This week’s very funny episode of Parks and Recreation served a second, cross-promotional purpose: It plugged the Leslie Knope-authored Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America. The book was not a mere prop, but an actual book you can buy and read and place on your shelf, alongside your dogeared copy of Sterling’s Gold.
"Born and Raised" began with a great cold open that spoofed the kind of white-person’s pontificating you occasionally (okay, more than occasionally) hear on NPR. Leslie—who is not exactly the public radio type—found herself sitting across from Wamapoke County Public Radio host Derry Merbles, played to perfection by The Simpsons’ Dan Castellaneta, whose ramblings on Thoughts For Your Thoughts sounded more like Magnetic Poetry than coherent contemplations.
This wasn’t just a general public radio send-up, like those “Delicious Dish” sketches and their delicious Schweddy Balls on SNL. Rather, Derry was a very pointed imitation of one radio host in particular. His name is Michael Silverblatt, and he hosts a show on LA’s public radio station called Bookworm. He looks, sounds, and yes, kind of thinks, just like Derry Merbles.
Here he is interviewing author John Berger.
Compare that to the scene from the show:
Castellaneta nails it! One could even say that his impression of Michael Silverblatt is nothing more than a painting of words which are notes on the tapestry of the greatest impression ever sculpted.