Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope Is Still the Great Political Hope for Local Government Officials

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Knope 2020? Photo: NBC/2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Amid the sea of corrupt, incompetent, and deceitful politicians currently scheming on TV, Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope still stands tall — so tall, in fact, that local officials are looking to her as a model for effective, levelheaded governing. In a Hollywood Reporter feature on the evolution of small-screen bureaucrats, Parks co-creator Michael Schur spoke about Leslie’s lasting influence in the civic sphere. “[Local government employees] have said that her hopeful vision of government was helpful in times of crisis,” he explained. “There’s an aspirational quality to Leslie … She offers a kind of blueprint for how we might go about curing certain problems in government.” (She’d already made a fan out of one Hillary Clinton.) Schur also revealed that Parks was initially pitched as “a comedy version of The West Wing” — that is, a wonky but hopeful depiction of the political process — and explained that “TV tells stories and reflects the time in which we live.” We’re now in 2017, and Leslie left our TV screens at the tail-end of the Obama era — so, yeah, while it’s great that her influence is still being felt on the local level, that sounds about right.

Leslie Knope Is Helping Local Governments in Times of Crisis