The bright and cheerful public servant is never one to shy away from making citizens' lives better.
Leslie Knope seems like the silver screen’s answer to the cliched, uninspired public servant’s trope. There may be very few government employees, fictional or otherwise, who not only have an all-consuming passion for their job but have also been dreaming about it since they were a child. Knope’s infectious optimism, tolerated by co-workers and adored by fans, is one of the aspects which have launched the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation to the heights of popularity that it has witnessed throughout its run. The deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department who rose to the ranks of Governor had done such amazing things for the fictional city of Pawnee that surely will make a viewer wish if they had someone like Knope helming their government.
But since such a wish has slim chances of fulfilment, here is a list of Leslie Knope’s admirable moments from the popular sitcom instead, which you can stream on Amazon Prime Video, each of which can spur even the laziest of us into action.
1. Hilariously powering through the flu
Episode: Flu Season
It seems nothing can stop Leslie Knope when she has set her mind to something, not even the flu, although it might slow her down a bit. When Pawnee reels under a particularly severe flu season, Leslie is all bustle as she struggles to organise a town festival, paying no heed to her illness. Even when she is forcefully hospitalised, the ever resolute public servant refuses to stay, going so far as to loading up on stolen medicine just so she could give her carefully prepared presentation flawlessly, which in the end she does.
2. Trying to reform her city’s animal control department
Episode: Animal Control
Government departments aren't always well-oiled machines, and the Pawnee Animal Control department is proof of that. But with Leslie Knope at the scene, there's always the chance of things getting better. She takes upon the mammoth task of revamping the disastrous department, starting with getting on board a completely new staff. After interviewing a slew of candidates, each worse than the last, including the pair of clueless staffers who had just been fired, Leslie helps the department find a solution after all by having her own ‘protege’ grudgingly take the reins.
3. Proving how much she loved her town by literally writing a book on it
Episode: Born & Raised
There may be few people who love their hometown as much as Leslie Knope does and even fewer who know enough about it to fill a whole book, which of course, everyone’s favourite public servant does in this episode. But what is a good book launch without a touch of drama? Leslie is handed the shock of her life when she discovers that she was not born in Pawnee, but a town she despises, the neighbouring Eagleton. The shocking revelation crushes her, but Ms Knope’s love for her town ran so deep that her place of birth ultimately did not come in the way of her winning the hearts of her townspeople.
4. Acting as a trash collector to clap back at sexism
Episode: Women in Garbage
Leslie Knope is never one to stay mum in the face of sexism, willing to go to the greatest of lengths for equality as this episode proves. When a meeting is called to discuss setting up a gender equality commission, Leslie is shocked when not a single department sends over a female representative. And of course, the sanitation department’s comments on how women are not physically equipped to take on the role of garbage collectors only added fuel to the fire. So she decides to prove them wrong by personally handling collecting garbage for a day, which puts the misogynists in her office in their right places.
5. Trying to unite rival cities
Episode: The Wall
Most politicians just preach about the importance of camaraderie. Leslie Knope, however, is one to practise it as well. When Pawnee merges with the neighbouring Eagleton, Leslie goes all out to ensure that the long-standing bitter rivalry between the two towns ends. In addition to organising a unity concert, she decides to tear down a wall between the two as a symbolic gesture, resulting in hilarious chaos as she unleashes a swarm of bees from a hive. What follows are moments filled with hilarity as she tries to scramble to fix the mess she made.
6. When she tries to get the whole gang together for ‘one last ride’, ie fixing a swing
Episode: One Last Ride
After some interesting and even bizarre adventures together, the Pawnee gang were all ready to bid adieu to each other as their lives take them their separate ways. But of course, Leslie Knope could not resist one last act of serving the public when someone complains about a broken swing and being the team player that she is, she invites all of her friends to join her on the venture or ‘one last ride’. The touching series finale not only depicts some light-hearted moments where the group's close bond shines through but does so with the ever so fan-favourite humour and witticisms that the characters serve up.