5 reasons I love the character of Leslie Knope – by Tabitha

1 Apr

1. She has lovely, honest, real female friendships. Do you remember that episode where Tom creates a “word cloud” from Leslie’s emails, and “Ann” is one of her most frequently used words? How great is that. I feel like Ann and Leslie’s friendship is written for women, making it a totally winning example of how Parks and Recreation passes the Bechdel Test.

2. She loves her work, and is unashamedly hardworking and ambitious and derives personal satisfaction from doing her job well, even though it’s comedically unimportant. She is celebrated for being competent, which, when you think about it, is phenomenally unusual for a comedy.

3. She is a feminist; an actual feminist activist who agitates for women’s rights at all levels. Does this mean postmodern feminism is over? I HOPE SO.

4. She loves craft. She makes thoughtful gifts for her friends and colleagues and they really appreciate them. She is also really good at craft, and many other things besides. One of my beefs with Liz Lemon has always been that she’s crap at everything in life except work. Leslie Knope is an over-achiever and proud of it. Plus she’s great at bowling (ask Ron).

5. She’s enthusiastic and passionate and earnest, and is respected for it. After watching Parks and Recreation I now look at a show like Community and feel like the humour only comes from cynicism and taking the piss. It’s so early 2000s. I love that Leslie is kind and happy and gets to be the show’s hero rather than the show’s fall guy. Also, she gets to be freaking hilarious.

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6 Responses to “5 reasons I love the character of Leslie Knope – by Tabitha”

  1. Karen April 1, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Agreed. For me point 5 is the heart of the show.

  2. Beth April 1, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    That is all so true! I’ve recently stopped watching Community, and I think your 5. is an articulation of why. I just wasn’t laughing anymore. Parks and Recs makes it where Community fakes it.

    A colleague of mine told me about the Bechdel test the other day and since then I’ve seen so many references to it. Something in the air.

    Makes me keen to watch more P&R.

    Also, the relationship between Ron and Tammy is the funniest things I’ve ever seen. They are married in real life you know. Genius.

    On a side note, I have been saying “genius” a lot lately about cultural phenomenon, but I really mean it. There’s some amazing stuff out there right now!

    • Beth April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      More thoughts:

      Lynda Day was a hero of your’s Tabs? She was a hero of mine. Anyway, I think that it shows how far we (and society/feminism?) have come.

      Secondly, I think a lot more about feminism since becoming a mum. Cliched but true. Lots of thoughts on that too. Maybe a post for another time?

  3. Tabitha April 1, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I think I first read about the Bechdel Test in relation to Bridesmaids, which is another AMAZING depiction of female friendships. Anyone who thinks that movie is anti-women needs to have their head checked.

    As for Lynda Day, I was thinking of writing about her for this post actually! I loved her and admired her so, so, so much as a youngster, but when I watched Press Gang again as an adult I was horrified by how selfish and mean she is. I know this is kind of the whole point of her character, but I think when I was a teenager I thought that was just part-and-parcel of being a powerful female. Yikes. I hope young women today are more sensible.

  4. Justyna April 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I agree with all your points Tabs! And I love her for it too.

    I still love Ron the most. Anti-government and into meat. Sorry.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Six ideas – by Beth « Far Flung Four - June 27, 2012

    […] portrayals of love and friendship in the context of the everyday. Austen and Goldin pass the Bechdel test with flying colours. Vanessa Berry‘s writing totally captures that sensibility too. Bless […]

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