Why I’m Voting for Leslie Knope

29 Apr

I wholeheartedly love Amy Poehler’s work, but Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation, is the subject of my most intense admiration. This is the only TV that makes me just plain happy and I was so glad to see it back with Leslie’s City Council debate against Bobby Newport last week.

Here’s what I love about Leslie Knope

  • She identifies and surrounds herself with her heroes. Her office is filled with pictures of women in politics. I kind of get the feeling that Leslie cares more about the women who have both broken the glass ceiling and committed their lives to public service, than of their political affiliations. Condoleezza Rice’s portrait sits across from Hilary Clinton’s. (Also, I just heard that Rush Limbaugh called Clinton “just a secretary” recently. What the hell? What about Rice? I can’t even handle this.) I know the show makes a point to keep Leslie party-agnostic and it’s really idealistic to just be excited about women, any women, being in power regardless of their politics. But I love that Leslie sees all of these women as kind of sisters. It’s like she thinks “if they can do it, so I can I,” and I don’t see anything wrong with that. We need more of that.
  • She reaches out to the next generation. In “Pawnee Rangers,” Leslie forms the “Pawnee Goddesses” for the girls excluded from the Rangers club Ron Swanson leads. It’s kind of like Girl Scouts, but way more awesome. And the way she mentors April is great.
  • She believes there is always a good solution and everything can always be better. She can see the impact of a budget line item on real people and tries to fix it so everyone is getting what they deserve.
  • She’s great at choosing gifts for her friends. I know people like this and want to be people like this.

Leslie’s Gifts clip

  • Also, she’s declared my birthday, the day before Valentine’s Day, as Galentine’s Day for all her girl friends. I want to be part of this so much.
  • She unabashedly loves her best girl friend, Ann Perkins. I cringed through early episodes as Leslie just assumed she and Ann would be BFF’s, but now I look back and admire her persistence. It’s so sweet how devoted she is to Ann.
  • She understands the spirit of ethics. When caught dating her boss, Ben, as well as bribing an employee to help cover it up, Leslie is honest about it. She fights the claim that she received special treatment from Ben, but doesn’t lie about the shades of gray.
  • What’s next for her? I’d love to see Knope juggle City Council with being on the Parks department. If it’s in the cards for her, I want to see Leslie as a mom on the show. I don’t think she’d bring the usual working/motherhood balance discussion to the table. I think Amy Poehler herself would contribute a sharper angle to that than writers of Murphy Brown did, for example. I just want to see more of this show and this character.

Hell, yes.

13 Apr

I hope to write more about this, but for your Friday reading, this Ashley Judd piece is not to miss. It’s even print-it-and-save it in your files worthy.