Though ratings might suggest that NBC’s Thursday Comedy Night is pretty abysmal (and trust me, it can be), a few programs in the lineup produce quality material. The shining beacon, and last remnant, from the old era fronted by The Office and 30 Rock is Parks and Recreation.Parks and Rec has been slow and steady with viewers for the past few seasons, but it has been gaining fans via word of mouth and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But what really draws people in with the show is the phenomenal ensemble cast with which creator Michael Schur has developed a deep bench of colorful, likable characters.Whether you’re a man’s man lover and dig on Ron Swanson, devour the dour showers of April Ludgate, or LITERALLY love Rob Lowe embracing his silly side as Chris Treager, there’s no doubt that you’re also a fan of the sweetly dimwitted Andy Dwyer. Played with boundless energy and charm, Chris Pratt portrays Andy Dwyer like a harebrained golden retriever. The character’s lack of intelligence could easily make Andy unlikable, but Pratt handles the part perfectly, making Andy confident in his admirable dumbness.If you’re not a huge Parks fan, Pratt may have been one of those “know his face, not his name” actors. Pratt has shown up in supporting roles in Academy Award winning films like Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty, and has gotten bigger roles in movies this holiday season with The Delivery Man and Spike Jonez’s Her. By 2014, Chris Pratt might just even be a household name, as he has top billing in Marvel’s Phase Two blockbuster and newest attempted a franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the spectacular looking animatedLego Movie. If Marvel executes as well as they have been lately, Chris Pratt will be the star of a high-grossing summer blockbuster, and if rumors are true, he’ll be fronting another one in the form of the Steven Spielberg-produced Jurassic Park sequel, Jurassic World.Before Chris Pratt becomes a universe-saving, dinosaur-fighting A-lister though, let’s dive into his work as Parks and Rec’s Andy Dwyer, a utility player who has donned many different roles on the show.Andy, Ann’s BoyfriendPrior to the show’s beginning, Andy falls into the pit while drunk and breaks both of his legs, leaving his girlfriend, Ann, to take care of him. Andy milks the special treatment for all that it’s worth, soaking up Ann’s attention and care while prolonging the removal of both of his casts. In his role as Ann’s boyfriend, Andy is at his most unlikable. He’s selfish and manipulates Ann’s kindness, which eventually leads to the couple’s split. After their break-up, Andy takes to living in the pit, so he can be nearer to Ann, taking on an almost wounded animal quality. He also spends a lot of time trying to stop the blossoming romance of Ann and Mark Brendanawicz, which generates a lot of comedy, solely from Andy trying to outsmart anyone.Andy, the ShoeshineAndy is injured in the pit a second time (because why would he learn?) and he contemplates suing the city. Leslie, killing two birds with one stone, convinces Andy not to sue and has him insist that the pit is filled in. Out of the deal, Leslie helps Andy get a job at City Hall as a shoeshine, replacing the curmudgeonly old shoeshine Old Gus, where he works a little stand that also sells candies and MouseRat CDs. Here, Andy spends a lot of time treating his regular customer Kyle pretty poorly by overcharging, mistreating, and insulting him. Ron Swanson appears as a regular customer and usually bestows Andy some advice. April also hangs around, and the two develop a close friendship that eventually grows into something more.Andy, April’s HusbandApril spends so much time with Andy that she develops a crush, but the two have complications in their relationship. In Andy’s eyes, this is because of their age difference, and in April’s eyes, it’s due to Andy’s feelings for Ann. When a rebounding Ann kisses Andy, April is devastated, and Andy spends large amounts of time trying to mend their relationship. This leads to Andy doing all of the tasks that April hates around the Parks Department Office in an effort to get back on April’s good side. It works, and then at a seemingly normal dinner party hosted by the new, young couple, they announce that they will be getting married that very evening. As a married couple, Andy and April flounder in their ability to take care of themselves as adults, but generally have a perfect, loving marriage.Andy, FBI Agent Burt MacklinWhenever the Parks gang gets wrapped up in a situation that demands law enforcement or protection, Andy becomes his alter-ego Bert Macklin, FBI. Whether it’s stopping prankster Greg Pikitis, getting entangled with the mysterious vixens Janet Snakehole and Judy Hitler, or finding a rouge pie-thrower as Leslie Knope’s Head of Security during her campaign, Bert Macklin is always on the case!Andy, Police CadetSo much time playing around as Bert Macklin gives Andy the idea that maybe he should become a real life police officer. Andy spends a lot of time and energy in pursuit of this goal. He studies tirelessly for the academy’s entrance exams and works with Chris to get in shape for the physical tests. Unfortunately, Andy doesn’t ever achieve his goal; he gains a perfect score on the exam but fails his personality test. Shocker.Andy, Lead Singer of MouseRatAndy is the lead singer and guitarist for local rock band, MouseRat. They typically perform ‘90s light alternative music, or bro rock, like Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, and Counting Crows. Backed by Burley, Mark and Alan, Andy leads MouseRat for their adoring fans, or “Rat Tails.” Previous names include Scarecrow Boat, Punch Face Champion, Fiveskin, Nothing Rhymes With Orange, Everything Rhymes With Orange, Just the Tip, and many others. They’ve written hit songs for Lil’ Sebastian and Leslie Knope’s campaign, even scoring a coveted saxophone feature from Duke Silver.Andy, Ben’s AssistantAfter not being accepted into the police academy, Andy is depressed. He feels lost without a goal and even claims that he has trouble eating; none of his old hobbies interest him. To help get him out of his funk, Ben invites Andy to help him pick out a charity for the Sweetums Foundation. Andy takes right to the work, choosing a worthy charity in the Redwood Valley Music program. Andy does so well that Ben officially makes him his assistant, and he takes Andy with him to London for business.
Andy, Lord Covington’s AssistantWhile in London, Ben and Andy meet with British aristocrat Lord Covington, who has the same overgrown man-child demeanor as Andy. The two hit it off over their love of remote control helicopters and ice cream. The pair become such fast friends that Lord Covington invites Andy to stay and work for him. Andy doesn’t pass up the amazing opportunity, but when he returns to visit Pawnee, he reveals he doesn’t want to go back. He admits to being stressed and uncertain about what to do in his job, but April reassures Andy that everyone has problems knowing exactly what they’re doing. With his wife’s words of confidence, Andy returns to London to serve Lord Covington. (Andy being in London is also a meta-explanation for Pratt’s real-life absence in London filming Guardians of the Galaxy).We’re just scratching the surface here with this list. We could talk about Andy the Basketball Coach, Andy the Community College Student, or Andy Ron Swanson’s Receptionist. Andy Dwyer may be a little dim, but he really is a jack-of-all-trades and is enthusiastic about embracing new opportunities. Chris Pratt really makes Andy a lovable goof, and it seems like he’ll be bringing that same quality to a big screen near you very soon. Like Andy, Pratt really is a man of many faces, all of which are lovable.For now, make sure you keep tuning in to see him as Andy Dwyer when Parks and Recreation returns Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 8:30pm ET/PT on NBC.Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!