John Balma plays the lovable and hilarious accountant Barney Varmn in Parks and Recreation. He started out as a supporting character in Season 2 Episode 14 (“Leslie’s House”), talking about taxes during a presentation and making bad puns to try to save his accounting class. Later in the season, he appears in the episode “Telethon” to give viewers of the telethon the same presentation. And that was the end of his run…at least it was meant to be.
In a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Balma revealed that he had received a call to reprise his role as the beloved accountant in Season 4, this time to get Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) a job at his accounting firm, Tilton and Radomski offer (via BuzzFeed). Ben eventually turns down the job offer and moves on to other projects, but Barney still hopes Ben will return to the accounting firm – to prepare for Balma’s regular appearances on the show. A running gag throughout the series after this moment is how many times Ben turns Barney down for a job, but no matter what, Barney remains unimpressed and adores Ben, regardless of his choices. It happens so often that Parks and Rec fans feel guilty about how Balma’s character is being handled and appreciate his thoughtfulness and tenacity. Having gone from a one-off character to a popular part of the show, Barney will forever remain a weakness in the hearts of many Parks and Rec fans.