Duels or “classy show-downs” as they are often called by no one, have been solving hot debates for ages. They're useful for delivering crowds a champion, through often unpredictable means (just ask Alexander Hamilton). Television loves a surprise, so what better way to measure and battle elements of TV than with a duel? Here, we will battle two characters in an imaginary contest of wills. Sometimes a winner will be crowned because of pertinent facts, and sometimes in spite of them.
This week? Ben Wyatt v. Henry Pollard in working, (or… Adam Scott v. Adam Scott at jobs.)
Of the seven basic literary conflicts, the most intriguing is certainly “character v. character” — or as the version with which you might be more familiar: “man v. man.” Like “spy vs. spy,” “man v. man” is upsetting at times, but ultimately rewarding because there’s a pretty good chance that something is going to explode. The only thing that would make this conflict better is if one man played both men, thereby adding a pinch of “man v. self” to the battle rouge. According to several studies, there is no ticking time bomb with a nicer head of hair than Adam Scott. So, sit back and get comfortable because you’re about to experience a truckload of man on man action that is likely to end with an extremely masculine explosion.
Like all legendary heroes, cretins and ghouls, every co-worker has their background myth that makes them who they are today. For instance, there must be some dark event from their childhood that makes them both refuse to shut the window near their desk in the winter and refuse to turn on the air-conditioner in summer. Or maybe it’s left them deathly afraid of cops. Well, not afraid of cops. They have no reason to be. They never break any laws, ever, because they’re deathly afraid of cops.
Ben “Human Disaster” Wyatt from Parks and Rec and Henry “Scrotum Phillips” Pollard from Party Down have several parallels in their origin stories that would make them excellent foes, potentially even archrivals. Both were successful at a young age — either by becoming mayor of Partridge, MN at age 19, or by becoming an actor who could easily be cast as that 19-year-old mayor in a TNT television movie. Then, both men experienced a dramatic fall from grace. Ben was impeached after he bankrupted his town by trying to create another town within the town made only of ice. Henry lost all credibility as an actor and stopped getting roles after he did a beer commercial with the catchphrase “Are we having fun yet?” While that is a slogan that would haunt anyone’s dreams, Ben had to survive being associated with the following headline: “Ice Town Costs Ice Clown His Town Crown.” That’s a lot of baggage with which to share a cubicle. Point: Henry
Things are getting hot and heavy between these two men now, in the second round of this duel. Both Ben and Henry rebuild their resumes by joining a team of crazy goons in local government and event catering, respectively. After initial reticence, they’ve both gained ground in these esteemed fields. On the advice of a client, Henry attempted to grab his destiny by the balls and squeeze hard. However, he got tripped up because he “wouldn't even know where destiny's balls are.” Ben was also tripped up, specifically by an unfortunate love of calzones, despite the fact that they are pointless.
However, they both persevered, emerging as advisers of their rag-tag bunch of cater waiters and parks department employees. Henry usually advises his fellow waiters to quit things, just like Ronald Reagan did. Occasionally, he dispenses this advice dressed in as his “helpful gay pirate” alter ego, which usually isn’t very helpful at all. Ben, a math whiz and former political wunderkind, gives more complicated instructions, such as reminding people that businesses need “clients” to get “money.” and “if you want to win you gotta get the gray vote.” With advice like that, Ben’s an asset to any team, even if the project involves building a stage on an ice rink. Point: Ben
Ron top of the world
Both men have co-workers named Ron. Ben treats his Ron, Ron Swanson, with the utmost respect and their work styles mesh well, especially considering all of Ron’s helpful suggestions like selling zoo animals to cover a budget deficit. Henry is less deferential with his Ron, Ron Donald, who is an achiever. Rather than pitch in and help Ron burn an American flag to replace a client’s battle token, Henry just watches his co-worker struggle. That is definitely a don’t. Point: Ben
Both Henry and Ben end up falling for their co-workers and used their unique facial expressions to win over the object of their affection. For Henry, the relationship with Casey pushes him further into his catering career. In Ben’s case, his love for Leslie ends up forcing him to leave his job. Also, it produces the following creation:
No one wants to work with that guy. Point: Henry
That brings this co-worker duel to a tie. For a tiebreaker, we’ll look at sartorial display because as all working stiffs know, you’ve got to dress for success. While that pink bow tie frames Henry’s smirk quite nicely, the J. Crew kids section has never looked so good on a man. Winner: Ben