' He said, 'We're going to look for a Christie Brinkley-type.'"

Although this seems like a logical reason to put O'Heir and Brinkley together onscreen, one Reddit user has a different theory on the truth of Jerry and Gayle's relationship.

Is Jerry Gergich a secret agent?

A seemingly normal husband and wife lead double lives whilst raising a family, and their boring existence is a cover for their work as sleeper agents. This might sound like the plot of FX television series "The Americans." However, according to a 2014 post from Reddit user u/Theluckygal, this may also be true on "Parks and Recreation." According to this theory, Jerry's meek, sweet-natured, and clumsy persona is a way of deflecting his true purpose. Per Theluckygal, "He is sleeper agent or spy or a criminal and his family knows it, too."

The Redditor then shares a list of evidence pointing to signs Jerry is, perhaps, slicker than he appears to his co-workers. Theluckygal's top reason is also the strongest. They write, "His successful family life contradicts his work life. He is very talented and artistic but intentionally acts clumsy outside his home. His excuse is that he feigned incompetence so that he wouldn't get stuck with more work and instead invested time with his family. I think he intentionally acts foolish so that no one would suspect his true intentions." This point is best exhibited in the Season 5 episode "Jerry's Retirement," when Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) visits Jerry's home and joins his family for a bizarre breakfast (via YouTube).

The post goes on to suggest that Jerry's house number, 420, is a giveaway because it "is a number associated with cheating [or a] trickster." They also note, in part, "No one seems to have any sympathy or a soft corner for him even though he tries to be friendly with everyone. They have a strong feeling that he is not trustworthy." Other key points in the post include the fact that many spies have government jobs, and that we learn Jerry's adopted mother has had a drug charge, thus potentially introducing him to a life of crime early. 

Parks and Rec fans have a lot of feelings about this theory

Of course, fans had a lot of opinions on the Redditor's theory. Punching a hole in the drug theory, Reddit user u/Mad_Hatter_Bot says, "I don't think marijuana possession would entirely be considered a life of crime." While on the subject of drugs, u/sprtn11715 commented, "I laughed hysterically at the '420 is associated with tricksters' comment. Really? Since when?"

U/datspectersmile also rejected any connection to drugs. They made an interesting observation in the Season 5 episode "Jerry's Retirement," saying, "When Leslie visited his home all by herself, Jerry showed off his grace by catching a plate before it fell and shattered (or something). He wouldn't do that if he was trying to keep his identity as a sleeper agent a secret."

Explaining Gayle's attraction to Jerry, u/BlackPresident states, "Jerry once told Chris that he used to look very similar, athletic and after his wife had [a] child, he let himself go somewhat." Redditor u/_pagan_poetry_ also played devil's advocate, saying that the reason Jerry allows other people to call him different names is because he possibly can't remember his actual fake name.

Obviously, this is a far-out theory, especially since everyone knows FBI agent Bert Macklin (Andy Dwyer's alter ego) would have gotten to the bottom of this case. Though the whole sleeper agent theory may not be entirely supported by the show, one can certainly look at this theory more deeply and conclude that there may be a reason other than good fortune behind Jerry having a good life, complete with an amazing wife, loving kids, a house, and a stable career.