A lot can be said about Jerry Gergich from Parks & Recreation, but “cult leader” might not be one of those. However, a fan theory suggests that there was a dark side to Jerry, and that he was heavily involved in a well-known cult in Pawnee. Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Parks & Recreation followed the always-optimistic Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her friends and coworkers from the Parks Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.
Over the course of seven seasons, viewers met all types of characters, and one that became a running gag was Jerry Gergich (Jim O’Heir). The always clumsy Jerry was constantly mocked in the office, and his name changed multiple times through the series. To the surprise of his coworkers, Jerry had a very stable and happy home life, with a beautiful wife and equally beautiful daughters who all loved him dearly. But what if this, and many other aspects of his life, can be explained by his involvement in a cult?
A popular Parks & Recreation fan theory, which like many others originated on Reddit, argues that Jerry was a cult leader, specifically the leader of the Reasonablists. This cult was introduced in season 4, and they strongly believed that Zorp the Surveyor was going to destroy the world. Every couple of years, the Reasonablists claimed that the world was going to end – but they were always wrong. The cult took over Pawnee in the 1970s; Jerry was born in 1948, so he was in his twenties when the cult arrived. At some point in the series, it was revealed that Jerry had some big aspirations when he was younger, and was mostly interested in connecting with very powerful people – sounds like a young Jerry would have been perfect material for a cult like the Reasonablists.
As previously mentioned, the cult’s predictions were always wrong, and given Jerry’s clumsiness and tendency to ruin almost everything, it wouldn’t be surprising that all their failed predictions were Jerry’s fault. The author of the theory adds that Jerry was a very lovable man – no matter how much he was mocked at the office, his coworkers still ultimately loved and supported him. He was a natural leader, and was very good at winning people over. The theory even suggests that Jerry was re-elected as mayor so many times because he had influence over a large number of Pawnee residents, all through his leadership of the Reasonablists.
As for his clumsiness, it might have been a trick to distract his coworkers from his involvement in the cult, of perhaps the only thing he’s truly good at is leading people. It’s fun to imagine Jerry as a cult leader, more so because he was a character full of surprises. Maybe he got involved in the cult by accident, or maybe he was just a lucky man outside the office, but in the end, he left his mark in Parks & Recreation and in the history of Pawnee as leader (though not of a cult), and had a very happy home life, to the surprise of many.