It’s a lot harder to get excited about Santa when you’re a grown-up because when you’re a grown-up you’re old enough to realize Santa’s chimney swooping coincides with the cold, dark, barely bearable winter TV hiatus. Yesterday was the first day of December, and so my heart was like, “Here comes Santa Claus!” but my head was like, “And there goes Leslie Knope.” And oh, I resented Santa, you guys. I really did.
ANYWAY. My roommate has missed the last few weeks of Parks and Rec. She didn’t know Ben and Leslie had gotten back together, so when she saw the opening of last night’s episode she was like, “Gah! I’m too far behind! I can’t watc—” and then she plopped down in her chair and didn’t move for the next half hour except for wiping her tears away from the laughing and the crying. Behold the power of Leslie Knope!
At this point, what about Parks and Recreation ISN’T AfterEllen Bait? The whole entire show is like lesbian catnip: It’s quick-witted and clever, it’s full of feelings, and it’s got the best feminist TV has seen in ages and ages. (Along with Liz Lemon, obviously.) One of my big fears about season four was that the writers were going to sabotage that whole third-wave feminism idea about women being able to have it all — a career AND a romantic relationship — in an effort to keep Leslie and Ben apart.
When writers throw a will-they/won’t-they power couple into the mix, they are almost always forced to manufacture ways to separate them, and the path P&R‘s writers took was: Leslie can’t purse her political aspirations and her relationship with Ben. And Leslie chose her career. It was refreshing, but also it was scary. Because obviously Leslie and Ben were going to get back together, and I’ve been chewing my fingernails for months now wondering how the writers were going to manage that without undermining all of Leslie’s feminist ideals.
Then they give us “The Trial of Leslie Knope” and I want to hug my television and never let go. See, because Leslie isn’t willing to sacrifice anything. She’s going to fight to have her relationship and she’s going to fight to have her political career. She’s going to fight. (“I broke one rule, and I will accept a slap on the wrist. But when you sit back and let your reputation be destroyed, you go down in history as a frozen whore!”) Leslie Knope isn’t shrieking in a tower waiting to be rescued by Prince Ben. And in the end, she doesn’t have to sacrifice anything at all. It’s Ben who gives up his career so Leslie can pursue hers. When’s the last time you saw that happen on TV?
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS
Ben and Leslie are the soul mate-iest soul mates to ever have souls. “The Trial of Leslie Knope” could have turned into an overwrought sopfest, with both of them finally declaring their undying affection one another. But of course it didn’t. It was the sweetest thing possibly ever in the history of the world, but their love confessions took place on the official Pawnee record and were revealed by Ethel Beavers’ dramatic interpretation. I’m not sure any show will ever be able to out do it, honestly.
You know it’s going to be a good night when April busts out Janet Snakehole:
I DON’T KNOW WHY LESLIE KNOPE IS ON TRIAL! ETHEL BEAVERS DID IT! BEAVERS DID IT! I WILL HOLD MYSELF IN CONTEMPT OF COURT!
Also: “Any woman caught laughing is a witch. [Beat] That’s true.”
POEHLER PUPPET PALS
Amy Poehler has said a million times in a million interviews how much she loves Law & Order, and it was obvious she was having fun with “The Trial of Leslie Knope.” I’m always nuts for Leslie’s Pawnee history lessons, and last night we got three(!), including the guy whose face was blown up by dynamite AND the frozen whore! Also, her iMovie about hooking up with Ben was the Knope-est thing I have ever seen in my life.
“I’d like to direct you to your inbox, and specifically an email entitled “Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” That’s ‘Y-A’ and 18 ‘Y’s and 44 exclamation points.”
Funny, that’s exactly how I feel about this show.
(There’s not really a category for this, but Ron realizing Google has invaded his privacy is one of my favorite cold opens P&R has ever done.)
What did you think about “The Trial of Leslie Knope”?