After months of hate and nearly non-stop nonsense around here, I think it's time for a palette cleanser, and to me, that means mixing football with some pop culture. Since we've all suffered so much this off-season, I'm going to use the best comedy on TV right now--Parks and Recreation-- for this little Big Ten rundown, because laughter, they say, is the best medicine.
Why minor characters? Well, because which team is cool enough to be Ron F*cking Swanson? None of them, that's who.
1. Michigan State = Tammy Swanson Swanson
I know Tammy seems scary, but really she's just a manipulative, psychotic, library-book-peddling, sex-crazed She Demon. -- Leslie, on Tammy II
To be blunt, you're batshit crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y. You're shrill. You're unbalanced. Your laughter is more like cackling. We're not sure if it was your prolonged mall slut phase that made you who you are, or simply an unfortunate psychotic pre-disposition, but you've beaten up tiny little men for fun. You have a penchant for handcuffs. And loathe though we are to admit it, the rest of the conference is a bit scared of you right now because of your all-galaxy ability to, uh, pound the opposing team into submission.
2. OSU = Dennis Feinstein
You're a dick. --Andy, on Dennis Feinstein
You are the Big Ten's most recognizable brand. You bought Urban Meyer a Rolexus, just because you could. You brand yourself THE Ohio State University, because you think it sounds more exotic. Unbearable smugness is a defining characteristic for you, and the rest of us have a sneaking suspicion that you may be hunting us for sport. You refuse to win prominent bowl games in situations that could make the Big Ten look better nationally, because just as "Dennis Feinstein helps no man!" no matter how worthy the cause, neither does Ohio State.
3. Wisconsin = Joan Callamezzo
I’m a little under the weather. Went on a booze cruise last week, just got back an hour ago.--Joan
Oh Wisconsin, you drunken floozy. You knew you'd be the chronically drunk one, didn't you? You're always going on and on about it--the beer you drank, the house parties that were CRAZY, the beer you drank, State Street, and the beer you drank. No one thinks you really handle it as well as you believe you do, but darn it all if you don't try. You're one that has extreme appetites, from booze, to cheese, to, well, other things (seriously, we don't care where you're powdering, but we don't want to hear about it.) Nevertheless, you do have a penchant for pulling a"GOTCHA" on the other teams in the conference. (/Wisconsin scored again.) In spite of this, your high octane lifestyle does take its toll, and by the end of the season, you've usually collapsed in dramatic fashion with the camera still on you.
4. Iowa = Craig Middlebrooks
These dogs are so cute I want to throw up and kill myself. -- Craig
IOWA! Like Craig, you are wound TIGHT, and you are certainly flamboyant about it! In spite of being incredibly high-strung, you're generally competent, and while this is usually enough for you, sometimes you grow weary of being ignored, and create quite a stink about it. You are almost never picked to win the division, and this creates a constant bubbling of resentment just below the surface. I know it's not ideal, but it's who you are! It's ok though--just "go home, put on a Macy Gray album, and cry in the mirror."
5. Nebraska = Lil' Sebastian
I don't get it. At all. It's kind of a small horse, I mean what am I missing? Am I crazy? -- Ben Wyatt
Your fanbase is passionately, all-consumingly, and somewhat bafflingly obsessed with you. The mere mention of you sends them into paroxysms of joy, and you absolutely dominate local media coverage. To the rest of the world though, you're just not that exciting--nice enough to look at if you're in the area, but really, what in the hell is the big deal? Calm down already. And let's face it-- you've probably whiled away your fair share of hours wandering aimlessly in a corn maze, seeking the glory you've long since lost. Or maybe you were just looking for more corn. Hard to tell.
6. Michigan = Trish Ianetta ("The Hot One")
Uh, well, uh, I think America is the land of the free, which is a wonderful thing, and also the brave, where people can live. And nobody can ever take that away from you. And it never gives up....No offense to anyone out there, but if it were up to me and my family, I would actually call it 'Our-merica,' and not their America! Thank you. -- Trish "The Hot One" Ianetta
You may have all the assets that get people to take a lingering look, but underneath it all, well, there just isn't much there. Like Trish, you're also a wee bit of a snob, even though you're not all that special yourself, and your talent portion on stage last year was unimpressive. Nevertheless, sometimes looks alone get the job done, whether that job is Miss Pawnee, or a pre-season benefit of the doubt that you've done absolutely nothing to deserve.
7. Penn State = Garth Blundin
You start by casually repealing a couple of old laws and the next thing you know, your jackbooted stormtroopers are kicking in my door and arresting my wife for no reason if I were married. -- Garth
You are, how to put this... traditionalists. You like things to be how they were, what's so wrong with that? You add one stripe or flourish to a uniform, and the next thing you know, jackbooted NCAA officials are storming Happy Valley. You greatly fear the danger of governing bodies over-reaching their power. And just like Garth, you've found friends in scant supply over the past few years. But all is not lost--like Garth and unlike Leslie, you can churn a mean tub of delicious dairy product.
8. Northwestern = Lindsay Carlisle Shay
Leslie: I will never apologize to her!
Lindsay: Nor I her.
Leslie: 'Nor I her!' I doth proclaim to be a stupid fartface!
Lindsay: Nice retort. Did G.B. Shaw write that for you?
Leslie: Did G.B. Shaw write your stupid fartface!?
You KNOW you are better than the rest of these clowns--smarter, prettier, skinnier, and--of course!--much, much wealthier. You have a butler, and you name your kids things like Warrington Kelsey Vandervan, instead of things with apostrophes and too few vowels. Nevertheless, in spite of your innate and apparent superiority, you still get dinged up from slummin' it with the rest of the conference. Why, you still remember last season, when you got punched in the face by Wisconsin, a coffee filter shoved down your pants by Michigan, and then, to top it all off, Nebraska hurled your Kate Spade headband somewhere! Ah well. Fix your "deviated septum" and take solace in your BTN giftbag--I hear there's an iPod touch (and $$$$$$$$$) in there. We know you'll love that.
9. Indiana = Harris and Brett
What’s up? I’m Harris. I’m 33 years young. I have my cousin Jason’s truck for two more weeks. I have one testicle–whack a mole accident–and I’m down to clown. – Harris
We found this bird outside. We tried to turn it into a work whistle, like in the beginning of The Flintstones. Tougher than it looked though. -- Brett
Indiana, you're an interesting guy, aren't you? Unlike Brett and Harris, your drug of choice is not grass, it's speed, and it seems that you only really accomplish anything when you're using it. It does give you the occasional stroke of genius, or a 70-point game (or a dead bird as a work whistle, or a proposal for a topless park...) but if you're not on it, you're generally a mismanaged mess. Your defense, unfortunately, seems to have stepped in one of the many unattended coyote traps you have laying around your office, and regrettably injured their "running feet." It's common to hear Indiana referred to as a "miserable suckhole" but you don't let it get you down--in fact, you take it as a compliment. And, what do we know? There may be a method to your madness--remember, there's more than one way to skin a cat. (Four. There's four ways to skin a cat.)
10. Rutgers = Jean-Ralphio Saperstein
Your eyes are about to piss tears. -- Jean-Ralphio Saperstein
One time I waited outside a woman’s house for five days just to show her how serious I was about wanting to drill her. Turns out, it was the wrong house. She loved the story anyway. We got to third base. Over the pants. --Jean-Ralphio Saperstein
Oh Rutgers. Like Jean-Ralphio, your comedic value is high, but not nearly as high as your ridiculous factor. You live in New Jersey, which sucks, but turn that frizown upsidizity, yo, because this year, you get to visit some football stadiums at schools that actually care about football! Even if your welcome hasn't been warm, thanks to some opportunistic maneuvering, you are "fluh-uh-uh-uh-sh with cah-ah-ah-ash!" so good for you. Try to remember that as you make your way through that classic Delany "Welcome to the Big Ten" schedule--because at the end of it, you'll probably feel like you got run over by a Lexus.
11. Maryland = Orin
Okay, everybody listen up: April's friend Orin is here. He's very intense, and very weird. So if you end up talking to him, just make sure you don't reveal anything personal about yourself. -- Leslie, on Orin
In all likelihood, you're harmless and just putting on a bit of an act, either for attention or to seem more badass than you really are. Either way you don't really fit in at all, and your presence is deeply unsettling to those around you. You like to portray yourself as "above" such crass mainstream stuff as football while you focus on the purer performance art of things like lacrosse, but in the end, others are mostly just confused and unconvinced by your efforts in this area.
12. Illinois = Dave Sanderson
"I like Ms. Knope. I liked her. I got to say when I first met her I didn’t care much for her because like 99% of the people on any given day of my life she was very belligerent and disagreeable." -- Dave Sanderson
Life isn't easy for you, Illinois. 99% of the time, the teams you play ARE very disagreeable, and when you're playing Wisconsin, they're belligerent too. You mean well enough, and you wear orange and blue like a champ, but it's just not enough. It's never enough. It's crossed your mind to lure Delany into a bathroom and handcuff him to a pipe, so that you can be free to pursue a good thing or two while he's detained, but something tells you that you're not above the law. Then again, what do you have to lose? Nothing. There is LITERALLY nothing else you can lose. It's probably time to move the campus to San Diego and try to forget this whole football thing ever happened.
13. Minnesota = Brandi Maxxxx
I am Brandi Maxxxx™, and I want your vote for Pawnee City Council. You might be thinking: what does an adult film star know about politics? Well, I've produced and starred in over 400 adult films this year alone. I know what it's like to be the only woman in a room full of men. --Brandi's campaign website
Minnesota, Minnesota, Minnesota... you Scandinavian tramp, you. Your recent past isn't considered a thing to be proud of by most respectable Big Ten citizens, but neither have your recent attempts at self-betterment been met with great enthusiasm by others . You've put yourself out there to the public and you've managed to show up as a respectable 3rd or 4th in the race throughout the season, much to the shock of, well, everyone. You're more than happy to place yourself on a level playing field with teams like Nebraska and Penn State, but for some reason, they REALLY don't like you sitting next to them. No matter. You're going to keep on fighting the good fight, so that everyone can do whatever they want to do, wherever, and whenever they want to do it, you naughty little gopher.
14. [Redacted] = Jerry
For my murinal, I was inspired by the death of my grandmother. -- Jerry
Sure, Jerry is technically a series regular, just like you, [redacted], are technically a regular ol' Big Ten team. But we all know that's just a technicality. On any given Saturday, you'd probably rather be at your time share in Muncie. It's possible that you, [redacted], have a hot wife named Gayle at home and a bounty of secret accomplishments, but if we're honest, we've just never been interested enough in you to take the time to find out.