I make no secret of the fact that Parks and Recreation is my favorite TV show. I watch quite a bit of TV, and I have a lot of shows that I love – but Parks is my favorite. There are so many reasons that I adore Parks the most, but a main reason would have to be Leslie Knope.
Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is the deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. Here’s a few reasons that Leslie is an amazing character.
1. Ann Perkins
Especially early on, one of the most important relationships in the show is that of Leslie and Ann. It is no secret that Leslie LOVES ANN. More than anything else, really.
And Leslie and Ann don’t always agree,and have gotten into fights, but their relationship is rock solid. They love each other, period. There is no cattiness. There is no pitting of them against each other. There is no cultivation of mistrust or fake ness. There is just really strong, really true, really lovely female friendship.
2. GET ON YOUR FEET, GET UP AND MAKE IT HAPPEN
Leslie is driven, efficient, and ambitious. She wants to be city councilor. She wants to be a senator, she eventually wants to be president. She proudly announces that if you hear them talking about “a blonde pain in the ass,” they’re talking about her! Leslie runs for City Council in the fourth season (and wins! And then is later recalled!).
She works tirelessly to make her city a better place. And she doesn’t take no for an answer. She also does it with positivity and love, which is great. She’s surrounded by corruption (funny corruption, but still), and cynicism, and huge insurmountable problems, but she doesn’t let that bring her down. She loves her town to a fault, and believes that hard work and dedication will be enough to change it for the better.
3. Ben Wyatt
Leslie and Ben. Ahhhhh. Leslie and Ben. What is remarkable about Leslie and Ben’s relationship????? Well, there’s the fact that Ben willingly gave up his (higher ranking job) at city hall to avoid Leslie seeing any lasting retribution for their relationship. Not because it was a case of the man saving the woman, but because Ben knew just how important Leslie’s job was to her, and that sacrificing his career was worth it if it meant protecting hers. Ben also completely supported Leslie’s run for city councilor, and was actually her campaign manager. After her campaign was over, when he was asked to go to Washington, she supported him going. At the basis of Ben and Leslie’s relationship is just that; support. Helping each other.
And talking about things and not just breaking up every time they have an argument.
Also a lot of sex. Which I think is a real departure from the typical sitcom structure; you get married and your sex life dies. The husband is always trying to convince the wife to have sex with him (because men always want sex and women never do), which is apparently the height of comedy. I bloody hate that trope. Parks avoids it completely.
There are so many little things about Leslie Knope, and Parks in general, that are absolutely amazing. But I think to get the full effect, you really just have to watch the show. Watch the relationships form and strengthen and laugh your ass off at the impeccable comedy as it happens. Parks is such an incredibly strong mixture of heart and funny. They do it better than anybody else. Go forth. Love yourself. Watch Parks and Rec.
Disclaimer: I HATE the first season of Parks. Leslie is basically a female Michael Scott from The Office, and it’s terrible. They really needed to retool it, but after they did, oh man. Ohhhhh man. It’s so great. So give it a chance, okay? Get past the first six episodes and let the show bloom into the absolute masterpiece it is. But you have to get past the first season.