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.
“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.”
— Michelle Obama
There’s an unusual idea has been making its way around that’s set on the belief that love in the media is weakness. And perhaps, in the real world though I’ve been fortunate enough never to witness this. You’d think Once Upon A Time’s late Cora Mills is in position of their hearts or something. But there’s no theory or idea that’s more laughable, and I say that with the utmost respect. There are a number of opinions that differ from mine that I could respect, turn the other cheek, and agree to disagree on, but when said idea is damaging and leads to young women believing that strength is coldness and isolation, I draw the line. There’s great bravery in honesty and it takes more courage to be vulnerable than it does to build a wall. It takes more courage to understand and explore our feelings than it does to shut them off. It takes strength to fall into the great unknown with a partner that we’re willing to share our entire lives with. Strength is understanding the difference between right and wrong. Strength is understanding our value and trusting our instincts in every obstacle we face. And when someone is right for us, they don’t take those things away from us, they don’t dim them or lock them away, they welcome them with open arms and admiration.
25 Nearest and Dearest 1/25
Pawnee Parks Department (Parks and Recreation)
Parks and Recreation portrays friendships in a way that’s impeccably rare on television. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins alone are the epitome of how women should be with their best friends. And while they’d be enough if they were the only ones, the entire department is magic together. In what may be the most difficult choices I’ve made in my writing career, I’ve attempted to culminate seven of my favorite moments, which showcase friendship at its absolute finest. The moments that were unbelievably difficult to choose but manage to bring characters together in ways that are beautifully refreshing.
It’s not easy to write about Parks and Recreation. In fact, it’s the hardest show I’ve ever written for because it’s the show of dreams that’s reached an unparalleled level of perfection. It’s the show where a person is celebrated because of who they are and teamwork is valued above all. And if that’s not perfect then I don’t know what is.
25 Love Stories 7/25
Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
Parks and Recreation quickly became one of my favorite shows because of how unapologetically feminist it is. And the most glorious element of the series isn’t just how much the ladies appreciate one another, but how the men are fully aware of the fact that their surroundings are their equals. Ben Wyatt not only loves Leslie Knope for all that she is, but he’s completely and fervently supportive of her dreams and that alone is indescribably beautiful. Ben and Leslie’s relationship reminds viewers that sometimes the biggest risks give us the greatest outcomes in life. Their love also serves as a pivotal reminder that it’s key to wait for someone who’ll not only grow wildflowers in your heart, but to wait for someone who’ll never once question your dreams and aspirations.
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.
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.
“Two Funerals” was the kind of Parks and Recreation episode that does a fantastic job of reminding its viewers that if you have good friends, you have everything.
Episode Summary: When Pawnee’s Mayor, Walter Gunderson (Bill Murray) dies, it’s up to Ben to find his replacement. Leslie helps Tom come up with a beautiful way to propose to Lucy. Ron’s barber Salvatore passes as well and Donne tries to help him find a new one.
Review: While moments within the episode were as glorious as anything done on Parks and Recreation, the episode unfortunately fell a bit flat after the greatness we watched in “Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show”. I may be in the minority when I say this, but Jean-Ralphio and his sister aren’t characters I missed and certainly felt the episode could’ve done without. At the end of the day however, I’m so incredibly happy for Tom and I’m glad Aziz Ansari got an episode to shine again. Love is everything, and on a show like Parks and Recreation, we’re constantly reminded that it’s something everyone deserves to have and should seize the opportunity to get it whenever they can.
“Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” was indeed an awesome conclusion to Andy Dwyer’s life in Pawnee.
Episode Summary: It’sAndy’s final day on his TV series and he goes out with a bang, bringing backSpecial Agent Burt Macklin and featuring everyone from the Parks Department onhis episode. The episode focused mainly on Andy, which is a huge blessing on its own because it gave Chris Pratt the opportunity to really showcase how much Andy’s changed all while remaining the same.
Review: Note, I’m still slightly emotional over the fact that Andy is the sweetest husband ever and April’s the most perfect wife for him. And I’m extremely emotional over the fact that the series is ending next week. That said, let’s discuss how wonderful the idea of a series finale within a series finale is because in some bizarre (but good) way, the episode reminded me of All That, and if you’re a 90s kid, you know how awesome that series was. A series within the series really delved further into the mockumentary style making it the most hilarious form they’ve done.
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.
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.