Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – Present) NBC Thursdays 8:30 p.m.
Character: Leslie Knope
Actor: Amy Poehler
Fundamentals: Leslie Knope is “a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.” She’s somewhat of a poor man’s Michael Scott, in that she’s completely graceless and uncomfortable, yet, comedically, she definitely holds her own. She clings desperately to her values (until she’s drunk) and staunchly believes that her work in local government will make a real difference in the lives of the community, so much so that she might one day become the first woman POTUS. We learn early on that her belief in changing the world through dedicated civil service is unique; a notion every other government employee abandons after a few months “in office.” Her current obsession is turning a giant local eyesore into a park. If only she can get through all the red tape.
Pitiful Yet Lovable: Maybe it’s because she is so earnest that you can’t help but love Ms. Knope. She’s like that lady at work, that no matter how much you ridicule her behind her back (or right to her face) you still love working with her, and actually don’t mind spending time with her outside of work, because despite her dedication to her [pathetic] career, she’s a bit of a lush. She’s cute, gets pop culture references, can throw out sick insults and witty one-liners and can drink like a fish, yet, she somehow remains socially retarded at all times. She is hilarious.
Faves: Early on in the series, I’m talking first or second episode, Leslie falls into the shit hole she is attempting to turn into a community park. The following day she arrives at work, and takes a meeting with her superior, IN A TRAVEL PILLOW WITH DUCT TAPE and I was sold. Sure it’s trivial, but I rewound (rewinded?) the scene at least three times. “Is that a travel pillow around your neck?” This is a grown ass, semi-intelligent woman, trying to pass an inflatable pillow held on by duct tape as a medically approved neck stabilizing device. Like I said, she’s socially retarded. I also love any time she goes out “for a drink” and ends up doing shots and humiliating herself, which happens pretty much on the reg. And let’s not forget about when her boss came in in the initial moments of season two and said, “Ok. Here’s the situation,” providing Leslie the PERFECT opening to rap half of The Fresh Prince’s “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” before learning that her boss came in to inform her that someone was on fire. Gold I tell you. Gold.