International Women’s Day | ’15

Inspiring Female Character III: 
Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) | Amy Poehler

Leslie Knope teaches the world that it’s okay to be excited over little things even if people don’t understand you. I get excited over the smallest details and for a while, I believed it was pathetic, like I needed to remain a certain way so people would take me seriously. And this bold, courageous woman taught me to never be ashamed of being eccentric; being loving and sensitive is beautiful — being different is beautiful. She teaches the importance of self love in the most inimitable way. Leslie Knope is the paradigm of a dreamer – a woman whose entire arc was about rising above the norms and fighting to succeed. It’s easy to love her because it’s easy to understand her. We all have dreams in our hearts we’ve been desiring since we were little girls and when life gets difficult, it’s easy to let go of them. But Leslie Knope reminds us that it’s okay if it takes a while. It’s okay if it doesn’t work out exactly as you pictured it because if you continue fighting, you’ll make it.

By being compassionate, enthusiastic, supportive, and generous, Leslie Knope teaches women how to be friends. She teaches the importance of selflessness through her unwavering empathy and adoration.

Inspiring Novel Written by a Female:
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The moment you choose to pick this book up, people will have to snatch it out of your hands because it’s that great. Amy Poehler’s remarkable honesty and exquisite humor inspire impeccably. With numerous excellent quotes that women can carry with them in their lives, Poehler validates that she’s truly a gift in this industry. Much like Leslie Knope, Poehler showcases the importance of fighting for our dreams by discussing her journey into the industry. And it wasn’t always sunny, but surely in the end it’s worth it. What Yes Please did the most excellent job of authenticating is the fact that it’s okay not to always have it together – we are all beautifully flawed and we shouldn’t have to fake emotions. It’s okay if something isn’t going isn’t our way as long as we don’t give up. Poehler tackles numerous issues we all have face in her novel and it’s guaranteed to serve as a memorable inspiration for all.

Parks and Recreation 7×12 – 13 “One Last Ride” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

I am ready to conquer many things, but I am not ready to say goodbye to Pawnee.

Episode Summary:  In order for their last day to be the greatest, Leslie convinces the team that they should help fix a broken swing. Thisgives the group time to reflect on their experiences together and fortify their friendships even further. In 2025, the group reunites in Pawnee once more and this time, they’re staying.

Review | Analysis: I loved this episode so much more than I can say. And if I’m being completely honest, I don’t know where to begin or end. The last time I’ve reviewed aseries finale was The Office and all I can remember is there were lots of tears. The thing with Parks and Recreation is that it did the most superlative job of inspiring its viewers to follow their dreams. It was cheesy, it dealt with clichés, it was hysterical, and it was brilliant. Here’s the thing, life is tough for all of us. It takes a while for our dreams to come true, it takes a while to find good friends, love, and it takes a while for us to learn how to love ourselves. And in the midst of all the difficulties we all face, we need the clichés to remind us that at some point life can be unbelievably, unexplainably, and immaculately perfect. Parks and Recreation is a series that focused heavily on the little things – it reminded its viewers that there’s beauty in hard work, there’s wonder in uncertainties, there’s power in uniqueness, and there’s strength in numbers. And that’s why I loved it so much. It’s why I have such a difficult time letting go. That said let’s begin discussing the glorious series finale.

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Parks and Recreation 7×09 “Pie Mary” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Pie Mary is an episode that could only be described as completely and utterly brilliant.

Episode Summary: Controversies arise when Leslie decides to skip out on a pie making contest because she doesn’t like what it stands for. Garry loses his wedding ring plus a bunch of other things, and Donna thinks it’s the most entertaining thing ever. After April tells Ron that she and Andy must move to Washington for her job in a few months, he asks for the spare key to his house back; however, because she hid it a long time ago, they all need to put their heads together to figure out where.

Review: One of my all time favorite things about Parks and Recreation is that it never lets us forget how proud show runners and actors are to delve into feminism. They’ve always done a superlative job of validating the importance of equal rights and debunking the conception that Feminism = girls rule, boys drool. There are countless things I loved about this episode but the main entity is that it reminded its viewers of what a sublime pair Ben and Leslie are. She supports him and he supports her – no matter who’s doing what, they’ll defend their person to the end of time all while standing their ground and letting the world know that love helps them grow as a person. Also, Ron Swanson is a complete softie and Nick Offerman’s a genius.

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Parks and Recreation 7×08 “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

April has finally figured out what she wants to do for the rest of her life and it’s perfect for her.

Episode Summary: Andy, Ben, and Ron continue to help April find her dream job. And during their trip in Washington, April tells Leslie she wants to leave the Parks Department. Leslie gets a promotion.

Review: The episode did a gorgeous job of showcasing Leslie and April’s relationship. Its core focus was on the two of them and the journey they’ve been on since they’ve met. Packed with outstanding performances and a fantastic script, this has quickly become one of my favorite episodes. And as always it was lovely to watch Andy’s unwavering love for April brought to life in the most inimitably stunning and hilarious manner.

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Heartening Inspiration

Don’t ignore your dreams.

The road to success will never be easy. The biggest tragedy in life is when someone neglects the dreams within their heart because of the crippling self doubt that comes along with the fight. As human beings we need to get it through our heads that we aren’t perfect. We never ever ever will be. It’s the only thing in life that’s impossible. If we learn to let go of the voice that tells us imperfection is the worst thing in the world, then we’ll succeed. It’ll be easier to chase our dreams. It’ll be easier to go for what you want because deep in your heart you know that it’s okay to fall.

Speaking from personal experience, being a writer isn’t easy. A special thank you to Amy Poehler for blatantly pointing that out in her epic novel “Yes Please” because so often I felt as though I was just awful at it when it got hard.Sometimes it’s fun to sit around with coffee as we brainstorm things with the California sun shining in our faces in 80 degree weather, and other times, it’s scary how quickly I can go from writing an awesome sentence to crying about how I hate everything and don’t know what I’m doing. It’s easiest to give up when those moments hit, but we can’t. The thing is, if we give up on our dreams, we give up on ourselves.  “Remember yourself as a little girl (or boy), she is counting on you to protect her.” As much as our parents tried to protect us as children, they didn’t know everything that went on in our lives. As kids, we’ve all lived through certain tragedies that we could now handle as an adult – some made us stronger, but others have damaged us. For the sake of the child within you, fight your hardest to reach the pinnacle of success. It’s possible. You owe it to yourself to make everything worth it. If you have a dream in your heart, it’s there for a reason. If you can’t let it go, it’s your calling. And in the midst of the hard times, remember where you’ve been, but keep your eye on where you want to be. And whatever you do, keep telling yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes. As long as you do your best, it’s all that matters. We’re allowed to have bad days and we’re allowed to have great days.

The strongest saying in my opinion has always been – “be someone your 8-year-old self would be proud of.” Be good to others and be good to yourself as you fight for your dreams.

Parks and Recreation 7×03 “William Henry Harrison” + 7×04 “Leslie and Ron”

Spoilers Ahead

Full of heart, humor, and exceptional performances, tonight’s two-part episode is without a doubt one of the greatest in Parks and Recreation history. You’d have to not only be dealing with two insanely gifted actors but excellent writing to make an episode like “Leslie and Ron” work – by the time it was over, I was left thinking it had passed by too quickly.

Episode Summary: During “William Henry Harrison” Ron and Leslie compete towards finding someone to represent their proposal for the Newport land. Leslie finds out that ninth President William Henry Harrison has a descendent named Zach Harrison while Ron reluctantly agrees to have celebrity Annabel Porter represent his company. However, learning the secret behind Morning Star and watching Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman brilliantly manifest a full range of emotions was the cherry on top in “Leslie and Ron”. 

Review | Analysis: I imagined that I’d get emotional over Ron and Leslie repairing their friendship, but I most certainly didn’t think I’d be a sobbing wreck. No exaggerations. If I’m being honest, I probably sat in front of my screen for a good fifteen minutes and cried. Days later and I’m still having  a difficult time coming up with the proper words to do such an episode justice.

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