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Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz Reveals the Secret Origin of Jean-Ralphio’s Hair
Parks and Recreation's Ben Schwartz Reveals the Secret Origin of Jean-Ralphio's Hair,Parks and Recreation guest star Ben Schwartz reveals why his recurring character Jean-Ralphio was always rocking a full head of hair.

Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz Reveals the Secret Origin of Jean-Ralphio’s Hair

Parks and Recreation recurring guest star Ben Schwartz revealed how a rejected CBS pilot called Happiness Isn’t Everything indirectly led to Jean-Ralphio Saperstein's iconic hair.

In an interview with Cracked, Schwartz explained that when he first moved to Los Angeles he didn't know where he could get his hair cut. He also hadn't secured an acting job yet, so he decided that he would only cut his hair, which had "started getting so big," after he landed a role. He then got a callback for his first-ever pilot, Happiness Isn’t Everything, which was created by Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and would have also starred Richard Dreyfuss, Jason Biggs and Mary Steenburgen among others. "When they told me I got a callback, Mitch called me, and I said, 'I will cut my hair before this callback. I’m so sorry, dude, I just haven’t found…' He goes, 'You will not cut your hair. It helps with the character. It makes that character even more unique.' And I was like, 'Really? Okay, you got it — I won’t cut my hair.'"


He explained how shortly after filming the Happiness Isn't Everything pilot, he landed the role of Jean-Ralphio in NBC's Parks and Recreation. "So, I did that, and then Jean-Ralphio was pretty soon after that, and my hair as Jean-Ralphio was so big — they loved it so much. Mitch is the reason why. My dad is very old-school: 'If your hair’s getting a little shaggy, you cut it,'" Schwartz said. "But I moved to L.A. where he wasn’t telling me that anymore, and it just grew so big. With Jean-Ralphio, people think I’m wearing a wig, but it’s always me — my hair was always that big. And, luckily, it hasn’t started falling out too much. It’s getting a little gray, but hopefully it’s good."

What Is Parks and Recreation?

Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation is a political satire mockumentary series following the employees of the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The series ran on NBC from April 2009 to February 2015, airing 125 episodes across seven seasons. Schwartz made 22 appearances as Jean-Ralphio, the self-proclaimed "baller" and friend of Aziz Ansari's Tom Haverford, on on Parks and Rec, including the 2020 reunion special that served as a fundraiser for Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund. Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O'Heir, Retta and Billy Eichner were also part of Parks and Rec's main ensemble and supporting cast.

Could Parks and Rec Get a Revival Series?

While various castmembers have expressed interest in appearing in a Parks and Recreation revival series, Schur stated in 2019 that they would only do it if they had a good idea and everyone said yes to coming back. However, Poehler and Plaza recently reprised their respective roles as Leslie Knope and April Ludgate in the Jan. 21, 2023 episode of Saturday Night Live, which Plaza also hosted. Poehler and Plaza also reunited with Jones and frequent Parks and Rec guest star Kathryn Hahn the following month to celebrate Galentine's Day.

The entirety of Parks and Recreation is available to stream on Peacock.

Source: Cracked