Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, is the main character of Parks and Rec. She's a government worker in the parks and recreations department of Pawnee, Indiana. She enjoys her work more than anyone else in her wing and is often the only person to get anything done. Her boss, Ron Swanson, despises the government and continually is a detriment to her work. Additionally, there are many other people in the government building who are inefficient and don't do any of their own work. Although the show does have many different plots and things happening, the main focus on the show is Leslie's job to work on the plot of land behind her friend Anne's house, and turn it into something meaningful. She faces many difficulties throughout this job, ranging from chain restaurants wanting to build a franchise on her plot to a garden of drugs being planted in it. Regardless of all these obstructions, Leslie still continues to persevere in her goals.
Ron Swanson, the uber-private Libertarian boss played by Nick Offerman, rarely shares any personal information He grew up on a farm in a small town and is shown to have enjoyed woodworking from an early age, building his first chair at age five. Ron is the director of the parks and recreation department and although he holds such a significant job, he strongly opposes government. Multiple times Ron purposefully hired poor workers in order to slow down the government. Despite sharing a nearly opposite view on the role of government, Ron gets along well with Leslie, and the two share a strong mutual respect. Before the start of Parks and Recreation, Ron has two ex-wives, both of whom are named Tammy, which is also the name of Ron's mother. Ron despises and fears both of his ex-wives, and they are among the few individuals in the world who can break Ron's usually unwavering stoicism.
Ann perkins, played by Rashida Jones, goes through many boyfriends throughout the series. In the beginning, Ann was dating Andy Dwyer, who was lazy and unemployed. Because Andy fell into the large pit near their house, Ann attended a Parks and Recreations meeting to advocate for getting it filled in. This is where she met Leslie. She and leslie always had a crazy friendship, mainly due to the fact that Ann is a seemingly simple person, whereas Leslie is anything but simple. The contrast their friendship brings throughout the series is one of the most comedic aspects of the show. Near the end of the series, Ann ends up getting into a serious relationship with Chris, who moved to Pawnee with Ben. Ann's compassion and rationality only make her character more funny because of the craziness of everyone around her.
April Ludgate is an apathetic college student who begins the show working as an intern in the Pawnee Department of Parks and Recreation, having been hired as Ron Swanson's assistant. Andy Dwire is Ann's unemployed boyfriend who is equally parts dumb and lazy. Early on, he takes a job as a shoe-shiner at Pawnee City Hall. The two end up dating after Ann dumps Andy and eventually get married later on the season. April and Andy bring a true meaning to "opposites attract," and between April's bad attitude and Andy's silliness, the two bring a lot of funny one liners and hilarious scenes. Oh and April ends up being Ron's best man at his wedding. Huh.
Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari works as Leslie Knope's immediate subordinate at the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, often serving as her right-hand man. He displays an extremely sarcastic, mischievous and cocky attitude, and frequently attempts to secure favors from local contractors. Tom has demonstrated his talent and passion for entrepreneurship in many occasions, including Entertainment 720, Rent-A-Swag, and Tom's Bistro. Although he purchases clothes from teen/young boy stores, Tom takes his appearance very seriously.
Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger are state auditors who comes into Pawnee to evaluate the town's funds at the end of the second season. Compared with the exuberant Chris, Ben is very serious and straightforward, willing to tell the truth no matter how harsh. The two used to do budget meetings individually, but it didn't work out because Chris would never get anything done and Ben received multiple death threats. Ben and Leslie began dating shortly after he and Chris arrived on the show, even though initially Leslie hated him (because he was going to reduce their budget). Chris and Ann end up dating later on, and their relationship definitely brings out a new side to both Ann and Chris that is unseen before.