Best of 2015: Dear Future Fiance (A Note on Proposing)

It’s Christmas! And that means there are some fuckers out there getting ready to or have already proposed to their significant others. Here’s a pro tip from someone who’s never been betrothed before -DON’T DO IT.

Dear Future Fiance,

Thanks to the magic that is Facebook, I’ve been #blessed with waking up in the morning and seeing which of my friends or friends’ friends is set to take the plunge with their significant other. This number is higher during certain times of the year, most notably the holidays. Now I’m not being a Bitter Betty about this or intending to put anyone down if they DID get engaged over the holidays, I just am expressing what I want in a potential proposal. As the wise and beautiful land mermaid Amy Poehler wrote in her book Yes Please:

So in an effort to not be part of the cliche statistic, I’m writing this to set a few ground rules. If you already have a problem with me saying this, then maybe we shouldn’t even get married in the first place.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I like the spirit of it, I like the traditions that come with it. I am accustomed to doing the same thing every year and I like it that way. Some kind of big dinner, candlelight service at church, pictures with the fam before we change out of our nice clothes. It is also my mother’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal her thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas.

Christmas already comes with presents. I do not need an additional diamond/jewel of your (my) choice to be added under the tree. Whatever is on my list is a perfectly acceptable gift. I’d much rather get the complete Dawson’s Creek series on DVD rather than a non-creative proposal. Also it is Jesus’ birthday, so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on New Year’s Eve.

I already dislike New Year’s Eve as it is. It’s always one of those nights where everyone asks you what you’re doing, and makes it out to be some big elaborate thing with a lot of high expectations. Speaking of expectations, I personally expect a proposal is supposed to be a surprise (more or less), something to catch you off-guard. Getting down on one knee on a night where thousands of other men are doing the same thing isn’t a surprise. Also it’s the New Year’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal its thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Valentine’s Day.

If your significant other needs a pre-determined day to do all the romantic things he can possibly think of on only one day out of the year, something’s wrong. I don’t want to go out to dinner and find a ring in a chocolate box (I’ll probably eat it) or at the bottom of my champagne glass (I’ll probably drink it). Again, proposing on Valentine’s Day is cliche and unimaginative, so don’t do it then. Also it’s Cupid’s birthday (not really), so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on my birthday.

It is my birthday, so, not a good day to steal my thunder.


The Woman Of Your Dreams


Best of 2015: Things I’m Willing To Believe About One Direction


Here’s what I knew about One Direction last week:

  • They are a British boy band, except one of them is Irish.
  • They sing that song I hate (What Makes You Beautiful. Still don’t like it.)
  • Also, I knew Drag Me Down but thought it was by Maroon 5? I don’t know, you guys.
  • I thought it was beautifully shady how the chorus of Perfect sounded a lot like Style.
  • And I knew who the two cute ones are.
  • Don’t play. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

What with their new album and a new press-generated controversy every day, One Direction was the perfect candidate for the Things I’m Willing To Believe About series – except, with my scant background knowledge,  I had to hit the books. Yeah. I took that hit for you, internet. My research included:

  • Watching like 4-5 interviews on YouTube.
  • Googling photos of the members both now and in 2010.
  • Listening to the new album. It’s a really good, solid pop album to be honest.
  • Tumblr. Enough said.

The result? I either just became a Directioner – and a Larry? Is that how you do it? – or went through puberty again. Anyway, based on admittedly not that much info, here are some totally not-true “facts” I’m willing to believe about my new favorite British-except-one-Irish-guy boy band:




  • The Irish One?
  • Once hand wrote his favorite poem for a girl he is into.
  • The poem was by Shel Silverstein.
  • Most likely to be subject of a Paul Is Dead-style rumor that he died in 2011 and was replaced by a sort-of lookalike.
  • Because  you don’t just grow a kidney like that. Or change faces like this:

  • Decided to try out online dating. Didn’t believe the other boys when they told him that a fake mustache wasn’t an awesome, foolproof disguise.
  • Favorite literary character: Gallant of the Goofus and Gallant series:

  • After a show, he makes the boys watch tape to improve next time.
  • His favorite t.v. show is the Tim Allen classic Home Improvement.
  • Instituted a chore wheel on tour. Said it would be fun. Believed it.
  • But the chore Liam doesn’t know about? Taking away his twitter after he’s said something dumb. The others trade whose turn it is to change his password.
  • They also hid his hair straightener a few years ago. It was for his own good.
  • Liam has invested in gold bars.
  • He loves knock knock jokes.
  • And “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes.
  • An old lady once hit Liam in the face with her purse. He had been chasing her for half a block to give her back a single coin that she dropped.
  • Liam snips apart those six-pack rings so they don’t get caught around birds’ heads.
  • His MSN name: NotLiamPayne
  • Has flown a kite for fun.
  • Owns one of those sticks to pick up litter on the street. Uses it frequently.
  • Liam once sealed the windows on a tour jet with shrink wrap when he read about the high costs of heating. Oh, bless.
  • Has a binder full of handwritten translations and phonetic pronunciations of foreign words to use when traveling. Includes a British English to American English section.
  • Flosses twice a day.
  • Loves team-building exercises.
  • Called Niall “Neil” for the first two weeks.
  • Has a Homer Simpson-style collage, with the letters covered up by photos of Simon Cowell and 1D fans:




  • No, the Irish one.
  • Style inspiration: a my buddy doll.


  • Is a cross between a dad and a beagle.
  • Has clear braces.
  • Is the kind of guy who would do pranks that involve shaving cream.
  • Is contractually obligated to be “the blonde one.” Can’t wait to change management and finally be free of bleach burns.
  • Was always the star of the feis with his 3-hand reel.
  • But his hornpipe is CRAP.
  • Has kind of a lot of tin whistles.
  • Owns one of those sweaters your grandma would always buy you when she went to the Aran islands.

Irish-Americans, you know what I’m talking about.


  • But he kind of, sort of really does believe that legend that if he wears his family’s pattern they’ll be able to identify him in a shipwreck.
  • Has repurposed Irish oatmeal cans in his home.

You know what? Handy, frugal, and functional.

  • Is named after Niall of the Nine Hostages.
  • He lifts because he wants to be “built like Flatley.”
  • Says his first crush was: the girls in the Corrs.
  • Actual first crush was: that skanky Molly Malone statue in Dublin.



  • Suggested the band name because it sounded like it was about frisky Hogwarts students.
  • Life goal was to be “bigger than Jedward.”
  • His first paid gig was modeling those gloves that are also sharks in a department store ad as a child.


  • Acts chill if you pronounce it “Lewis,” but seethes for hours after.
  • Hogwarts affiliation: Hot Slytherin.
  • He says his personal style is “sophisticated rocker-casual.”
  • But really, it is: small French girl with a secret.

  • Has definitely been hunting with foxhounds.
  • But just played with the dogs the whole time.
  • On a yearly basis, his management has had to turn down offers for him to play a smarmy Edwardian man on Downton Abbey.
  • His great-grandfather was the artist’s model for the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

  • No, that was a joke. Actually he is the Peter Pan statue from Kensington Gardens, cursed by an old witch to assume human form.
  • Falls on the “cake” side of the Jaffa Cake debate.

Even though they are biscuits.

  • Has a Youtube playlist of cheek and jawline toning exercises. They work.
  • One time, a makeup artist applied light highlighter and contouring to his cheekbones. They literally could cut a man. It was proclaimed “too much.”
  • Like Phoebe Buffay, insists that he receives 23 points instead of 3 in basketball “because I’m dainty.”
  • When he calls Harry, the image that pops up representing Louis is a Google image result for “haughty cat”:


  • Was forced to play Baby Jesus in four successive nativity plays because everyone agreed that you just sort of want to wrap him in a blanket and keep him safe from harm.


  • When he has children, it’s because he will find a baby in a Moses basket in a woodland
  • Was found in a Moses basket in a woodland himself, maybe?
  • All I’m saying is that I’m willing to believe that he is a changeling:

File under: people who should be wrapped in swaddling clothes and lulled to sleep.

  • Is a cross between a glam rocker, the most charismatic student at a 1920s boys’ boarding school, and an English Springer Spaniel.


  • Hogwarts affiliation: Gryffindor, but “culturally Hufflepuff.”
  • Has a climate-controlled room in his house for his nice blouses.
  • Smells how you would expect Irish Spring soap to smell based on those commercials where wholesome yet sprightly men gallivant near a waterfall (not how the soap actually smells, which is like “clean uncle” if anything).

Oh. The spring is THERE, thanks.


  • Whenever they’re in a new city, everyone ends up looking around asking “where’s Harry?” Inevitably, he has gone off to befriend an old lady or a small child.

  • Has tree fort.
  • Has secret password to get into tree fort.
  • There is an elaborate secret handshakes as well.
  • Harry is working with a publishing company to create an adult coloring book based on his tattoos.
  • His house is scented with specially formulated candles that smell like exactly like autumn leaves and sunsets.
  • Can knit.
  • Over the course of a single ride to a venue, knit a pair of fingerless gloves for a tour driver whose handshake seemed a little cold.
  • When his boots need repair, he just leaves them outside his door and it is taken care of:


  • Has been described as a “little scamp” before, albeit less frequently than Louis.
  • Opposes the term “man bun” because “nobody should tell it what kind of bun it should be.”
  • Yeah, he has long hair, but you know what? Harry Styles cleans it out of the drain. Every time.
  • Has a dog-eared copy of Indian In The Cupboard next to his bed.
  • According to legend, a blind man and a deaf man used to walk together and help each other understand the world. They passed Harry Styles in the park. The blind man turned to the deaf, and solemnly said and signed “he prances.” “I know, I heard,” the deaf man replied.


  • No. We are not doing this.

Best of 2015: Hogwarts Goes Hollywood: Harry Potter Actors As Disney Characters

Is Harry Potter and Christmas synonymous for anyone else? Ok great. Earlier this year, Emma Watson nabbed the role of Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, which has wrapped since then and also features all the actors. All of them. But what would happen if the deep bench of HP players also starred in Disney reboot movies? We took a look.

Disney and Harry Potter, the entertainment franchises that brought magic to our childhood (and, um, teens and 20s), are now at one. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies – will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Beauty And The Beast! Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she liked books. I had the redhead solidarity thing with Ariel, but even at age five I was like “Ariel, girl, get a grip. You look desperate.” But I digress. The Harry Potter movies were full of amazing actors, and the Disney movies have a bunch of awesome characters. Emma Watson as Belle is a good start, but I think we could make this a regular thing:

Alfie Enoch as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid needs to be so dreamy that a mermaid –  whose greatest joy is singing  – gives her voice to a sea-witch so that she can get legs and like… hang out with him silently in a rowboat. Sounds like an awesome date. See what I mean about Ariel? Anyway, when I think “Hogwarts Dreamboat,” I think Alfie Enoch.

Rupert Grint as John Smith, Pocahontas

Ron Weasley had a lot of strong points, but he was sort of a borderline bro sometimes. The Disney version of that is John Smith in Pocahontas. He’s an imperialist dumb-dumb, but he’s so dopey that you can’t really hate him. There’s that spark of goodness in Ron, too, so we know that Rupert could balance the character’s likability with his more annoying traits.

Tom Felton as Hans, Frozen

Oh, Draco. You loved to hate him. For the character to work, the actor had to convey enough smoothness so that you believe that all of his teachers don’t absolutely hate him. Likewise, Hans has to SEEM like a nice guy to enough people that you don’t spend the whole movie going “uh, this jerk.” Just as it takes a smart actor to play a dumb person, it takes a nice actor to play a mean person. I think Felton’s up to the task.

Evanna Lynch as Rapunzel, Tangled

Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. In both the books and the movies, she’s got a few screws loose but she’s not a one-note joke of a person. She has real feelings and, even though she’s a bit of a whackadoo, she’s smart and brave. Disney-wise, this is Rapunzel from Tangled. She’s not a floaty, sweet gal like Snow White or Cinderella – she’s a weirdo who hangs out with a chameleon. Both characters aren’t socially … you know, off …. by accident – they both had childhoods that meant they couldn’t quite fit in.

Alan Rickman as Scar, The Lion King

I get that Alan Rickman is a human person, not a lion. But otherwise, he’s proven that he can play a creepy avuncular villain. (Or, not villain, but admit it, for a while you really thought so!) They could just use those weird costumes from the Broadway musical or whatever.

Whomping Willow as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Stunt casting? Eh, maybe, but who else are they going to get?

Jessie Cave as Those Triplets Who Were All Up On Gaston, Beauty And The Beast

Lavender Brown WAS the Hogwarts version of those hussies who were Gaston fangirls. I know there’s only one of her but they have to make a humanoid monster and dancing cups, I’m sure they can turn one person into three people.

Julie Walters as Mrs. Potts, Beauty And The Beast

Molly Weasley IS Mrs. Potts.

Hogsmeade as Belle’s Quaint Village, Beauty And The Beast

Hogsmeade, UK and Poor Provincial Town, France clearly had the same city planners.

Best of C+S 2015: If The Slipper Fits: Into the Woods Character Bios

This holiday season has been all about some movie called Star Wars, but if we dig into our noggins, we can remember back to last year when it was all about a musical called Into The Woods. I mean, not the same hoopla or box office intake, but like, to us, the same.

Over the holidays, two more stage to screen musicals made their debuts in the theatres – Annie and Into the Woods. One featured a scantily clad Cameron Diaz taking over a role made famous by Carol Burnett, and one has Meryl Streep singing songs adapted for the big screen by the OG composer and lyricist. We went to see one of those movies, and it rhymes with Shminto the Shwoods (it’s Into the Woods).

Into the Woods is classic Stephen Sondheim, with a difficult and sophisticated score and complex characters who thrive (or don’t, I guess) in a group setting. But Sondheim’s works are like onions – there are so many layers to it that it’s incomprehensible that he’s managed to incorporate so many themes and plot lines and characters into one cohesive production. It’s why he’s one of the greatest composers/lyricists to ever exist.

That being said, Into the Woods specifically tells the tale (or tales) of mostly pre-existing characters from several Brothers Grimm fairy tales. While the idea of keeping up with 15ish people’s lives sounds daunting, Sondheim, along with Rob Marshall who directed the film version, make the big screen version easy to follow, even for non-theater nerds who have no idea what they’re getting into. But if you do fit into that category and still need help delineating who’s who, we have come up with brief character bios for everyone in the musical.

*Editor’s note: we clearly made these up ourselves. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this will all make more sense once you do. For now, just assume we’re hilarious.


Musical training: learned to “rap” from an early 1990s “hip hop” tape that teaches multiplication to fourth graders.

Hair inspiration: The “colorful hair” tag on Tumblr

Secret Wish: To be Elphaba in Wicked


High school superlative: Actual Prince Charming

Famous Relatives: Mr. Mellark

Baker’s Wife

Talents: grocery shopping without a written list

Non-talents: Staying near her damn cow

Personal gripe: Direct quote: “I have lived in my town for 15 damn years and nobody has even bothered to ask what my name is.” [It’s Wendy. No. Was it Stacy? Crystal. Probably. Wait… Lisa, maybe?]

Secret hobby: One-upping all of the other ladies on her infertility/ pregnancy planning message board. “Oh, that’s cute about your tilted uterus and IVF. I had a witch’s curse, and first we tried a cow as white as milk…” She seems sweet, but make no mistake: those broads hate her.


Hair inspiration: The prom issue of a late-90s Delia*s catalog

Height: Little Red / Jack

Weight: see above

Wardrobe secrets: really more into flats

Future career: organizing guru / sole proprietor of a housecleaning service

Side gig: motivational speaker, touring high schools with her presentation Losing My Shoe, Finding Myself: What I Learned In The Woods

Cinderella’s Dead Mother Tree

Famous relatives: Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas; Whomping Willow from Harry Potter

Weakness: Gossiping too much with the other trees about the fools running around the woods with cows and shit

Hidden talents: Nothing. She’s a tree.

Hobbies: photosynthesis, maybe?

Cinderella’s Prince

Arch nemeses: T.L.C. ( chases waterfalls, despite their admonitions)

Nickname: McStreamy

Favorite Cologne: Sex Panther

Cinderella’s Stepmother

Weird Fetish: Feet

Famous Relatives: Anjelica Houston


Hairstyling Secret: Uses the Air Curler on the daily

Hair inspiration: Amy March

Dislikes: Open-toed shoes


Secret wish: To hook up with Elsa from Frozen

Occupation: Studying to be a ballerina, working exclusively en pointe.

Top Google hit: “Lucinda + feet”

Little Red

Occupation: Cautionary Tale

Personal motto: Nice is different than good

Arch nemesis: Sophia Grace from The Ellen DeGeneres show; everyone who has ever played Annie

Life goals: To be the first child in musical theater to achieve MALRAC (playing the roles of Matilda, Annie, Little Red, Amaryllis, and Cosette)

Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother

Screenshot 2015-01-14 02.39.23

Allergies: Gluten

Famous Relatives: Old Rose from Titanic, Wendy Darling

Weaknesses: Befriending wild animals in the woods

The Wolf

Criminal background: Allegorical Rapist

Deepest Secret: Sort of … really obviously human

You may know him from the TLC special: I Swallowed Two Humans!: The Man With The Cavernous Stomach


Personal history: emerged fully formed from a 22-year-old’s “Future Children 🙂 ” Pinterest board

Life goals: to be the first child in musical theater to achieve a BEJOG (playing the roles of  Billy Elliott, Jack, Oliver, and Gavroche)

Weakness: Peer pressure

Jacks’ Mother

Favorite TV shows: Dance Moms, House Hunters International, Gilmore Girls

Skills: Basketweaving, hairdressing, makes killer zucchini bread

Allergies: Beans



Famous Relatives: Jack Black (in Gulliver’s Travels), Shaq

Life Motto: “Size does matter”

Giant’s Wife


Dislikes: Little kids messing with magic beans and killing giants, never finding clothes that fit at Talbots or Chicos

You May Know Her From The I.D. Special: Dateline Nightline: When Giant Housewives Snap

The Beanstalk

Favorite pastime: Messing with people’s front yards

Fun fact: Was up for the role of venus flytrap Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors (1986), but deemed “not venus flytrap-y enough”.

Famous Relatives: The grapevine (of “heard it through the…” fame)


Biggest secret: Shhh! They’re extensions.

Fun fact: Secretly has her own line of extensions she sells on Etsy

Secret Wish: To be a lounge singer on a Disney Cruise Line

Rapunzel’s Prince

Hair inspiration: Derrick from Full House

Secondary hair inspiration: Dawson Leery

Awards: Was named fastest climber in elementary school P.E. rope climb test


Occupation: Cow

Special Skills: Makes milk

Pet Peeves: Being led around a forest for hours by a kid and a singing British couple

Annoying habit: Says “my stomachs hurt!” whenever she doesn’t feel well. Yes. You have multiple stomachs. WE KNOW.

 Stephen Sondheim

Occupation: Bad ass father of musical theatre

Brags The Most About: That one cameo he made in 2003 musical theatre film Camp (starring Anna Kendrick)

Fun Fact: Has Meryl Streep and Bernadette Peters’ phone numbers (probably)

Best of 2015: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

If you’re still jonesing for more Amy and Tina after the epic SNL this weekend, go see Sisters. Or you can look back and read one of our favorite posts from our 5,000 Candles in the Wind series dedicated to Parks and Recreation before we said goodbye to it forever. Amy and the rest of the crew taught us a lot about life through the show, and we’ll be forever grateful.

We’ve come a long way since the pit. From Lil Sebastian to Champion, Rent A Swag to Entertainment 720, waffles to bacon, 2009 to 2017, there was a lot to love about Parks and Recreation. And tonight, we’ll say a goodbye that’s more sad than the Lil Sebastian farewell concert or Ann’s move to Michigan. Parks had a lot going for it: the best actors and writers in comedy, critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. But above all, it had more heart than any other sitcom on the air. The show’s outlook was overwhelmingly positive, and its protagonist was a hard worker with total loyalty to her town, her career and her friends. We learned more from Parks and Recreation than we have from any show since Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers. Dare we say? Everything we need to know we learned from Parks and Recreation.

Friends, Waffles, Work

Or waffles, friends work. No matter. In other words: priorities. Even Leslie, career-driven as she is, knows that work takes a back seat to the big things in life – your friends. And waffles, which in a broader sense you could interpret as something like “taking the time to enjoy life.” Except that I think she really does mean waffles.

Ovaries Before Brovaries

Again, file under: priorities. Parks is about the relationships between a wide net of coworkers, friends, and significant others. If Ben came along and it was The Leslie And Ben Show from that point on, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch. Leslie’s not the sort to get into a relationship and write off her friends. So, the “uteruses before duderuses” approach can be broadened into “don’t forget about your friends just because of relationship stuff.”

There’s also the great way Leslie is supportive of her lady friends, even when it’s tough. It wasn’t easy to accept Ann moving away, but Leslie encouraged her to do what was best for her family. And rather than get jealous that April was moving up in her career, Leslie helped facilitate the move. Leslie knows one of the greatest secrets in life – which is also one of our lessons from Parks and Recreation: when the members of your “team” succeed – whether it’s your friends, family, or coworkers – then that’s your success, too.

Treat Yo Self

You could say that Tom and Donna are a couple of silly geese, but no. They both work hard and play hard. The key to Treat Yo Self: it’s a once a year occurence. You don’t rack up credit card debt because you “deserve” good things, but every once in a while it’s good to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Like Tom and Donna, it’s always nice to have a friend to back you up, so when you rationalize that you don’t really need those fine leather goods, a still small voice whispers “treat yo self.”

Say Thank You

I have a philosophy about the “sorry epidemic,” that is, the way people start or end sentences with “sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong. My theory is that in most cases, what the person really means is either please or thank you. Rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in advance, what they really mean to do is ask for something. And rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in retrospect, what they mean to do is say thank you: thank you for accommodating me, or understanding, or going out of your way, or being supportive. People apologize for existing when they really want to thank other people for making their existence easier.

No show does “thank you ” better than Parks. Whether it’s the final moments before Ann leaves Pawnee, or April’s tear-inducing speech in D.C., these folks know how to thank the people who make their lives better. Next time you feel compelled to apologize when you haven’t really done something you shouldn’t, look deeper. Do you really want to say please or thank you instead?

Don’t Write The Concession Speech

In one of my classrooms growing up, there was a poster that said “Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail.” But I also say that “Planning To Fail Is Planning To Fail.” School decor aside, it’s important to not behave as though the worst is going to happen. Ben doesn’t write a concession speech, because he doesn’t think that losing is a possible outcome.

Or maybe the better lesson is this: surround yourself with people who will think that you won’t need the concession speech. Maybe Leslie wouldn’t have won if her circle was full of people who assumed she wouldn’t succeed. Fill your life with the Bens to your Leslie: people who expect you to win, even more than you do yourself.

I Love You And I Like You

The phrase that Leslie and Ben often tell each other is quite endearing and sums up a perfect relationship. But the writers didn’t come up with it – Rashida Jones’ dad did. I believe Amy wrote the episode it first appeared in, and she revealed in an interview that when she was in Monte Carlo with Quincy Jones (as you do), he grabbed her face in his hands and said to her, “I love you and I like you.” Whether it be a significant other, family member a friend, or your daughter’s comedy wife, it’s important to not only let them know how you feel, but actually truly mean what you say. Anyone can say ‘love ya’ as a throwaway, but to add the ‘I like you’ part implies you enjoy them as a human being, enjoy their company, enjoy everything they have to offer.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Okay, on one hand, definitely treat yo self. On the other hand, don’t blow your budget on Harry Potter fantasy camp.

Of course, I would say that, I’m a Ravenclaw.

When You Love Something, You Fight For It

This speech from Leslie’s final statement as she vies for city council is the best summarization of Leslie Knope. “If you love something, you don’t threaten it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first… If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly.” Leslie Knope is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest female character ever on TV because she doesn’t back down. She fights for what she believes in, and she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her. It doesn’t just apply to her career, it applies to her friendships. From making unnecessary holidays to going to all costs to help a friend propose, Leslie will do anything in her power to see things get done. When it came to her relationship with Ben, she was willing to give up her career just to be with him. She said, ‘Let’s just screw it,’ and it eventually paid off. When you love something, you fight for it. As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Leslie can proudly say she whole-assed a whole bunch of things.

“I like to tell people get on board and buckle up, because my ride’s gonna be a big one. If you get motion sickness, put your head between your knees, because Leslie Knope’s stopping for no one.”

Time Is Money; Money Is Power; Power is Pizza; Pizza is Knowledge

This is probably my favorite thing April has ever said on the entire series. First of all, the fact that she’s running this meeting is just great character development. I love character development. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds when it comes out, she usually has a point. In Pawnee in particular, there are a lot of randoms who have nothing better to do but complain, like that woman who is always too concerned about her dog and brings up her pooch problems at town meetings. These are the folks April and co. have to deal with and they don’t have time to sit around listening to droll residents all day. Also, pizza. Pizza is always a good choice.

Have Dating Standards

Ok, this might actually be one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the show. When Tom said this, he spoke to my soul on a deep level. The fact that Ann didn’t know who Ginuwine was (Ginuwine – is Ginuwine) was astonishing, and honestly, I, like Tom, don’t think I could ever date someone who didn’t know who he was. Speaking of Ann, in her days of going through guy after guy, she often had a tendency to change into the people she was dating. Like Julia Roberts in Runway Bride – she didn’t even know what type of egg she liked. It’s important to have simple standards for your ideal mate, because when you figure out what you want – like Ann wanted a kid – you will most likely get what you’re looking for.

There’s Always Paris

paris parks

I kind of want this in a tattoo form but not, because it’s too long. Leslie always has a lot on her plate, but somehow she manages it all. She has time to make binders on how to be a garbage woman but also finds time to make a scrapbook about her “Thoughts on Sam Waterston“. So when something extremely stressful comes her way, like being recalled from city council, it’s important to just take a break from it all. We know Leslie loves her job, but it’s important to take a break once in a while. We get so caught up in the millions of things on our to do lists each day that we don’t actually take a chance to breathe and be present and let go of whatever is bothering us. Your trip to Paris doesn’t have to be Paris. Paris can be your favorite park or cafe or a place an hour away to the middle of nowhere. If you have the ability to get away, even for just a brief moment, do it.

Be a Good Person

When Leslie realizes her job is at stake because of her romantic relationship with Ben (and the fact that they bribed the maintenance guy during Lil Sebastian’s funeral to keep quiet), Leslie thinks it’s all over for her. But Ron, in his vast font of knowledge, reminds her that despite the fact she did a frowned upon/illegal thing, it doesn’t make her a bad person. I think this show overall has taught us that there is good in this world, and you can be part of bringing that to real life. Parks never puts anyone down, it inspires and encourages us to be better. We’re human. We make mistakes. But it’s what happens after the fact that shows our true character.

Inspire Yourself

Speaking of being inspirational, while Leslie Knope herself is a great inspiration to us all, she also remind us that often times, the best person to encourage you is yourself. I don’t think Leslie would be half the leader she is today if she never thought she could do it. Yeah, she has to remind herself at times she can reach her goals (“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”) Sure, you can have people like Ben around you believing in you and not writing concession speeches, but when Leslie walked out on the stage and gave the speech (as seen above a few paragraphs), she was ultimately the one to give the impassioned statement. No one fed her lines, she went with her gut and her gut made her win.

Feminism Isn’t Just For Women

I am a goddess. a glorious female warrior, queen of all i survey. enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Also men’s rights is nothing.

Johnny Karate’s Rules for Success

I mean, I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

The Only Constant Is Change

Unfortunately, doppelganger Ron has a point. Returning for one of the final episodes, Eagleton Ron shows up like he usually does, out of nowhere, and gives sage advice, like a traveling Yoda who is easier to understand. As we say goodbye to the gang tonight, the gang says goodbye to each other. Ben and Leslie and Andy and April are moving to D.C., Tom’s getting married to Lucy, Donna’s enjoying married life with Joe and moving to Seattle, Ron has his construction company and family to tend to, and Chris and Ann are already off being domestic in Michigan. Oh and Garry’s the mayor (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). Despite the fact a lot has happened for the Parks department in the past seven/10 years, it was bound to change sometime. Leslie was always bigger than Pawnee, and while her dreams seemed far away in season one, we realize that it’s time for her to actually achieve those goals. She turned a pit into a playground and now it’s her turn to bring that same goal-oriented talent to D.C. And this show, no matter how much we love it, was bound to have its final episode whether we liked it or not. But we’ll find another show to like and love. Maybe not as much and not in the same way, but we will. We’ll move on. We’ll move up. And we’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.