I’ve skipped many days of the challenge, but I thought I’d do this fun one. “One of your favorite shows.” I am not usually a TV watcher in that I watch anything currently on, while discussion is relevant. I watch Buffy and Veronica Mars repeatedly and occasionally find something on Netflix that keeps my interest for a while. If I do like something on TV I’ll NEVER remember to watch it the next week, and we don’t have TiVo. Or cable. Amish..ish. So I’m just now watching Parks and Recreation. I love a good strong female-led show, I love Amy Poehler. I just never got around to it until now. And to be completely honest, it’s probably only because I was compared to Amy twice in one week. 1- that I look like Amy on the cover of her book “Yes Please” (which by the way I finished last night – so great!) and 2- That I have a “Leslie Knope vibe” (this was when I was at the office). I didn’t know what that meant and my curiosity-slash-ego got the best of me and I’m finally watching it.
It. Is. Amazing. I’m not going to summarize the plot or characters because I just want you to watch it yourself if you haven’t done so already. And also I’m really bad at summarizing. I love every character. I cannot pick a favorite. I want to! But it’s a 7-way tie between Leslie, April, Andy, Tom, Ann, Ron, and Ben. They are all just so good, and the character evolution is so fun to watch. Leslie and Andy, especially, get so much depth as the series progresses.
I also appreciate the female relationships. Leslie and Ann’s epic friendship is only slightly overshadowed in the plot by Leslie and Ben’s romantic relationship, which I love. “Uteruses before duderuses!” The show passes the Bechdel test and then some. These women are caring, motivated, driven by their loyalty and values, often pointlessly optimistic, and socially awkward. Basically they are like me and my favorite gals in real life. Except funnier. But just barely.
I don’t mean to read too much into a sitcom, really. I don’t. But the fact that I am anyway kind of says something to me. There’s so much comedy to be found in truth and observation. The struggle for equality in the workplace (especially a male-centered one) is real, and watching this is a bit of a sanity check/validation of my frustration, while also comforting to laugh about. There’s an episode where Leslie’s City Council term is ending and she’s got a month of “what are they gonna do, fire me?” mentality while she works to make the most of her remaining time. She says “No matter what I do, literally nothing bad can happen to me. I’m like a white male US Senator!” It’s lines like that that makes you laugh, then nod, then shake your head, then be inspired to get out there and fight against the nonsense in whatever way you can. Ambitious career women exist on TV, but not always in sitcoms. The fact that this is so refreshing to me is proof of how necessary it is to have female characters who are real people for women to identify with. There are really few sitcoms that have done this. It’s my generation’s Mary Tyler Moore Show.
No spoilers for me please as I’ve still got a few seasons left to go – but who else loves this show? Favorite character? What should I watch next?