Back and Forth: On Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation and the Knope 2012 Campaign (with Cory Barker)

While it’s not a show I’ve ever written about in any detail on the blog, I’ve probably given enough clues that I am a huge fan of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. I was one of many who tuned it out in the first season (not being an Office fan at all) but caught up on the second season through word of mouth, and became a die-hard supporter by the time that the delayed third season finally kicked off. It’s got one of the strongest ensemble casts in recent years, an idiosyncratic small town universe that’s fast become a real-world equal to the Springfield of The Simpsons, and probably the biggest heart on any contemporary sitcom.

However, there’s been a bit of a brewing discontent about some choices made in the fourth season’s plot, notably the decision to have main character Leslie Knope run for city council. The story has raised no small debate, ranging from asking if Leslie is in fact a corrupt politician to blatantly saying she’d sacrificed her role as a feminist icon. And I haven’t been immune to the discussion, offering some regular post-episode concerns on Twitter that have given the impression I’m worried about the show’s direction. At one point in particular, after watching the episode “Bowling for Votes,” I took to Twitter to seek some therapy, as her behavior in the episode struck me as “incredibly insufferable.”

That comment caught the eyes of my good friend Cory Barker, who took some time off from editing his master’s thesis to trade a few emails with me about our feelings on Leslie Knope, the story arc she’s found herself in and the way the character’s been perceived in the media this season. It was a nice long chat that helped us both articulate our feelings on the show, as well as hash through some of the other pieces that have been written and trade some theories as to what direction the show could take both before and after election day.

You can find the whole text of our exchange over at TV Surveillance. Fans of our podcast collaborations will be disappointed there are no impressions (well, technically one if you look hard enough) but will certainly be pleased there is seventy percent less stammering when I write out my thoughts as opposed to speaking.

About Les Chappell

The Mad Hatter of media criticism. Co-founder of This Was Television, contributor to The A.V. Club, founder of A Helpless Compiler and The Lesser of Two Equals.
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1 Response to Back and Forth: On Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation and the Knope 2012 Campaign (with Cory Barker)

  1. Pingback: Back and Forth: On Game of Thrones, Season Two and Spoiler Culture (with Andrew Daar) | A Helpless Compiler

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