Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ Parodied in ‘Parks and Recreation’
Given how ruthlessly he's mocked it in the past, Billy Joel would probably be perfectly happy if no one ever covered his 1989 hit 'We Didn't Start the Fire' -- and he might have gotten a pretty big laugh out of the way NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' mangled the song during the second of its two episodes the other night.
It isn't really necessary to understand the particulars of the plot to appreciate the gag, but basically, the show's long-running officemates/political opposites Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) have been locked in a room overnight by co-workers who've grown tired of seeing them at odds. In an effort to break Ron's stony silence, Leslie resorts to all manner of tactics, including fan torture, Post-Its abuse and finally, a very unique take on Joel's history-spanning hit.
And by "unique," we mean "nonsensical" -- a seemingly improvised version that sees Poehler spouting lines like "Freddy Krueger bought some pants / Oprah has a turtle farm / Peter Piper pee pee poopy / Daddy ate a squirrel." Just like Joel with the rock 'n' roller cola wars, Ron finally can't take it anymore, and just as the real 'We Didn't Start the Fire' preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall, so does this garbled spoof lead to detente between former friends.
As Wondering Sound notes, the choice of a Joel song for a 'Parks & Rec' gag is a nice touch, given that his ex-wife Christie Brinkley has played a minor supporting role on the show for years. Check out Poehler's performance, complete with a reprise featuring Swanson chiming in on the sax, in the above video.
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