I am a very late comer to Parks and Recreation. And I came to it for a very embarassing and unfeminist reason: a boy. Namely, Adam Scott since I needed more after Party Down.
And somehow, in watching a few episodes to get my Scott fix, I also discovered a television feminist icon who could be the most unique creation on television (ironic, since she started as barely more than a Michael Scott clone).
Parks and Recreation fairly famously suffered from a painfully slow start. The first season dribbled and fizzled and basically seemed like The Office’s wackier cousin. And yet, somewhere near the end of season one, and definitely by the almost unbelievably strong season two, Parks and Recreation became one of the laugh-out-loud funniest shows on television.
The supporting cast is fantastic. Pre-Scott and the recently added Rob Lowe, I could literally have written books on the comedic stylings of Chris Pratt as the doufus Andy or Nick Olferman as Ron “f***ing” Swanson. However, the reason why the show is so damn good is because of the excellent, intricate characterization.
She’s a woman driven by her career and her dedication to her town, who wants to be part of the boys’ club and who knows how to shoot quail. She’s also an unabashed feminist who idealizes Hilary Clinton and Madeline Albright. And, despite her personality quirks and occasionally annoyingly unrelenting energy, she’s a beloved, intelligent woman who has no need to sacrifice in order to do her job. She’s not a “tomboy,” she’s a well rounded and hilarious woman who more than makes up for everyone around her’s complete incompetence.
Without making too big a point about it, Leslie Knope is my damn hero.