Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Parks and Recreation” SnapCap (4.06)


When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”


Whenever anyone asks me if Pawnee, Indiana is a real place, I always hesitate before answering — because no, it’s not a real place, but Parks and Recreation has done a brilliant job of making it feel like a real place. I don’t think there’s been a show since Gilmore Girls that has created a ficional town with as much personality as Pawnee. Actually, Stars Hollow and Pawnee have a lot in common, huh? They’re both so full of quirky people and peculiar places that the towns themselves have become characters. Like last night when Reasonableists leader Herb drops by to remind Leslie that Zorp will be swooping down at sunrise to burn off everyone’s faces to use as fuel for his spaceship, and so the cult will be keeping an all-night vigil in the park.


You know what’s so great about Leslie Knope? Trick question! The answer is: everything. But you know what’s one specifically great thing about Leslie Knope? She’s so heroic, but she’s also so damn relatable. One thing that has always impressed me about Parks is how the writers aren’t afraid to really dig down and flesh out their characters. It’s a dangerous comedic proposition, really, because the general rule of writing goes like this: The more you really, truly develop your characters, the more you risk alienating audience members who can’t project onto them. Consistent character development in sitcoms usually means “cult favorite.” And “cult favorite” usually means ratings death. But Parks hasn’t shied away from exploring their characters in a deeply authentic way (except for Ann Perkins). It’s why the heart punches always hit. Because we really care about these people.

And I’m saying that because even though “End of the World” didn’t showcase Leslie at her best — in fact she kind of resorted to some season one behavior — her struggle still resonated. I mean, it’s a real existential crisis kind of moment when you realize you’d spend your last moments on earth with a person you can’t even see socially because you’re probably not living your last moments on earth. Leslie isn’t gay or anything, but her story is full-on AfterEllen Bait all the time. Because she’s one of the most empowered, hilarious women on TV, and her struggles, as a human being, are our struggles, as human beings.


Musical montages always give me about eleven badrillion feelings, and the closing of last night’s episode was no exception. I wanted everyone to have what they wanted! I wanted Leslie to be able to run for city council and be with Ben! I wanted Andy to cross-off that bucket list! I wanted Tom to find genuine purpose and happiness! I wanted Ron to sell every one of his hand-carved flutes at 80 dollars a pop! But just when you thought the pathos was going to veer wildly into Sentimental Canyon, Andy goes, “Where’s all the faces, with the presidents and stuff?”


Finally! The return of Janet Snakehole! Kind of! April didn’t say she was Janet Snakehole when she was being held “hostage” by Jerry, but she was using her Janet Snakehole eyes and her Janet Snakehole voice! And the Grand Canyon scene featured maybe the greatest April line ever: “Yeah, I am trying to find some way to be annoyed by it — but I’m coming up empty.” Highest praise.


Watching Leslie lose her shit over Ben was kind of life-affirming, right? Because if motherf–king Leslie Knope goes bananas over love, it’s OK if us mere mortals do it sometimes too. My favorite Leslie line of the night was, “Oh, I am so annoyed that he would hypothetically do that!” Because we’ve all been there.

What was your favorite moment from “End of the World”?

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