25 Inimitable Men 6/25
Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)
A nerdy feminist with a heart of gold and ridiculously sarcasm all wrapped up in a hardworking individual with an agenda to do good? This basically sums up perfection if you ask me. Leslie Knope would agree. Ben Wyatt was the greatest addition into the show and I’ll forever be in awe of how drastically the series changed when he entered it. Parks and Recreation gave its characters a plethora of opportunities to showcase a number of different sides and when Ben was first introduced, all I can think of was how much he’d potentially change for the department, but at the end of the day, the changes that did occur were monumentally impactful, and he was given the opportunity to make an excellent name for himself. Ben’s childlike excitement, genuine desire to do good, work ethics, and kindness have made him a character who’d be hard to replace. And in every sense of the word, a character who’s truly inimitable.
In the same way that Leslie would voice her excitement and happiness over the little things, when Ben was finally comfortable around the department, he began showing more of his nerdy side, too. And that side of him may very well be my absolute favorite. He and Chuck Bartowski would get along I’m 110% certain of this. What’s often made characters on Parks and Recreation stand out has been the fact that they’ve always been outspoken about the things they’ve liked or disliked. And while some may see that as a flaw, in my book it’s what’s made them that much more memorable. Ben geeking out over the iron throne in the same way that a child would react to a gift they’ve been begging Santa for was an epic showcase of not only how perfect he is for Leslie, but that it’s perfectly okay for men to voice their happiness over the little things as well. And Ron Swanson is a prime example of this too which we’ll get to in a couple of days. Ben Wyatt is the kind of man who appreciates soundtracks with the belief that it’s as though his favorite directors have made a mixtape for him. And I couldn’t agree with that concept more even if I wanted to — soundtracks are the absolute best! It’s in these little outbursts that showcased a childlike wonder, which surely made Leslie feel as though she’s found a kindred spirit through him — someone who wouldn’t look at her excitement as annoying or weird but rather match it with his own.
There’s not a single character on Parks and Recreation who doesn’t believe in the fact that people have the choice to do good and their innate desire to constantly be a help to the world is an outstanding display of honor. And Ben Wyatt believes in good work so fervently, he was mayor at 18 but screwed everything up. #NeverForgetIceTown. I mean, the man is afraid of cops for crying out loud, how much of a good soul do you have to have to fear cops when you’re innocent? Ben’s desire to do good is illuminated throughout the seasons, but it’s mostly present in his career choices when he must resign in disgrace over what’s happened with Leslie. Let’s be frank, he isn’t perfect in his voice overs or the choice to make Bobby Newport look bad, but it’s all good because then he’d be unrealistic. (He also thinks calzones are great. Overrated.) That said, Ben Wyatt’s goodness is what doesn’t allow him to settle for a job where he isn’t helping out. When his character grows more in kindness after finding love with Leslie, it forces him to seek career paths that’ll make the world a better, safer place showcasing that deep within, his heart is incredibly pure. And so much of Ben’s serious demeanor in the beginning is what stopped him from believing in the fact that he could make the differences he wants.
Ben’s work ethics are remarkably admirable and that’s the one thing that’s most evident about him when we’re first introduced to the character. Whatever Ben does, he goes in head first until it’s accomplished. He puts in everything he’s got in order to make ends meet and even when things get stressful, the desire to succeed is enough to keep him going. I’ve always appreciated the fact that he’s a man who’s good at a number of things. He can be an accountant, he can be a manager, he can successfully run a campaign. Ben Wyatt is anything but lazy and that’s the reason he could succeed at absolutely anything he attempts — except claymation. (Do you ever just stop to geek out over how perfect he and Leslie are for one another? I totally just did that. There’s absolutely nothing he wouldn’t do to ensure that she’s the happiest person in the world and … I’m crying.) Most importantly, Ben’s resourcefulness and self-awareness have made it easier for him to learn from his failures while continuously doing everything in his power to better himself. It’s so easy to appreciate this characteristic in almost all of Parks and Recreation’s characters because it serves as the reminder that in life, hard work and kindness are all that’s going to take us far.
Finally, Ben’s kindness shines above all, but do not fret, it’s not the type of kindness that’s taken advantage of, but where need be, the compassion within him is reflected boldly through his actions. Ben’s straightforward — he isn’t someone you can step on (unless you’re a cop, he’d be too scared to be bold), but he’s also someone who does things in such an intricate way that allows people to confide in him. He’s always been able to find the right words, in that way, he and Chris Traeger were born to be best friends. Ben may not be your traditional sweet talker or positive voice of reason like Chris, but he’s an incredibly sweet man whose nerdy spirit makes him the person who’s wanted around. Because even when it seems as though he’s being mean or tough, the compassion within him will allow him to dig deeper into the bigger picture in order to do what’ll bring the best, most noble outcome. And it’s in the little things such as his inability to understand what’s so great about Lil’ Sebastian, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciating the precious horse because he knows how much Leslie and the team care about him.
Once upon a time I saw Adam Scott at my old work place and I awkwardly blurted out “I love Ben Wyatt so much okay bye” as I passed by him. He laughed and said thank you. It was a wonderful moment, to be quite honest. And now it’s my turn to properly say that Adam Scott’s performances as Ben Wyatt have been exceptional from his very first scene to the final breath he took in the character’s shoes. Scott has played the character with so many subtle nuances we’d be here forever if I went through them all. And plainly, simply I’m thankful for the fact that he was the actor casted because no other person could fill such intricate shoes. Ben Wyatt is the kind of character who’ll be adored for years to come, the kind of character whose best episodes you can watch over again and find endless laughter in. The kind of character who’s the most hysterical drunk to exist. The kind of character who’s just so well written, you’ll always wish there’d be more of him.
- “I love how independent my wife is, and because of that I will not let her speak. That came out wrong. The point is, Leslie is a great mother, public servant, all around person. And I’m tired of everyone constantly telling her that she’s making the wrong choice. (To Leslie.) So you could say whatever you want, I don’t care about the political consequences. […] And by the way, no one’s ever asked me that question. No one’s ever asked me “where are your kids?” or “who’s taking care of them?” So maybe Leslie doesn’t fit your perfect idea of what a candidate’s wife should be, So what? That’s good because there shouldn’t be just one idea anyway.
- “I’ve been a little tense lately just thinking about the new Star Wars sequel.” #Same
- “They’re telling human stories in a fantasy world.”