Newsflash: There was more to yesterday’s episode of Parks and Recreation than Ron getting sued and guest appearances by Annabeth Gish and J.K. Simmons. As USC doctoral candidate George Carstocea points out on his blog, the whole half-hour was one long homage to David Foster Wallace’s massive novel Infinite Jest – the number one book you pretend to have read in college.
Parks and Rec showrunner Michael Schur — a.k.a. the guy who occasionally plays Mose on The Office — is an admitted DFW-phile. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on Wallace, directed a Decemberists video based on Wallace’s 1,079-page opus, and even owns Infinite Jest‘s film rights. (Good luck with that one, Mike.) And since a minor character in IJ hails from the town of Partridge, Kan., Schur saw an episode named after and partially set in the town of Partridge, Minn. as the perfect opportunity to indulge in a variety of Jest references.