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The Important Life Lessons Leslie Knope and Parks and Recreation Taught Me


Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation

2019 is hard for a lot of us, but it’s made just a little bit easier when you think about Leslie Knope. Parks and Recreation is the kind of show that, sure, we gave a hard time when it first came out but now brings us a certain kind of joy that can only be expressed through rewatches and talking about it nonstop—but primarily through Leslie Knope.

A character that many would deem annoying, that just shows a lack of understanding of the passion behind what Leslie is trying to do. Played by Amy Poehler, she’s the kind of character who would lay down in front of a car for her friends because she wants them to have the best life, even if she sometimes projects her own happiness onto them.

So, let’s look at some life lessons that Leslie and the citizens of Pawnee have taught us throughout the years.

Finding a friend who loves you and will support you is important.

Ann Perkins walked into a Pawnee city council meeting to complain about the pit next to her house and ended up leaving with a best friend. Portrayed by Rashida Jones, the character served to show us what unconditional love in a friendship could look like. Sure, Leslie and Ann had their fights and had moments when they weren’t there for one another in ways they should be, but they always made sure they knew they loved each other.

Mainly Leslie, who would willingly shower Ann in compliments at any given moments.


Anyone can be a nerd, and that’s okay.

With Parks and Recreation, everyone is a bit nerdy. Whether it’s Ben Wyatt talking about Star Trek: The Next Generation and correcting Ann on her Game of Thrones references or Donna Meagle being involved in every pop culture conversation, the show has a wonderful way of showcasing that all of us are a little bit nerdy.

Sure, it could be anything from pop culture to sports, but there’s something we all love to talk about and geek out over, and that’s okay. Leslie Knope’s favorites are maybe Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and more, but at least we’re all included in some way or another.

We don’t have to be people lovers.

Oh, April Ludgate. A character that could be evil and show no remorse, April serves to be the kind of reminder that you don’t have to be a people person. Animals exist, we can be selective about who we actually want to spend our time with, and sometimes it’s fun to be the kind of person that no one can really figure out.

Finding love is nice, but it helps to find the right person.

Let’s talk about Ben Wyatt. Leslie Knope had some interesting boyfriends throughout the run of Parks and Recreation, and until Ben came along, they didn’t treat her in the best of ways—something that I like to apply to my own life and think “I just need to find my Ben Wyatt.”

A man willing to give up anything and everything for her, Ben Wyatt was always there for Leslie Knope in whatever ways she needed.

Maybe it’s because Ben and Leslie were one of the first couples on television that didn’t compromise themselves to fit their relationship; they just understood each other. Or maybe it’s just that they love each other despite whatever flaws other people see in them. Ben and Leslie are a perfect example of what love can be.

Be cozy, be yourself, and just have fun.

Parks and Recreation is the kind of show that, at the end of the day, tells us to look out for ourselves and find people like Leslie Knope to have in our lives. So, as a Leslie Knope myself, you’re all welcome to my services.

Here is the quote that inspired me to get a tattoo about Parks and Recreation, because, at the end of the day, we all have to remember what really matters.

But most importantly, we have to remember one important thing:

(image: NBC)

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Rachel (she/her) is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album, and would sell her soul for Pedro Pascal as Kraven the Hunter. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. Secretly Grogu's mom and Lizzie Olsen's best friend.