Ladies and television are my two great loves so here on g+tv, I wanted to start a little tradition. I’m hoping to keep up with it each month but I might get impatient and post more than once a month. We’ll see. Anyway, I want to do a little showcase on one of the many amazing female characters who grace our televisions. I’d like to take the time and analyze why they are so wonderful and why we are blessed to have them. Some will be more in depth and some will be pretty cut and dry, but there are lots of ladies who deserve our attention so let’s give it to them!
When talking about wonderful ladies on television how can you not start with Leslie?
We first meet Leslie Knope in season one and she is a laughably optimistic but dopey character, much like a Michael Scott. We are meant to laugh at her hopes because they are seemingly unattainable and she seems to be blind to the reality of working in government. As the seasons have progressed, even starting in the middle of season one, Leslie has become more of an optimistic realist. She unabashedly loves her job, but she knows that accomplishing her projects will take perseverance and hard work, even if she can be a bit naive at times.
In fact, her love for her work is refreshing. I can hardly think of any other character, male or female, who loves their job as much as Leslie. She loves her town and she loves making it better for the crazy people in it even if she goes under-appreciated. Her professional life hasn’t been without scandal — From marrying gay penguins to being accused of having an affair with a a councilman. Still, even her political missteps are well-meaning and she comes out on top because she is always sincere. Her true love has always been Pawnee and providing the people with what they need and beyond.
The people who work with her know that she is generous and trying to make life better for Pawnee and not for personal gain. When the police chief asks why he give Leslie as many favors as she needs he replies “because she’s the kind of person who uses favors to help other people” and that is exactly what she does. Each person in her department respects her for the work that she does, even Ron Swanson, whose personal political philosophy is the polar opposite of Leslie’s. That respect has even blossomed into a friendship. Both Ron and Leslie have each other’s back whether it be professionally or personally.
In that vein, Leslie is a wonderful friend to everyone, especially Ann. The two ladies, arguably, have the best female friendship on television right now. They support and seek the best for each other even if it is not always to easy thing to do. Even after two sleepless nights, Leslie visits Ann to comfort her after a breakup. She pushes Ann towards a new career path, even though she is met with much resistance at first. In addition, Leslie has provided support for her fellow officemates, including but not limited to April, Andy, and Tom and they all support her in return.
Although currently single, Leslie hasn’t had an entirely fruitless love life. Though Leslie’s misadventures in love are often been played for laughs (“Skywriting isn’t always positive.”), it has never been implied that she is unlovable in anyway. Over the course of four seasons, she’s been involved in three serious relationships. Of those three relationships, none ended on bad terms. With the exception of Justin, the relationships ended only because of bad timing. Moreover, Leslie gave up her relationship with Ben to pursue her lifelong dream of running for office.
It’s easy to consider Leslie a feminist figure. While she is not the perfect feminist, she makes up for her indiscretions with candor. When asked about her life plan she lays out all of her political goals forgetting about marriage or kids. She supports the women in her life and in her town wanting to see young girls succeed and be appreciated for their intelligence and creativity, not just their physical appearance.
Leslie has many traits that round her out as a character. She is given flaws to make her human. She is a Harry Potter fan with a sweet tooth and a love for ladies in politics. She is caring, hard-working, optimistic, stubborn and naive at times. She holds strong relationships with women and men and succeeds romantically, as well. Her goals and point of view are clear; she makes her own decisions and is therefore in control of her own narrative. Subjectively, she embodies a perfect female character.