Skip to main content

First Biden vs. Trump Presidential Debate Was Basically That Episode of Parks and Recreation but Somehow Worse

Ben WYatt confused in parks and rec

Remember that episode of Parks and Recreation where Leslie Knope is the only qualified candidate running for City Council and she has to debate a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing? And it’s beyond frustrating because she should clearly be the frontrunner but somehow Bobby Newport is in the lead?

That’s basically what the presidential debate was last night, except that it was somehow worse, and I would never compare Trump to Bobby Newport because that’s too mean to Bobby Newport (who never had a real job in his life). Throughout the night, I just kept watching Joe Biden try to answer questions only to have Trump scream lies, and no one at the venue seemed to remember that microphones could be shut off.

So, here is basically that episode of Parks and Recreation and aspects of last night that it fit too well with.

screengrab from parks and rec

From the jump, the idea of “you each get two minutes and then we’ll have an open debate” was thrown out the window because Trump could not clearly wait for his turn. It’s like that kid on the playground who hands the ball over for a second and then yells that it’s his turn again.

But everything Trump said was pure nonsense—just lies and things he made up or saw on some random news site that had no backing to them. He would just lie and lie and lie, and no one stopped him from doing so. Even the New York Times did a fact check of the night, and the only thing that was labeled as “true” for Trump was that one liberal supports Amy Coney Barrett.

But don’t worry, even the NYT likes to be the worst because their tweet for the fact checking featured one of the few times Joe Biden was wrong instead of, you know, every lie Trump said.

screengrab from parks and rec

And when they brought up the topic of Amy Coney Barrett and no one seemed to care about her being a danger to women? (Biden did halfway mention that she would try to reverse Roe v. Wade, but then Trump cut him off, and since it was No Man’s Land and we didn’t have a moderator, it never was brought up again).

What’s interesting was that there WAS a moderator, but for whatever reason, he was absolutely terrible at making Donald Trump be quiet. Maybe that’s because he works for Fox News. Basically, all he did was tell them when their time was up, which didn’t matter because Trump TALKED THROUGH BIDEN THE ENTIRE TIME.

screengrab from parks and rec

Donald Trump’s jump to defense time and time again has been to bring up something completely random that does not apply for multiple reasons. He deflects. He wants everyone to talk about what he just said instead of the answer that the other candidate was giving.

Every time he did this last night, I just wanted someone to point out to him that it made absolutely no sense for him to bring it up.

screengrab from parks and rec

And the best part of the entire night? Joe Biden telling Donald Trump to shut up multiple times. While typically the job of the moderator (again, who knows where Chris Wallace was), Trump would continually cut Biden off when it was not his time and would just talk and talk and talk, even though everything that came out of his mouth was a lie.

So what did Joe Biden do? He said, “Would you shut up, man?” and suddenly I wanted that on a t-shirt, tattooed on my body, and held on a sign above my head because it has been my mood for the last four years.

screengrab from parks and rec

Maybe I did this because it was easier to laugh at the absurdity than focus on it because last night, I felt hopeless. I watched a president stand up and refuse to denounce white supremacy and tell the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” I watched a man who has no idea how to lead a nation lie and lie and lie again and have people fact check Joe Biden like Trump wasn’t constantly spewing hate-filled lies over and over again.

So I turned to Leslie Knope, as I often do for comfort, but found that even in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, they were somehow less terrible than the racist, sexist monsters that Trump inspires. So, yeah, somehow Pawnee, Indiana sounds great right about now, and before this shitshow we’re currently living in, that was the last place I’d want to live because other than Leslie Knope, everyone only cared about themselves.

Now? That’s how the entire United States is, and it’s exhausting.

screengrab from parks and rec

(image: NBC)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

 —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.