Leslie Knope 2016: Yes We Can’t Not Knope

I think the least politically charged thing I can say right now is that I won’t be voting for Donald Trump. It’s amazing: a distaste for The Donald has actually managed to unite both the political right and the political left in America. Yet somehow, Donald Trump has the highest delegate count in the Republican primaries! But maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t that people love the Drumpf. Maybe people just aren’t excited about the alternatives. But whether you’re a Republican who isn’t on the Cruz Cruise, or a Democrat who’s not feeling the Bern, I have an alternative we can all agree on – Leslie Knope. Not convinced? Keep reading:

 

  • Leslie Knope loves America more than all of the current candidates put together:
  • Plus, she accidentally legalized gay penguin marriage :
  • Her presidential portrait would be AMAZING:
  • Knope didn’t back down from Eagleton; won’t back down from international aggressors either:
  • Would redecorate the Oval Office like the Gryffindor common room:

  • Has real red state/blue state cross-appeal:
  • Good at being yelled at, an important skill for any public figure:
  • And she’s not afraid to take political punches:
  • Finally, there would be campaign ads we’d want to see:

  • She’d be a blast on the campaign trail:
  • Can you imagine the activities at the White House Easter Egg Roll?
  • We’d finally see the executive branch go HAM on the Library of Congress:
  • But we’d also have a president who respects the people who keep America going:
  • She’d deliver the BEST speeches on the campaign trail:

  • The Knope campaign wouldn’t end until victory was won:
  • Would have the MRA movement shut down with a single withering glance:
  • Yet she’d still speak to the traditional set in terms they can understand:
  • Leslie Knope knows what it takes to get America on your side:
  • AND she knows how things really go down in Washington:
  • Possible fictional running mate – Tami Taylor. Just saying.
  • Leslie already knew she was going to be President, so we may as well get on board:
  • Besides, it’s going to happen eventually, anyway:

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

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.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Batman is Crying and So Am I

I hate that I’m even saying this, but there are only TWO more episodes before the Parks and Recreation finale. TWO more episodes before we say one last goodbye to Pawnee forever. TWO more episodes before I’m huddled in a corner of my room, swaying back and forth repeating the name ‘Bobby Newport’ and practicing with different inflections, and crying my eyes out.

We all know that Parks is one of the funniest TV shows that’s every graced our screens, but one of the reasons that make Parks one step above the best sitcom is that it has heart. It tugs at our heartstrings and make us feel the feels, and because we’ve already established we’re both criers here, make us sob uncontrollably as if these are real people. So as we prepare for even more tears next week, here are some of our favorite (not favorite?) moments that have made our eye sockets well up with tears over the past seven seasons.

Andy Sings ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ {Season 2, Episode 16}

{at 1:55}

Season One was all about exposition, establishing the characters, and the show finding its footing.  So, the tears didn’t really hit until season two.  April and Andy’s relationship had been building, and by the time Galentine’s Day aired we were all pretty sure they were made for each other. Andy dedicated a Mouserat cover of ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ to April, and I didn’t cry… the first time. But I’m rewatching in preparation for the final episode, and seeing these two at the very start of things really got me. It’s like that part of Our Town when Emily goes back and looks at an ordinary day from when she was alive (IDK, spoiler? It’s from 1938). Things that didn’t seem big at the time were infused with meaning in hindsight. Try watching the little uncomfy, self-conscious look on April’s face right after seeing the scavenger hunt during The Pie-Mary when Andy jokes about April’s crush on him. It’s precious.

April and Andy get married {Season 3, Episode 9}

I love weddings. One of the things I love doing at weddings is looking at the groom as the bride comes down the aisle for the first time. It’s the look Andy has the moment he see his bride-to-be that kills me. Up to this point, Andy is the resident dumb-dumb, and April his Grumpy Cat girlfriend, but in this moment, they’re just a couple in love. And then they high five once April comes face to face with him, and you remember that, sure, they’re a couple in love, but they’re an awesomesauce couple in love. She hates everything but Andy, and he truly means it when he’ll protect her for the rest of their life.

“Let’s just say screw it.” {Season 4, Episode 8}

Leslie and Ben’s “forbidden” romance looked like it had finally come to an end when Leslie decides to run for city council and being in a relationship could put their jobs at risk. But this scene shows just how much Leslie had a gut feeling about her love for Ben – that she was willing to potentially throw her career away in order to get a great love with Ben. Leslie ‘I’m gonna work til I’m 100 then cut back to 4 days a week’ Knope was choosing love over her career. “Let’s just say screw it” held so much more weight for her than it would anyone else.

737849_858460166911_1263682879_o

*Fun Fact: the store I used to work at is right next to where they built the smallest park, and I creepily got to watch Amy and co. film not one but two eps there through the confines of the window (it’s the two-story building behind them in the clip!). This is the closest I got to taking a pic without the security guard taking me down.

Ben didn’t write a concession speech {Season 4, Episode 22}

Ben: Your victory speech, Councilwoman Knope.
Leslie: Someday, when I’m more emotionally stable, I want to read the concession speech you wrote for me.
Ben: I never wrote it.

Like previously mentioned in last week’s 5,000 Candles post, one of the best things about Ben and Leslie’s relationship is how much they support each other. They encourage each other to go for their dreams, and if it doesn’t go the way they planned, they’ll figure it out. Ben knew in his heart Leslie was going to win city council, and wouldn’t even entertain the idea she would lose. It’s the strong belief in each other that sets them apart and sets me off into tears.

Ben Proposes to Leslie {Season 5, Episode 5}

There’s a chance I was already near tears when Leslie was just looking around that room, and then more when Ben walked in, and then even MORE when Leslie said “what are you doing?” But her reaction – wanting to freeze and remember everything – was so beautiful and perfect and real. And the fact that the ring was in the box from the Knope 2012 button and the Washington Monument? Pow. Right in the tear ducts. Somebody go fetch Amy Poehler that Emmy she deserves, why don’t you?

The Entire Leslie and Ben episode {Season 5, Episode 14}

A lot of my favorite Parks episodes involve plans gone awry. So do a lot of my favorite life moments, when I think about it. There’s something so special about a small, quickly-planned wedding because two people just want to be married instead of a big, orchestrated affair because they want a wedding. So, you know, on concept alone we’re looking at some tears. Then Leslie and Ben’s friends pitch in by making a wedding dress, welding some wedding rings, awaking Ethel Beavers and stealing all of the other marriage licenses so that nobody takes Knope and Wyatt’s thunder. Even Jamm can’t ruin it (did I cry at that part? I can’t remember , but let’s file it as a “probably”). When the wedding moves to the Parks office, and Ron talks to Leslie in the hall, and Donna starts singing, and Ben makes his speech, and Leslie makes HER speech, I watched the entire thing through a heavy veil of tears. I love you and I like you.

Chris and Ann leave Pawnee {Season 6, Episode 13}

The entire Ann and Chris episode had me at a constant tear in eye situation, and then the moment we had been anticipating, when Leslie finally has to say goodbye to Ann, arrived and it’s just as heartbreaking and hopeful as you thought it would be. They exchange simple ‘I love you’, but in their faces, you can tell there’s so much more behind their goodbyes. I mean, just the gif of this makes me cry. And to make matters worse, you know that it’s really Amy and Rashida saying “goodbye” to each other IRL. I have a feeling the finale will be similar.

5,000 Candles in the Wind Reprise at the Unity Concert {Season 6, Episode 22}

After all their hard work to bring the people of Pawnee and Eagleton together, the Unity Concert finally happened. Despite the big act Land Ho! (Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) being the main attraction, I love that Mouse Rat was the last band to take the stage to perform their hit 5,000 Candles in the Wind, which we last saw them perform together at Lil’ Sebastian’s funeral. But this time, as a viewer who knew the next season would be the last, a song about saying goodbye meant a great deal more. Combine that with everyone that was on that stage – Andy, Ben’s fave band Letters to Cleo, GINUWINE, a hologram Lil’ Sebastian and Duke Silver, who finally revealed himself to the rest of the Parks crew – and Leslie and Ben watching from the front row. It was pure magic.

Ron admits to Leslie he was going to ask her for a job {Season 7, Episode 4}

Does anyone remember that Chicken Soup For The Soul story (I mean I’m just assuming it was from there), where the kid got all pissy at his dad for giving him a Bible for a graduation gift, and stopped talking to him for years, then opened it and found … not sure. A check for a thousand dollars, or the title to a car or something. It was the saddest thing my little sixth-grade self could think of. But even now, one of the saddest things to me is when a person is trying to reach out in kindness to someone else, and the other person doesn’t know it. I spent the first episodes of this season wondering what could have POSSIBLY happened between Leslie and Ron. I assumed it was something work-related, but these two are a couple of softies. They’d never let something like their jobs come between them, it had to be more personal than that. It wasn’t even the conversation itself that got me, it was the idea of Ron spending years thinking that Leslie didn’t really care about him, and vice versa.

April has a heart to (back) with Leslie {Season 7, Episode 8}

Boys crying always makes me cry. So do generally unemotional people getting serious. April acts tough, but she loves Leslie and looks up to her. Like the scene when Leslie says goodbye to Ann, you watch this knowing that this show is about to end, and you’re watching a moment between two characters but you’re watching a moment between the two actors too.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Pawnee OTPs

It’s week two of our month-long series dedicated to Parks and Recreation, and since we’re in the midst of RomCom Week here, we figured we’d feature the romantic side of this #blessed sitcom with the series’ best OTPs.

If you’re not into the Internet (I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you are), OTP = One True Pairing, or in basic terms, your favorite couple (usually of the fictional sort). Basically it’s the two people (or inanimate objects, whatevs) that you have an unhealthy obsession over their wellbeing together. These OTPs are ones we’ll miss dearly, ones we already miss, and ones that will live forever in our hearts.

Leslie and Ann

I ship Leslie and Ben as much as the next person, but let’s be real, one of the reasons that make Parks so special is Leslie’s independence as a woman. She’s a fantastic, strong, positive person on her own, and doesn’t rely on others to get shit done. But that’s different than enlisting the help of your friends and loved ones. Because of her generous heart, she has forged strong relationships with others, including the love of her life, Ben, and the other love of her life, Ann. Leslie and Ann’s friendship started off kind of work related, but it turned into this beautiful, brilliant, powerful musk ox of a relationship that is really unparalleled with other fiction female friendships on TV. They look out for each other, they support each other, they genuinely care for each other. They’re each other’s soul mates, and not even distance can tear them apart. Ovaries before brovaries, y’all.

Leslie and Ben

Before Ben came along, Leslie needed someone that was as smart or smarter than she was, who could handle previously stated independent woman qualities, and someone who would support her in any dream she dared to follow, no matter how big or how small. That’s what make’s their relationship work so well – no matter what they each go for in life, the other is right by their side. We saw it when Ben ran Leslie’s councilwoman campaign, and *potential spoiler alert* we’re most definitely going to see it when Leslie helps Ben run for Congress. Like Ben said during his vows, he had been to 46 cities in 11 years, but all that time, he was just wandering around, looking for Leslie.

Ben and Game of Thrones

I would’ve put Ben’s side piece of Calzones on this list, but ever since they betrayed him, idk if he’ll ever be able to trust them again. Who he can trust are all those GoT folk, like the Lannisters and Tyrions and dragon women and red wedding (I don’t watch it, can you tell?). Ben will gladly defend the show to anyone, since GoT is not just a “fantasy” show – it’s a show that tells human stories in a fantasy world.

Leslie and Joe Biden

As early as season two, we find out that Leslie has a gigantic crush on our nation’s Vice President. When Ann asks her what her ideal man is, Leslie responds, “He has the brains of George Clooney in the body of Joe Biden.” I mean, that’s just not an answer you hear every day. But it’s exactly the answer you expect Leslie Knope to say. By the beginning of season five, we see Leslie achieving one of her dreams, and meets big Joe himself. The brief meeting is enough to get us to ship Leslie and Joe if this whole Ben thing doesn’t work out (JK THEY WILL NEVER BREAK UP). Ben setting up the meeting with Joe (and also Leslie getting Ben the Iron Throne) are yet another reason to admire their relationship. They just love seeing each other happy.

Leslie and Waffles

Unlike Ben’s calzone betrayal, JJ’s waffles have never done her wrong. Not even a bout of the flu could take her away from her beloved round slabs of dough slathered in whipped cream. At one point JJ tells Leslie she spent over a thousand dollars (at JJ’s) on waffles alone. Some amazing person on Tumblr did some calculations and figured she had 4 to 7 waffles a week. I can’t even think of one thing I eat that many times a week. Maybe coffee. Yeah coffee.

Donna and her Mercedes-Benz

Donna may have found love in season seven, but throughout the series, she happily touts her flings with men. But her longest and most meaningful relationship might be the one she has with her beloved SUV. The above clip is when Leslie accidentally shoots her car during the gang’s hunting trip at Ron’s cabin, and her reaction pretty much sums up how she feels about it. In a full circle moment (and yet another testament of how much Leslie’s friends love her), Donna willingly rams her SUV into a truck belonging to the stupid owner of a van company who won’t handover the vans so that the gang can pick up senior citizens and drive them to a polling place to vote for Leslie. Donna selflessly injured her baby so Leslie could win!

Andy and April

Andy and April are one of my favorite television couples of all time. When Andy says something half-witted or April says something creepy and depressive, the camera never zooms in on their other half making a WTF face, which would be the approach of most sitcoms and, face it, most people. It shows them making googly eyes of affection, instead. Whether it’s Andy’s band or April’s dream of buying a haunted-looking racoon hostel of a house, they have each other’s back,  always see each other in the best light, and encourage each other to make those big crazy decisions.

 

Ron and Meat

Ron Swanson lives on his own terms. He hates government intervention, sentimentality, and fluff.  He calls vegetables “the food that his food eats” and tosses vegan bacon to the ground in disgust. If Ron Swanson had a tumblr – which he wouldn’t – it would be pages and pages of bacon memes and steak gifs. If Ron Swanson had a refrigerator, not only would it be full of meat, but the door would be plastered with pictures of meat, held up with meat magnets. And if Ron Swanson had a restaurant, the whole menu would be meats wrapped around other meats, and you’d pay through barter or maybe gold bars.

Chris and Dr. Richard Nygard

Dr. Richard Nygard is the Cathy Santoni (Full House) or Tino (My So-Called Life) of Parks and Recreation. He is Norm’s wife (Cheers) or the bottom half of Wilson’s face (Home Improvement). Nygard is the unseen, influential, constant presence in Chris Traeger’s life. In 50 years, when a student writes a college thesis about Parks of Recreation, they’ll claim that Dr. Richard Nygard represents God, or maybe Traeger’s inner life. Anyway, Chris loves that damn therapist. As a viewer, you can imagine anything you want about him. Personally, I picture an unlicensed whackadoo who rents the back room of a children’s dance studio in a strip mall, dispensing whatever advice was on Oprah’s Next Chapter that week.

Tom and Jean-Ralphio

If Leslie and Ann’s friendship grew on a mutual foundation of caring for their community and wanting to do the right thing, Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s grew on a mutual foundation of caring for themselves and wanting to make serious bank. And we love them. Tom and Jean-Ralphio are a couple of silly geese who pursue wacky business ventures and speak in even wackier abbreves. But they’re also two people who don’t quite fit into Pawnee culture, yet have these grandiose ideas of what they can turn Pawnee into. It’s like that quote about how love isn’t about looking at each other, but looking outward in the same direction. But they’d say that they’re looking “O.W. in the same direx,” and they’d half-sing it, and they’d be looking at a Baby Gucci wholesale outlet they built on the Eagleton-Pawnee border.

Lil’ Sebastian and The City of Pawnee

Every hometown has those weird cultural quirks that you can only truly understand if you’re from there. Ours, for instance, had a long-running waterfall laser light show about a man who died in that very waterfall while attempting to jump it with his pet bear (the bear lived). So you might think that Pawnee’s adoration for Lil’ Sebastian is over the top, until you realize that your city has its own weird obsessions. I swear, Leslie could have dined out for years on getting Lil’ Sebastian for the Harvest Festival. Even meat doesn’t make Ron smile as big as he did when surprised with a Lil’ Sebastian sighting. And that miniature horse’s funeral was a sendoff to rival Princess Diana’s. Sebastian may have been li’l, but his impact on Pawnee was anything but li’l. I like to think that Sebastian taught Pawnee how to love.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Residents of Pawnee

Just when we’re drying up our happy/sad tears from the Parenthood series finale, we’re reminded that we’ve entered the final few weeks of another one of our beloved programs, Parks and Recreation. Because of the “brilliance” that is NBC brass, we’ve been counting down the last episodes two by two, and as we enter February, we only have seven left. In honor of that, we’re dedicating each Tuesday to Parks and how much joy it has brought to our lives over the past six years.

We start with the citizens of Pawnee – the people who make this small town in Indiana feel like a real town we would actually want to visit. We’ve met dozens of folks from this city – most of them a little off their rockers – but it’s what makes the show so great. With the likes of Perd Hapley and Coucilman Jamm and Lil’ Sebastian (RIP), we as viewers get a glimpse into what life is like living with these literal characters in Pawnee, and can understand why Leslie Knope has such strong feelings for her hometown. Pawnee may be fourth in obesity, but it’s first in friendship, and these residents are the prime example.

Joan Callamezzo

Favorite Moment(s): After singing Let’s Hear It For the Boy in a drunken stupor, Ben and Tom take her home, where we see she has a bunch of oil paintings up – of herself. Naked.

Why we’ll miss them: She’s the trainwreck you can’t stop watching. It’s like all the Jersey Shore castmembers rolled into one.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Joan is busy promoting her 10th memoir, dedicated specifically to all the men who have given her STDs over the years. She takes Pawnee Today on the road to Los Angeles, but ends up miles from Hollywood in Sun Valley, in a studio next to a factory that makes sex toys. She ends up falling in love and ditches her job with Pawnee Today in favor of her new show – Porn Valley Tomorrow.

Orin

 

Favorite Moment(s): His performance art piece, where he’s acting as an animal living on a Human Farm.

Why we’ll miss him: He’s just so weird.

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: A curator from the Indianapolis Museum of Art accidentally went to Orin’s Human Farm exhibit and ran into him again in 2018 at a mutual friend’s gallery called “Laser Snakes”. He offered Orin a curator job at the Museum, and he now seeks out performance artists from around the world. He’s still super weird.

Perd Hapley

Favorite Moment(s): Breaking the news of Leslie’s (non) affair with Dexhart in Christmas Scandal; his role as (not a real) judge in Perdple’s Court

Why we’ll miss him: How will we know when a scandal is supposed to be brewing now?

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: Starring in the locally produced Western show, Howdy, Perdner! Also, the locally produced quiz show, Revenge Of The Perds. And the locally produced birdwatching program, A Perd In The Hand. Plus the locally produced children’s cartoon, Harold And The Perdple Crayon. Everyone agrees that he’s gotten a little carried away.

Greg Pikitis

Favorite Moment(s): When he unexpectedly turns out to be the boyfriend of Allison, the girl Leslie had been trying to recruit as a Parks intern.

Why we’ll miss them: He may be annoying, but he is never not interesting.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: He realized he had a soft spot for the government and went to Notre Dame for Political Science. He went on to work for President Hillary Clinton’s administration and is currently in the process of campaigning for Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential bid – against Leslie Knope.

Bobby Newport

Favorite Moment(s): Behaving like a petulant boy prince during the city council campaign, then shocking us all by endorsing Leslie.

Why we’ll miss them: He’s a total weenie, but he’s also a member of the First Family Of Pawnee Sugar. Sweetums has brought so much joy – and so much diabetes – to so many.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Moved up from Nougat to the Caramel Division; conducting a Wonka-esque contest to tour the Sweetums factory – winner scores a totally unpaid, full-time internship.

Ken Hotate

Favorite Moment(s): When he threatened to put a curse on the Harvest Festival, then “lifted” said fake curse by saying fake chants in Native American.

Why we’ll miss them: He may have seemed like the no nonsense tribal elder of the Wamapoke Native American tribe, but he had a really great sense of dry humor that he only really shared for the camera.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Thanks to the economic boom in Pawnee, he was able to open another Wamapoke Casino. He still deals with crazy white people on the daily.

Ethel Beavers

Favorite Moment(s): Leslie drags Ethel out in the snowy cold to Ben’s house to read her statement. “Let the record state that I, Leslie Knope, love Ben Wyatt. I love him with all of my heart.”

Why we’ll miss them: She’s annoying old broad who tells it like it is.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Ethel is still working as a stenographer for the town of Pawnee. After a string of lovers, it seems as if she’s finally settled down… with a cat. The men, yeah she’s still got them on rotation.

The creepy tattoo guy

Favorite Moment(s): He bids on Ann when Leslie puts a date with her up for auction, and he pitches a date which includes “taking her out to watch him do belly flops in the mud pit, then getting Thai food and a tank of Nitrous and seeing what happens”.

Why we’ll miss them: We don’t even know his name, but we don’t really need to to enjoy his creepiness (from afar).

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Still working at the pawn shop, but he added an extension to the store for guns and ammo.

Crazy Ira and the Douche

Favorite Moment(s): Basically every shock jock-y line they’ve ever delivered, such as “I know it’s a winter’s morn but it feels like a Summer’s eve… cuz The Douche is in the building!”

Why we’ll miss them: The best use of radio sound effects since the 1930s.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: After multiple FCC infractions and a boycott by Eagleton, they were dropped by their station. Like most people, they have a podcast.

Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstein

Favorite Moment(s): Keeping Anna Nicole body spray alive, hoodwinking Henry Winler… honestly, these two never fail to turn our frizowns upside-dizzity.

Why we’ll miss them: They’re the best at being the wooorrrst.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Designer meth (actually made out of designer-imposter perfume and baby powder). Prison sentence. Local home shopping show. Community service sentence (because of mismanaged funds for shopping show). Local reality show. Mona-Lisa has a baby. Wait. Mona-Lisa stole a baby. Then lost it at a rave.

Shauna Malwae-Tweep

Favorite Moment(s)Almost entering into relationships with Andy, Ben, Chris, and Leslie (as an Ann replacement in Galentines II)

Why we’ll miss them: Always comes up with the right headline.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Editor in chief of the Pawnee Tribune; has hooked up with all active Pawnee council members.

Councilman Jeremy Jamm

Favorite Moment(s): As opposed to all the times we’ve previously seen Jamm be the one controlling others to get his way, he falls into the Tammy curse and Leslie and Ron have to work together to get him out of his crazed obsession.

Why we’ll miss him: We really won’t, but it’s those you hate that are the ones worth remembering.

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: It took 2 years for Jamm to fully get out of his post-Tammy funk. He’s finally feeling like himself again, and his ‘You got Jamm-ed’ quota is up to 20 from 10 people the previous year.

Brandi Maxxx

Favorite Moment(s): Standing by Leslie after the bailout … because she was raking in the big bucks for her adult adaptation of the story, Too Big To Nail

Why we’ll miss her: Able to define pornography where Justice Stewart failed.

Where she’ll be in another three year time jump: Starring in an adult version of the National Park / Gryzzl deal, Jyzzlbox.

Lil Sebastian

Favorite Moment(s): When he used to be alive. Particularly, Ron Swanson’s face when he realized Lil Sebastian would be at the harvest festival.

Why we’ll miss him: Dead.

Where she’ll be in another three year time jump: Still dead. Sebastian was li’l, but now he is 5,000 candles in the wind.

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

This is not brand new information: we love Amy Poehler. We’ve paid tribute to her on her birthday, we’ve endlessly praised her and her comedy wife Tina at the Golden Globes, we cry at all her Ask Amy videos, and today we raise our glass to her as an author. Her very first memoir/autobiography/life bible comes out today and it has the perfect title for how we view everything about her – Yes, Please. Amy P on SNL? Yes, Please. Amy P on Parks and Rec? Yes, Please. Amy P and her Smart Girls, Yes, Yes, Please.

It’s fair to say that we’ve been counting down the days for her book to come out, and our admiration and obsession aside, Amy is an interesting person who has lived a life/lives that I would want to hear about. As someone who grew up from a working class family in Massachusetts and eventually ended up on the most revered sketch comedy program ever to being one of the most beloved celebrities today, I’d want to know about their life, even if it wasn’t Amy. But I mean, it’s better because it is her.

This is the real author’s photo from the book. I mean, come on.

One of the reasons I love her is that in every interview I read or see of hers, she manages to churn out not only a hilarious response, but also give out heartfelt and genuine anecdotes. It’s one of the reasons I think so many people want to be her best friend. It’s like the Mindy Kalings or Jennifer Lawrences or Emma Watsons of the world – there’s a certain accessibility to them in which their aura of “celebrity” doesn’t get in the way of you becoming one of their friends.

A few months ago, Amy attended BookCon in NYC and sat down with her pal Martin Short to talk about the book. Martin told the crowd that he read it and the best part about her book is that reading it is like speaking to her IRL. It’s absolutely in her voice, and that’s what makes it so wonderful and honest.

As for Amy, she described Yes, Please as a book that doesn’t divulge tooo much into her personal life, and gets away with it by evading the reader with humor. She also says her book is an “attempt to speak to the feelings of being young and old at the same time”, because she’s kind of at an intersection of her life where she feels like she’s lived so much but still has so much more to live. And I think that’s what a lot of people who ‘look up’ to her need to hear right now. It’s not necessarily all about her life and what’s happened to her, but it’s what she’s learned and she shares those life lessons with us plebeians who aren’t worthy to hear such sage advice.

But if any of her past interviews are any indication of what her book’s going to be like, then get ready for one of the best books you’ll ever read in your life. Here are just a few of my favorite Poehler convo nuggets that will not only want to make you read her book, but have you saying, Yes. More, Please.

On her best mistake: “Thinking everything is going to run smoothly all the time. It won’t – things will always go wrong – but it never hurts to be optimistic.” {O Magazine, 2014}

Now that I have little kids, I’m up at 5:30 a.m. no matter what. Sleep at this point is just a concept, something I’m looking forward to investigating in the future. But I’d like to say that I maintain that same sense of play and creativity and spontaneity—of being able to get into a room with people and say, “Let’s waste some time.” When you’re a creative person, even when you’re in a position of power, you still have to be able to straddle those two worlds. Power sometimes comes down to knowing the vocabulary, figuring out how the system works and how to work within it. You need to believe that you deserve to be in the room once you get there.

I like to do things that challenge me and make me nervous. You learn early as an actor that creating your own material is the only way to have any control. Hollywood is like a bad boyfriend. You can’t stand around and wait to be asked to dance. I used to say that I wanted to make great art with people I love. Now I have an addendum to that goal: to get things on the air. {Elle Magazine, 2014}

{In which she schools Neil Brennan on being a woman}

I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading, like, “All right, everybody, now we go over here. All right, now this happens.” {Glamour, 2011}

Sometimes when you get too worried about how you look, or about how something’s gonna go, you kind of lose what made you special in the first place. I think that ASSSSCAT will really do that to you, really remind you that things are supposed to be dangerous, you’re supposed to feel uncomfortable, you’re supposed to enjoy not knowing, trusting your partner, and not falling back on the same stuff, and I think that that does that for me. It’s the kind of thing that every time, even when I’m really tired, or I feel kind of burned-out, or I feel like I don’t have anything—every time I go out and do it, I feel a thousand times better.  {The A.V. Club 2008}

“You know when you look in your closet and you’re like, Nothing’s working? I say, give yourself a theme. Rashida Jones and I have a game: We decide for three months how we’re going to dress, like Japanese Executive, Little House on the Prairie, Female Sailor on Leave. A couple of months ago, our look was Eighties Art Dealer: black blazers with shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans, air-dried hair and big eyebrows.” {Good Housekeeping, 2014}

 

If I wanted to give you advice as a Bostonian, I would remind you that: (with accent) “Just because you’re wicked smart it doesn’t mean you are better than me.” {Harvard College Class Day speech, 2011}

We’re ushered to a table in the back of the restaurant, and Poehler quickly orders her breakfast without consulting the menu. “Everything here’s good,” she declares. I place an iPhone on the table to record our interview. “Do you need me to hold the phone?” she asks. It’s not necessary, I tell her, iPhones are great at recording conversations. “That’s good to know,” Poehler says. Her eyes dart around the restaurant, then she leans and whispers, “…for spying purposes.” {Paper Magazine, 2013}

 

Always remember your kid’s name. Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers…for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces. {The Daily Beast, 2009}

I would say my interview style is Morley Safer meets Kermit the Frog, with a dash of Christiane Amanpour. And a pinch of Dinah Shore wrapped in the shell of Lois Lane. My goal is to be the Edward R. Murrow of girls.  {The Huffington Post, 2008}

Grab your copy of Yes, Please today!! (we are seriously not even being paid for this we just love her so much}

TV Characters I Need Back In My Life

There are two reasons to be excited about fall premieres. One is finding out which new shows you will absolutely love (only to find them cancelled three episodes in – seriously, whatever new shows I start watching, DO NOT WATCH THEM. Me watching a new TV show is like seeing a wailing ghost woman on the British moors – it means death is imminent.). The other is returning to your favorite characters again after a long hiatus. It’s like the first day of school, seeing all of those familiar faces after 3 months. These TV characters are what Back To TV week is all about:

Drunk Mellie from Scandal

(Spoilers if you haven’t watched S3 yet!)

Oh, Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. If you are taking our advice to catch up on Scandal before the premiere airs, let’s just say that Mellie hasn’t had the easiest go of it for the past, oh, 15 or so years – but why feel those feelings when you can drink them instead? Drunk Mellie is the absolute last person that I would want “not mad, just disappointed” in me, and she does quiet, seething anger at Fitz so well. She also does loud, explosive anger — and sloppy sadness, and giggly goofiness, and calculating creepiness. Last year found Mellie drawing on the White House’s reserves of hooch and her mental and emotional reserves of bad-ass-ishness. Somebody please give Bellamy Young every award ever – or at least a stiff drink. She’s earned both.

Drunk Uncle from Saturday Night Live

And now for an entirely different kind of drunk – drunk uncle! Everyone has a drunk uncle. If you do not have a drunk uncle, check yourself, because you might be the drunk uncle. The thing is, you get to the end of his rants and you go “hmm… am I crazy, or did that almost make sense?” Like real-life drunk uncles everywhere, Drunk Uncle is confused by and angry with twitter, smart phones, YouTube, tumblr, and pressing 2 for English… everything you love, Drunk Uncle drinks to escape from. Bonus: sometimes he brings along his pals, Meth Nephew and Peter Drunklage. Drunk Uncle is just one of many reasons Bobby Moynihan is an utter delight and a true gem in the current SNL cast.

Tamra from The Mindy Project

Tamra is that coworker who drops random bits of information about herself that you’re shocked hadn’t come up immediately upon meeting her:

She’s a perfect foil to Mindy because, like Dr. Lahiri, she also has supreme self-confidence, and she isn’t afraid to call Dr. L. out when she has to:

 

On one hand, you’re pretty sure a lot of the time she’s just joking around and everyone else misses the point and thinks she’s serious:

But on the other hand, she doesn’t have time to pay attention to every tiny little detail at the office:

As written, this character could be aggravating, but Xosha Roquemore has brilliant timing and delivery and it all just works.

Nick Miller from New Girl

Are you a twenty- or thirty- something who could already be described as “crotchety?” Then Nick Miller’s your guy. Do you have absolutely no patience for people’s ineptitude or ridiculousness, yet somehow end up dealing with it anyway because your friends are (occasionally) inept and ridiculous? Yep. Nick, too. The more Nick hates everything, the more I love him.

 

Like Tamra, this is a character that could be insufferable, but Jake Johnson brings out the lovable in “lovable curmudgeon.”

Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Years ago, after I jaywalked across an intersection, an elderly lawyer turned to me and said “wow, you must be pretty important.” I smiled and said thank you, head in the air and ego boosted by the old guy in tweed who realized that yes, I am important. An hour or so later realized that that was not a compliment. Gina Linetti would have lived her whole life without realizing that wasn’t a compliment, and that is why I love her.

Chelsea Peretti has been on the comedy scene for quite a while now, and I’m so glad this role is giving her the exposure she deserves.

 

The Bravermans on Parenthood

I love these guys. Sure, some of them can only fairly be described as “the worst, ever” (Sydney, a child), but overall it’s such a realistic picture of life in a certain type of mid-sized American family. The dinner scenes with everyone talking at once and the illogistics of getting everyone into one photo are realistic as hell.

Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation

I could have had a separate entry on this list for almost every character on Parks. From April, who I think secretly loves the whole world, to Worst People In The World, John-Ralphio and Mona Lisa, to avuncular Ron Swanson, to Andy Dwyer Dream Man, there’s not just one reason I’m already getting emotional about the end of this show already – there are about 15 of them. But Leslie Knope ties the whole show together, and I’m just so happy that she exists on T.V. Leslie is driven, kind, cooperative, enthusiastic, and the best friend in the world — all qualities that she displays to a fault. It’s true that we’d love anything that Amy Poehler did, but mark my words, Leslie Knope will be known as one of the best sitcom protagonists of all time. We’re going to miss her when she’s gone but for now, we’re just glad she’s back on our TV screen sometime this fall…ish.

 

 

‘Parks And Recreation’: A Love Letter To The Hometown

After I graduated law school, I found a job in the legal profession (!) … in my hometown. Here I am, back where it all began.

English: City of Rochester, New York.

I hope you like that bridge because it took about 10 years to finish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am from Rochester, New York. There are far worse places that you could live. In fact, as a pretty humble city, I suggest that Rochester adopts “there are far worse places that you could live” as its slogan. It has less violent crime than Detroit (Detroit has many fine attributes, like motown), lower average yearly snowfall than Anchorage (AND ten other U.S. Cities!), and, with over a million people in the Rochester metropolitan area, is by far the largest Rochester in the United States. George Eastman (founder of Kodak), Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and Kristen Wiig have all called this city home. (A Marie Claire profile of Wiig referred to Rochester as a “suburban backwater,” which was a little harsh for a city with so many fine cultural institutions.)  Did I mention that the National Museum of Play is here, too?

But this piece isn’t about Rochester, this is about hometowns, and living in yours as an adult — whether you’re from a mid-sized city, a mega-metropolis, or a small town. There’s a tendency, I think, to feel like if you live where you did at 14, maybe the rest of your life has become stagnant, too (you know, like a suburban backwater?). It’s easy to fear becoming that former varsity athlete who works at the same gas station he did senior year, reliving his glory days. Luckily for me, I was never very good at anything in high school, so that’s not really a danger. I don’t think appearing in the chorus of high school musicals and playing second doubles in tennis counts as “glory days” by any standard.

One bright spot if you find yourself back in your place of birth is the NBC series Parks and Recreation. It is a love letter to the hometown. The protagonist, Leslie Knope, is proud to be from Pawnee, Indiana, and is proud to live there still. As you watch the series, you can’t help but fall in love with Leslie’s enthusiasm about Pawnee, and hopefully you can catch some enthusiasm about your hometown, too. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from everyone’s favorite mid-level municipal employee:

(1) Nobody insults your hometown but you. And maybe you shouldn’t either. You will never see Knope more angry than when residents of nearby Eagleton snub Pawnee. Eagletonians are jerks, though: “When a tornado went through Pawnee, we asked Eagleton for help, but they claimed they weren’t home. The whole town said they weren’t home.” Your hometown is like your siblings when you were a kid: you might have complaints about them, but you would not put up with that kind of talk from anyone else. So when people make fun of your city’s downtown crow infestation, you should either remind them that at least that means the city’s secret uranium store didn’t kill them all, or take a cue from Leslie Knope and shut the whole conversation down:

(2) First in friendship, fourth in obesity. There are negative things about every city. Maybe the local sweets factory has contributed to a full-blown obesity bonanza. Maybe teen girl battles have compromised the municipal transit system. Despite its flaws, there are certainly plenty of wonderful people in your hometown. There’s something great about friends you have known for decades. But, some of Leslie’s best friends are not native Pawneeans. Remember that just because you grew up in your city, doesn’t mean everyone you meet there did. Be friendly and welcoming to newcomers, and they just might fall in love with your hometown, too. Ben Wyatt thought he was just passing through Pawnee, but the wonderful locals (well, mostly Leslie) changed his mind.

Cover Illustration of The Wonderful Leaps of S...

This guy leaped off of waterfalls nationwide, but he died in OUR waterfall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(3) Lil’ Sebastian Makes Everything Better. In one of Leslie’s greatest triumphs, she brings hometown hero Lil’ Sebastian (a winsome, elderly pony) back to the Harvest Festival. One of the best things about living in your hometown is being familiar with the local shorthand and in-jokes. Someone from Indianapolis or Eagleton might not understand the appeal of a geriatric pony with a heart of gold, but Pawneeans do. My city has a flagpole strung with lights instead of a municipal Christmas tree, a laser light show about an ill-fated 19th century daredevil and his pet bear, and our must-try cuisine is called a garbage plate. I love them all, because I grew up with them — except for the garbage plate, anyway.  It is hard to understand these hometown heroes if you aren’t actually from the town – I remember the locals getting all fired up about “spiced wafers” when I lived in Philly, and I just didn’t understand it because they taste like a grandmother – but when you are from there, it’s magic.

(4) Success starts at home. Living in a small town doesn’t mean that Leslie Knope has given up on her dreams. Instead, she believes that she could be president one day. More importantly, she takes steps to achieve her dreams while she’s still in Pawnee, running an impassioned campaign to become Pawnee’s next councilwoman — just see her closing argument in “The Debate,” where Leslie suggests that maybe true success involves making a difference right where you are:

I love this town. And when you love something, you don’t punish it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first. As your City Councilman, I will make sure that no one takes advantage of Pawnee. If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on too strong, its because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it’s because things aren’t moving fast enough. This is my home, you are my family, and I promise you, I’m not going anywhere.

(5) If all else fails, just slisten to Amy Poehler. Here is Poehler’s take on her character’s life in Pawnee: “I think there’s something very romantic about people deciding to be in love with your own small town. There’s a lot of arc in art and literature about moving to the big city, and there’s something really sweet about moving to a small town.” Whenever she talks about her character, Poehler respects Knope’s tenacity, and never acts like Leslie is at all pathetic for living in her hometown. And neither are you. Just ask Leslie Knope (…unless you’re from Eagleton).