It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lesbian lady in possession of a sense of humor must be in want of more Amy Poheler.
No, I’m serious. It’s an absolute, verifiable, scientific fact. You should have seen my Twitter feed when NBC shelved Parks and Recreation until midseason so it could trot out Outsourced, the least funny, most offensive comedy in the history of — no, never mind; I just remembered Two and a Half Men. (But Outsourced really does blow.) What I’m saying is that all the gay ladies I know lost their minds because Poehler’s Leslie Knope is a hilarious, feminist hero on a half-hour comedy, and that’s not something you find just around the corner.
Lately, it seems like every where I turn — boom! — more Amy Poehler to enjoy. And that’s just the way I like it. Every Thursday night, I’m guffawing over her antics on Parks and Recreation. Tina Fey talked more about Poehler than she did about her own parents in her new memoir, Bossypants. Harvard chose her to give their class day speech this year. And today, Time magazine announced the exact correct choice of selecting her as one of their 100 most influential people of 2011.
Oh, and also, this Leslie Knope guide to emotions has been making its way around Tumblr and Twitter and Google Reader.
It took a full season for Parks and Recreation to find its footing, but these days it’s one of the most consistently funny sitcoms on TV. Funny and sweet, actually. P&R masterfully balances pathos and peculiarity, and Poehler is the heart of it all. The earnest, affable Leslie Knope is sometimes clumsy and sometimes mental, but she’s brilliant at her job, and everyone who knows her literally thinks she’s the greatest person in the world. Leslie is unapologetically ambitious.
Framed photos of successful women — from Madeline Albright to her own mother — line her walls and bookcases. And she often drops gems like this: “Winning is every girl’s dream. But it’s my destiny. And my dream.”
Leslie Knope is the perfect Girl Power messenger, kind of like Poehler herself.
In Bossypants, Tina Fey recalls the one of Poehler’s first days on the set of Saturday Night Live:
… I don’t remember what [Poehler was doing] exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.” Jimmy Fallon, who was was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it!”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t f–king care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibiliy startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit … With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not f–king care if you like it.
I was so happy.
Tina Fey also remembers what it was like for her and Poehler working with the second-string Second City improv team, driving around the country in a van, doing post-prom shows for kids who would rather be having sex and corporate events for people who were about to be laid off. Even in 1995, Second City improv teams were made up of two women and four men because producers thought women actors didn’t bring as much to the table as their male counterparts. That makes both Fey’s and Poehler’s successes even sweeter, especially when you consider that Poehler made Time‘s influential list this year alongside folks like, oh, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
In a male-driven industry, Amy Poehler is making s–t happen. She doesn’t care what you think. (“Hos before bros, uteruses before duderuses, ovaries before bovaries.”) It’s my dream to be just like her. (And it’s my destiny.) (And my dream.)
How much do you love Amy Poehler? (And Leslie Knope?)