A couple of quietly long-running threads came together last night on Parks and Recreation in the form of Questlove as Levondrius, the hated brother of office manager Donna.
First, Questlove. The Roots drummer and The Tonight Show bandleader has long been a Parks and Rec fan. In late 2009, he compared the NBC sitcom to the Wu-Tang Clan, even giving each cast member a Clan equivalent. A month later, Funny or Die jumped off from that idea with a Questlove-narrated video starring RZA himself in a Parks and Rec screen test. Questo’s, um, roots with the show run deep.
Second, Levondrius. Way back in 2011, Donna (played by mononym-using actress/comedian Retta) made what could’ve been a throwaway joke about this character. “I love you like a brother,” she told Ron (Nick Offerman). “But right now, I hate you like my actual brother, Levondrius. Who I hate.” For years, Parks and Rec fans have known no, um, love for this man.
The headline here is probably spoiler enough, but suffice it to say this week’s episode centers around Donna’s wedding, and Questlove shows up as Levondrius. There’s some bitterness about a “microwave incident” — hence the photo above. Ginuwine, as the show revealed in a 2012 episode, is Donna’s cousin, and he recurs here in that role.
Parks and Rec has been steeped in goofy music references. An episode last week featured Leslie (Amy Poehler) singing her own words to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” There was a plot several years ago about how much April loves Neutral Milk Hotel. Andy (Chris Pratt) used to express no shortage of admiration for Dave Matthews. Ginuwine performed “Pony” on the show last year in an episode with Yo La Tengo, Jeff Tweedy, the Decemberists and Letters to Cleo. The show has also hosted a Smiths-quoting Sam Elliott and doffed its hat to Daft Punk.
And now, we have Questlove as Levondrius. Break out some microwave-incident popcorn and watch the full episode below.