Leslie Sets the World Straight

Emily Nussbaum

But, as the first season ended, the show’s creators found in Poehler’s lovability an untapped fossil fuel. From a humiliated object, Leslie became an inspiration—and she, and the show, stepped ahead of the national conversation, presaging the revival of Hillary Clinton. Leslie was still Tracy Flick, but seen through generous eyes. (Even in “Election,” there’s a buried P.O.V. in which Tracy is a hardworking heroine undermined by a jock and the male horndogs who prop him up.) As Poehler’s character changed, the ensemble lit up around her, including Nick Offerman, as Ron Swanson, her libertarian boss, and Rob Lowe, as the up-with-people Chris Traeger. “Parks” is not an overtly ideological show, but buried within it are thoughtful, complex political themes that extend into the larger world in a way that’s rare for modern network shows; today’s, unlike their edgier peers from the seventies, tend to build a cozy world, then stay there."

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Leslie Knope is Extra

The Politics of Parks and Recreation

Juliet Lapidos

Leslie works tirelessly on behalf of people she doesn't know. After the festival turns a profit, she rejects her boss's suggestion that they distribute the money to taxpayers (it would come out to 83 cents per household before postage), and spends sleepless nights—I did mean "tirelessly"—figuring out how to use the department's newfound wealth. It's quite obvious that she's motivated in part by vanity—that she doesn't want her career to have peaked at the festival. Still, her personal stake hardly diminishes the fact that her ambition is to better Pawnee.

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Leslie Knope


Although somewhat naive at times,[6] she is intelligent, well-read, and has good intentions,[7] but is not always successful in executing her goals.[5] She repeatedly tries to put a positive spin on failure, even to the point that she will occasionally distort the truth in her own view.[4] For example, she does not get discouraged by angry residents who complain or yell during her public forums, but instead prefers to think of them as "people caring loudly at me."

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