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The Tom Haverford Quotes On Parks And Recreation That Haven't Aged Well

As smooth as he is well-dressed, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is one of the most memorable parks employees in the hit NBC show "Parks and Recreation." The show, which won multiple Emmy nominations during its run, focused on the ins and outs of a government parks department in the strange, fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Running the day-to-day operations is a group of loveable misfits including the ultra-passionate Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and the meat loving libertarian parks director Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). 

With that in mind, it's no surprise that what really kept audiences coming back to this show for seven seasons was not only the show's hilarious moments but also the well-rounded characters, all of whom were easy to invest in. Every character in some way changes and evolves over the course of the series. For example, the control-obsessed Leslie learns let go and trust others, whilst also accepting major life changes. And the same goes for Tom Haverford who, thankfully, grows quite a lot in terms of taking more responsibility, caring more about others, and creating new opportunities for himself. In the seventh and final season, Tom's restaurant — simply titled Tom's Bistro — becomes successful. We also learn that he has written a book detailing his many failures and successes. He even ends up getting into a serious relationship with his ex, Lucy, and the two later end up getting married. 

However, through his personal journey to the show's finale, Tom said some pretty cringeworthy things. 

'Turns out, she's crazy.'

In Season 3, episode 3, which entitled "Time Capsule", Tom has just broken up with his girlfriend Lucy (Natalie Morales) whom he met while she was tending bar at The Snakehole Lounge. While still very much hurting from this outcome, Tom lets this outburst fly: "She broke up with me. Didn't really tell me why. Luckily, when you're the guy, you just tell people she's crazy. 'Hey, Tom, I heard you and Lucy broke up.' 'Yeah, man. Turns out, she's crazy.' That's what they always do on 'Entourage.'"

There's no doubt about it, breaking up is an awful feeling for both parties. Though the audience is supposed to excuse Tom because he's lashing out in pain, what Tom says about Lucy is messed up on a few different levels. Not only is the above quote hurtful on a surface level, but it only reinforces this inherit double standard that allows men to act outrageous — yet, if a woman does it, she is quickly labeled as someone who is unstable. On a deeper level, this seemingly harmless quip stigmatizes mental health which is still very much an issue that needs addressing even in 2021. Lucy may also gain a totally undeserved reputation that could follow her, which could easily impact both her personal and professional life. 

Not to mention, patterning one's behavior based on the characters in "Entourage" (a show that has aged very poorly) is never a good thing. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

'Hippo feet'

In the Season 3 episode entitled "Go Big or Go Home," we see how various parks department members are spending their time whilst the government was shut down in the Season 2 finale "Freddy Spaghetti." We see that Tom Haverford occupied his downtime through a part-time job where he sold footwear. Whilst helping out a woman customer, she understandably complains when Tom is trying to shove on shoes too small for her feet. 

To this, Tom replies, "Well, the real Cinderella didn't have hippo feet."

Tom typically says insulting things, but because of his charming and lovelorn persona, he is able to get a pass. Often times, as well, he never comes off overtly nasty.  However, this is a straight up cruel thing to say to anybody, especially a total stranger. This form of body shaming can lead to negative to poor body image and confidence issues (per National Association of Anorexia).

Also, customer service and working well with others is something that Haverford has struggled with in other episodes. For example, in the Season 6 episode "Doppelgangers" we see the Pawnee absorbing their rival town Eagleton and therefore every main character gets an Eagleton double. Tom's is Eric. Tom launches into a smear campaign in a bid to get rid of his counterpart only to realize Eric isn't a person but a program, Eagleton Recreational Information Center. Charting Tom's growth, however, we do see that he is able to maintain staff and service at his bistro at the end of the series. Either way, everyone should be thankful that he stopped working at the shoe store.

'Can't wait to see how tiny your costume is.'

In the Season 2 episode entitled "Greg Pikitis," Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), a nurse and best friend of Leslie Knope, decides to throw a Halloween party for friends and co-workers. In the past, Ann has made it crystal clear that she isn't interested in Tom, relationship-wise. Therefore, she didn't invite or even mention the party to him. However, word gets back to him anyways. In excitement for the bash, Tom blurts out, "Can't wait to see how tiny your costume is."

Once again, Tom has no filter when it comes to commenting on a woman's appearance. But, unlike his body shaming statement to the woman in the shoe store, this instance shows him degrading Ann. This joke seems harmless, but it demonstrates that Tom is only interested in Ann's body and not who she is as a person — not to mention the way he publicly puts her on the spot, in a situation that is uncomfortable and embarrassing. In the real world, this kind of workplace sexual harassment would land Tom in a lot of hot water, if not result in a firing (per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision). 

Ironically, in a Season 4 episode, "Operation Ann," Tom and Ann begin dating, though they break up the following season. Regardless, looking at the total run of "Parks and Rec," it's a testament to Tom's personal progress that he learns to stop objectifying women.

'It's a regular camera-less teddy bear.'

In the Season 2 episode entitled "Possum," Tom sinks to a new cringe level when it comes to his warped idea of "courting" Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones). A swagger-filled Tom approaches Ann, right away calls her "sweetheart," and presents her with a Valentine's Day gift. Obviously, this is instantly suspicious, since the holiday was a month ago. 

Inside the bag is a seemingly harmless teddy bear. Ann, being smart, bluntly asks if the cuddly toy has a spy-cam inside it, to which Tom replies, "What? No! It's a regular camera-less teddy bear. Just put it in your bedroom, don't even think about it."

Ann, not playing around, unzips the bear — and to the audience's horror, finds the hardware inside.

Honestly, this might be Tom's low point in the series. Far beyond being merely cringeworthy, it's downright creepy — and most certainly criminal — behavior. The fact that he thinks it's acceptable to invade Ann's privacy, especially in her bedroom, is gross and disturbing. Not cool, Tom. In the past Tom has done some other very questionable and illegal things, though, such as blackmailing his wife Wendy (Jama Williamson) in the Season 2 episode "Tom's Divorce," not to mention shooting Ron Swanson (by accident) and letting Leslie take the blame in the Season 2 episode "Hunting Trip." 

'Too sexy'

In the Season 1 episode "The Banquet," Leslie Knope's mother Marlene Knope (Pamela Reed) is revealed to be a tough-as-nails longtime school system employee, and a pillar in the local government. For her hard work and outstanding public service, she receives an award. The night of her award ceremony is filled with  speeches from fellow city employees, including Haverford, and once again, Tom turns up his "charm" to overload, stating: "Now, the words 'too sexy' aren't really in my vocabulary, but, Marlene, girl, you are too sexy!"

It should go without saying that hitting on a friend's mother crosses a line. Here, though, the line is both personal and professional. Clearly, Tom did not get the memo. As we've seen in the past, Tom doesn't consider the feelings of others — in this case, not thinking about how this would make Leslie feel, not to mention Marlene herself. Though the latter Knope seems genuinely flattered by the attention, not everyone would enjoy being put on the spot in such a public forum. 

This clearly wasn't the only time Tom engaged in such behavior, but there was a hilarious turning of the tables in the Season 4 episode "Born and Raised," when divorced Pawnee TV host Joan Callemezzo gives Tom a taste of his own medicine. In the face of this unwelcome advance, Tom panics, and perhaps learns what it feels like to be put on the spot in such a way.