A Tribute to Leslie Knope

BY ANNIE BOGGS

This post is in honor of one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, which returns for its fourth season this Thursday. (Yay!) Along with being hilarious, the show also shows gives us a rare subject in today’s network television shows — a female main character who is strong, complex and a self-described feminist.

For all those who are missing out on this delightful show, Leslie Knope is the name of this character, played by Amy Poehler. She is a person who is very competent in her small-town government job. She also has aspirations of being the president of the United States. She has photos of Hillary Clinton and Sandra Day O’Connor by her desk. She has relatable relationship triumphs and problems.

Basically, she’s a realistic and driven modern-day lady. It shouldn’t be that rare on TV, but it is.

Along with being a relateable character, she’s also adorably quirky, like many of the show’s other characters. Her quirkiness is contrasted with the extremely logical persona of her best friend Anne, played by Rashida Jones. Another refreshing part of the show is its inclusion of a strong female friendship. Like all friendships it has its ups and downs, but its a friendship extremely valued by the characters and a large part of the show’s plotlines. It also doesn’t revolve around men.

So, if this show were a movie it would definitely pass the Bechdel Test. And what’s most refreshing is that you do see a personal progression of Leslie’s character through the seasons of the show. Hopefully this season she will be better (and more feminist) than ever! I’m ending my spiel, but please do check out the show on Thursday. And if you haven’t already, check out the clip from this Sunday’s Emmys broadcast of the leading ladies of comedy coming up to the stage in a faux beauty pageant set-up. As one commentator said, “Who’s saying women aren’t funny now”?

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