I love Parks and Recreation and tonight’s episode brought out my inner geek. I had nothing to do tonight so I decided to spend my evening nitpicking the hell out of a show I love.
“Oh hey Ben,” says Leslie at the start of the episode. “Have you seen my complete collection of all 193 national flags? Oh! Here they are.”
I happen to have a pause button and way too much time on my hands so I took a closer look at her flags and noticed that many of them are not, in fact, national flags. She’s definitely padding her collection with sub-national flags!
Since there approximately 190 something sovereign nation states and 194 that are members or observers of the United Nations I assume that she is referring to sovereign nation states in her “193 national flag” comment rather than a more loose definition that might include historic or partially recognised nations.
I’ve taken a bunch of screen captures and labelled the suspect banners.
The Faroe Islands, located between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, are a self governing territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. Gibraltar is a small British Overseas Territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The Netherlands Antilles was an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1954 until 2010 when it was dissolved in favour of two new constituent countries as well as special municipalities.
The flag on the bottom left appears to be a British blue ensign with a bit of yellow in it. The coat of arms is concealed so it could be one of several British Overseas Territories. The Royal Standard of Scotland (a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) was historically used by the King of Scots and today is only authorised for use by a limited group of people and organisations.
Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that split away from the Netherlands Antilles in the ’80s.
Take note of the distinctive flag of Greenland directly in front of Jerry’s head. Greenland, located in the North Atlantic between Canada and Iceland, is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Here at the model United Nations one of the students appears to represent Libya. The flag they use, however, has since been replaced with a pre-1969 flag. The green field flag, used from 1969 until 2011, was the only national flag with just one colour.
The flag on the left is that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which is an intergovernmental military alliance.
The flag on the right appears to be a blue ensign defaced with a white disc which was included on all the blue ensign flags of British Overseas Territories before 1999 when the British Ministry of Defence removed them to make flag identification easier. The most notable flag of that description is probably the pre-1997 flag of Hong Kong. So that’s my best guess.
One thing that impressed me about the episode was the high representation of Canadian flags including the national flag as well as the flags of six out of 10 provinces. Here are the flags of Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.
Here’s the flag for the Canadian province of New Brunswick as well the Canadian flag.
Behind Leslie stands the controversial “Rising Sun” flag of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It still has negative connotations to many countries of East Asia that were colonised by Japan in the early 20th century.
And here’s a flag for a nation that was actually booted out of the United Nations in 1971! Taiwan (or the Republic of China) is a sovereign nation state that has unofficial relations with most world nations. Formal diplomatic relations, however, are limited to only 23 nations as Mainland China will not trade with any nation that recognises Taiwan.
I’m not sure if these flags, set up in the high school gymnasium, are part of Leslie’s collection. Here we have the flags of two former nations including: The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).
Leslie has a flag of The Turks and Caicos Islands behind her desk. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean.