“Parks and Recreation” showrunner Mike Schur takes particular pleasure in coming up with wacky names.
“I have this belief that most people you meet in life aren’t named Bill Smith,” Schur says. “From early on I thought, ‘Part of what’s going to make (the city of Pawnee) feel real is if people have weird names.'”
Over the years some of the silliest and strangest “Parks” names weren’t even heard on the show.
“There’s a whole family, the Lerpiss family,” Schur explains with delight. “You’ve never heard the name Lerpiss on the show, but there’s probably ten or twelve characters who have had the last name. It doesn’t play into any episode and there’s no plot that relates to it.
“If you look up Lerpiss on IMDb, we wrote character descriptions for them and how they’re related to each other. A lot of businesses in town are like the Lerpiss Moving Company or the Lerpiss Mortuary. There’s a whole other show about this very dynastic but also completely powerless family in Pawnee.”
Variety asked Schur for a list of his 10 favorite character names, which he happily provided. (Sadly, the Lerpiss clan was shut out again.)
Mike Schur’s 10 Favorite “Parks and Recreation” character names (in no particular order):
- Judy Zappossoppazzappossopaz
Schur: “Originally it was Judy Zappos, and I was like ‘You’re gonna have to clear that.’ So I wrote Zappos backwards and it was Judy Zappossoppaz. Then I liked Zappossoppaz so much that I added that whole thing and it became Judy Zappossoppazzappossopaz.”
- Officer Randy Killnose
- Mona-Lisa Saperstein
- Trodd Frankensteip
Schur: “He comes back (in the final season).”
- Tyrion Fonzarelli
- Toni Toné Strunkfuster
- Gretzky-Susan Pelligrino
Schur: “I love hyphenates … and a lot of ‘k’ sounds.”
- Typhoon Montalban
- Ssassandra Ssassnorp
- Summer Olé-Kracken Frogfrong
Schur: “Probably my favorite. It comes right from Monty Python. We also created the opposite, which is Winter Carumba-Yecti Rabrabbit.”