November 27, 2020

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The Xena Easter egg you never caught in Parks and Rec

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It uncertain if Leslie requested that Xena depiction, or if Jerry subconsciously engineered the likeness...

It uncertain if Leslie requested that Xena depiction, or if Jerry subconsciously engineered the likeness (as he did with his notorious Leslie-slash-Diaphena work), but April beheading the Black Eyed Peas in Xena regalia couldn’t be more on point. As it happens, the hilarious painting was far from the first (or last) time some Xena-love made its way into Parks and Recreation

Savvy Parks and Recreation fans no doubt recall Xena got her first series namedrop back in season two, when Nick Offerman’s bureaucracy-hating Ron surprisingly won Pawnee’s “Woman of the Year” award. In true Ron style, he chooses to torment Leslie with his win, going so far as to take credit for the “Camp Athena” project she herself championed, and cheerfully referring to it as “Camp Xena.”

The ongoing Xena jokes reached their high point later on, when the former Warrior Princess herself (the great Lucy Lawless) actually joined the Parks and Recreation cast in season five. She played Diane Lewis, a fiercely independent single mom, who becomes the first non-Tammy to win the heart of the ever-stodgy Ron Swanson. Lawless’ memorable run as Diane lasted all the way through Parks and Rec‘s sixth season, in which she and Ron eventually tied-the-knot. 

While the pair apparently remain together, Diane was noticeably absent in the series’ seventh and final season. Still, her presence on Parks and Recreations remains the biggest  — and easily the best — Xena Easter egg of all.  

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