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|Written by Lauren Cheal|
|Friday, 20 May 2011 10:19|
Leslie Knope is an extraordinary woman. Deputy Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, snow globe enthusiast, daughter of a Tellenson Award Winner, yellow-haired female -- the list could go on. What is unique about Ms. Knope is that she lives in a world free of skepticism. She sees the best in people and assumes that everyone will work as hard as she does for local government. Invariably, her co-workers fail to live up to the standard she sets, but she rarely gets annoyed with them. In her eyes, these people are the best that Pawnee has to offer, and she defends them as if they are her family (well...everyone except Jerry, but we'll get to him).
I present to you the world according to Knope, and along with it, I give you my highly skeptical view of the people who are responsible for keeping the raccoons of Pawnee on their side of the town.
According to Knope: Ron Swanson is Leslie's fearless captain and leader of the Parks and Recreation department. Leslie has already written his eulogy, "Oh captain, my captain, Ron Swanson, a swansong." Ron's unwillingness to do work of any kind is seen by Leslie the greatest gift of all, the chance for her to step up and do the work herself. She became downright giddy when Ron's apathetic assistant accidentally booked 93 meetings on March 31st (believing the month to only have 30 days) and promptly insisted that they find 7 more meetings to go for the hundred. Ron shares Leslie's love of breakfast foods.
According to the skeptic: Ron's libertarian views are utterly ridiculous given that he works for, you know, the government. That being said, the man can rock a high and tight haircut like no one else. He is quick to apologize to Leslie when he treats her badly (like when she takes the blame for shooting him in the head on a team hunting trip, even though it was Tom who actually shot him). Ron is a reluctant softy, and he always manages to come through for the gang, even against his better judgment. Oh, and he has not one but two ex-wives named Tammy --"both bitches."
According to Knope: As employees of the Parks Department go, Tom is a fairly hard working member of the team, and Leslie appreciates his connection to the youth and willingness to sit beside her at horrifying town hall meetings. Tom generally follows Leslie's instructions, even if those instructions having him jog alongside a raccoon piss-covered golf cart in his Brooks Brothers Boys suit ("the cuts are slimmer and it's cheaper: win, win"). Tom also has a certain way with the local media, whether it is fist-pumping with Perd Hapley or letting Joan Callamezzo know that he is willing to give her "a foot rub, to completion."
According to the skeptic: Tom can be an annoying co-worker (he spends a lot of time hitting on people in the building -- sometimes while wearing a raccoon hat, online shopping, and making fake online dating profiles). He also has a habit of making up words for things that don't need nicknames. Leslie takes him to lunch one day, and he only agrees to it if he can order "apps and zerts" and if they can ride in his "go-go mobile" or car. He is also constantly looking for ways to make money, whether it is as part-owner of the Snake Hole Lounge, his signature fragrance Tommy Fresh, or through his Newlywed Game rip-off, Know Ya Boo.
According to Knope: Though not officially an employee of the Parks Department until quite recently, Ann Perkins has been around since the beginning, and Leslie would surely describe her as a "friend and beautiful nurse." Ann is Leslie's best friend, and supports her through all of her most challenging moments. When Leslie's mother is given a Tellenson Award, Ann (unknowingly and due in part to a "political" hairstyle worn by Leslie) attends as Leslie's lesbian life partner. Ann also supports Leslie by encouraging her to step outside the strict government rules every once in a while and pursue a cute co-worker (even though it may get her fired).
According to the skeptic: There is not much to be said for a more skeptical view of Ann Perkins. She is a loyal friend to Leslie and supporter of the Parks Department. Ann did let her deadbeat boyfriend, Andy, treat her like a doormat for a very long time, but eventually she did kick him out (the breaking point was learning that he kept his two leg casts on for an additional two weeks so that she would continue to wait on him). Another questionable move for Ann is her recent trip down slut highway, but she is sort of rebounding from a terrible boyfriend and another one who is, literally, the most positive person you will ever meet. Chris Traiger is such a positive person that poor, beautiful Ann didn't realize he broke up with her and drove to Indianapolis to confront him for cheating. Who can blame a girl for trying out a few different dudes after that?
According to Knope: When Ben Wyatt first came to town as part of the state auditor's office, Leslie saw him as a threat to everything she worked so hard to do for the people of Pawnee. Soon enough, though, Leslie learned that Ben is a smart and talented finance advisor and that he cares for the people he works for every bit as much as she does. Their combined talents gave Pawnee a record-breaking Harvest Festival and saved the Parks Department. Also, Leslie thinks Ben is cute.
According to the skeptic: Ben's greatest folly in life was being elected mayor of his small town and then bankrupting the town with a winter sports complex. The headline read: "ice town costs ice clown his ice crown." Small-town media cuts like a knife. Ben has been working his entire adult life to overcome this rather horrific debut, but, if anyone brings it up, he turns into a "human disaster." On Perd Hapley's talk show, Ya' Heard? with Perd, Ben completely unravels, telling the city of Pawnee about former girlfriends and birthmarks, finally ending the segment by calling the host "Turd Craply." If Ben is kept away from the media and stories of his past, he is just fine.
According to Knope: Nobody is perfect, and even kind Leslie Knope would tell you that Jerry Gergich is a complete disaster. As Ron Swanson eloquently explains, "A Jewish friend once told me that the schlemiel is the guy who spills soup at a fancy party. A schlimazel is the guy he spills it on. Jerry is both the schlemiel and the schilmazel." When Jerry isn't falling into a creek to chase after an errant burrito, he is disqualifying himself from a mural contest by calling it his "murinal" or splitting his pants at a meeting.
According to the skeptic: Leslie and I are in agreement here. Jerry is generally a disaster. When he shows up to Ron's intervention to give up his ex-wife, Tammy (an event that Ron himself attends by taped video), Jerry brings a wedding gift and good tidings. Come on, Jerry.
The Public Library
According to Knope: "The library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history. They're mean, conniving, rude, and extremely well-read, which makes them dangerous."
According to the skeptic: I whole-heartedly agree with Ms. Knope on this one.
So there you have it, the world according to Knope. Pawnee, Indiana may not be the flashiest of towns, and its residents may need a special fat coaster ("you must be this wide to ride") because they are the fourth most obese population in the country, but their local Parks and Recreation department is run by one dedicated, waffle-loving optimist.
Tags: amy poehler, fat coaster, friend and beautiful nurse, harvest best ival, high and tight, i love joan callamezzo, leslie knope, libraries are the worst, murinal, parks and recreation, raccoon hat, schlemiel, schlimazel, tellenson award, the glitter factory, tommy timberlake, turd craply, waffles