Post-"Parks" Depression: 15 Reasons Why Leslie Knope Is One of the Greatest Female TV Characters Ever

Post-"Parks" Depression: 15 Reasons Why Leslie Knope Is One of the Greatest Female TV Characters Ever

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Almost two weeks ago, an amazing show aired its final episode. That show was NBC's Parks and Recreation. After seven seasons of smart, clever hilarity, of stellar characters and story lines, of an outstanding group of writers and actors, the curtain sadly closed for good. As an avid fan of the Parks Gang, I have been in a state of depression ever since. For those of you who have ever had "a show,' this one or otherwise, that has ended, you know what I'm feeling. I am not ashamed to admit that post-series finale, I have been going through the five stages of grief: first is denial and/or isolation (I refused to accept the show was over, then preceded to watch the entire series all over again. Side note, I finished the whole series in the eleven days since Parks has been off the air); second is anger (the fact that someone had the audacity to end one of the greatest shows of the 21st century still kind of enrages me); third is bargaining (me: "God/NBC heads, I will give you literally anything to bring this show back"); fourth is depression (to be honest I'm still in this stage and don't know if I'll ever be out of this stage, but I'll keep you posted); and finally, the fifth stage, which is acceptance (again, I'll keep you posted if I ever reach this stage).

Kubler-Ross grief model aside, for those of us who are fans of Parks and Rec, it's been a pretty tough two weeks, and Tuesdays will never be the same. But, despite the sadness, it's time to appreciate the genius that was this show. However, that would mean appreciating everything and probably writing a million page article, which is not what anyone wants. Except for me, I'd totally do it in a heart beat.

Semi-joking aside, I decided it was best to focus on only one genius thing from this show. This genius thing is the character of Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler easily created one of the greatest female characters on television today. Not only was Leslie a strong female lead, she was a hilarious and relatable one, too. This was a character that women actually could/do/can always look up to. And here are some reasons why.

1.) Leslie is super smart. This one is a complete no brainer. She's an educated, innovative woman who has both book and (sometimes) street smarts. She is also a fairly gifted people-person, one who knows how to bring out the best in those around her, as well as motivate coworkers/peers to work hard for their/her/a cause. Sometimes, it doesn't come off correctly and it may cause some discord, but she always finds a way to fix it. That takes some serious brain power.


2.) She's passionate about what she cares for. Parks, Ben, her department, Ann, Pawnee, her friends, scrapbooking, Ann again, hating Eagleton, waffles, paperwork, some more Ann, hating and hoping for the destruction of libraries, probably Parks and Ben one more time, and of course Ann. All of these things, and I'm sure more, are what Leslie is passionate about. And when she's passionate about something or someone, she doesn't stop working for the perfect end-goal or solution. I know I'm still trying to find what I'm passionate about, so to have so many things that hold her attention and drive her is something worth striving for.

3.) Leslie Knope=Queen of Comebacks. Sometimes awkward and/or aggressive, yet always hilarious, Leslie kills the comeback game. She can hit where it hurts, or at least give a solid attempt to. I mean, you can't ask for much else.

4.) She's all about gender equality and the empowerment of women. Leslie Knope is a strong believer and fighter for women's equality both in government and in general. She both idolizes and admires strong, powerful, smart women and tries to be that kind of woman herself so she can inspire the future generation (and sometimes herself).

5.) She's committed. When she believes in something or wants something, she'll fight for it, and she won't stop until things are achieved. Leslie Knope does not give up. Ever.


6.) Drunk Leslie is pretty much every drunk girl ever. This one kind of speaks for itself. If you've ever been around a drunk girl, you know that Leslie embodies it perfectly.

7.) Her friendship and marriage are the definition of real relationship goals. I mean seriously, she hit the relationship jackpot. Her friendship in Ann is what every girl looks for in having a best friend: they're two peas in a pod, but on things they do differ on, they find ways to work around it; they just love each other as they are. And her marriage with Ben? She found her perfect other half. He respects and loves her for who she is, he perfectly balances her out, and their goofy relationship is what every girl should actually aim for.


8.) Leslie Knope is the most creative complimenter ever. Anyone who is a Parks fan has always secretly wanted to be at the end of a Leslie Knope compliment. Seriously, these things are off the charts. Granted, most are directed towards Ann, but either way. They're amazing.

9.) The way Leslie handles boys/dating. Any girl knows the confusion, excitement, and overall emotional ups and downs of dating. Dating isn't perfect. Actually, half the time it makes us go crazy. Instead of a perfect Hollywood-like look at dating, Leslie handles it just like the rest of us.


10.) She's so optimistic. No matter how bad things are going, how much the cards are stacked against her, Leslie always keeps a positive look on things. Sometimes it's scary how positive she is, but in a good way. She'll either keep a happy, brave face or find a silver lining to any situation.


11.) Leslie isn't afraid to be herself. A lot of us struggle to become comfortable in our own skin, but Not Leslie Knope. No matter who or what is going on around her, she doesn't change herself. She holds true to who she is. That takes a lot of strength.



12.) Her love of breakfast food and hate of salads. I mean not much more can be said; she loves her waffles and hates salads. But that's a very real world thing. I don't care what anyone says, breakfast food is the best kind of food out there. What other type of food can be eaten at any time of day? Plus, it's just plain delicious no matter what you get. On the opposite end of the spectrum are salads. No matter how people try to spin it, they're just gross. No one says salad is their favorite food, and if they do they're big fat liars. End of story.


13.) Leslie Fangirls like the rest of us. We all have celebrity crushes, people we strive to be like, and things we just geek about. So does Leslie, granted, most of hers involve politicians, but she fangirls nonetheless. Not only is having a character that has such fangirl tendencies refreshing to see, so are her reactions to meeting them. She acts as any of us would meeting the people we obsess about.

14.) She's selfless. Leslie Knope rarely thinks of herself. She puts everyone before herself, and I mean everyone. Sure, she puts her loved ones ahead of her, but she also makes the wellbeing of strangers a top priority. She wants to do what's best for her town (and eventually many other towns) always. Even when they don't agree and they attack her, she still stands by them and does what she thinks is right. That is amazing.

15.) She is the kind of best friend and person you want in your life. All of these reasons (and more that I really have no time or space to fit) have culminated to this final reason. Leslie Knope is an amazing (fictional) human being. If you wanted one person in your corner, it would be her. She brings out the best in people, pushes them to realize their potential, all while supporting and loving them for who they are. What else could you ever want in a person?


So there you have it, folks, proof Leslie Knope is one of the greatest female characters ever. Parks and Rec will be very missed, but I know we will all especially miss the amazing character that was Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler, we will forever be indebted to you for your genius. Now excuse me while I go cry and binge eat some waffles.

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'After Every Shooting' Are Words That Are Normal To The American Vocabulary In 2018

How un-American it is to turn our backs on our fellow countrymen
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I struggle to understand why my headline is one I have to enter for my article this week. “After every shooting” should not be something that is normal to utter, but for the average American, it is.

It is February of 2018, and we have already had over 20 mass shootings this year. In a decade, I wonder if I will look back and be pleased that we have made progress to right this wrong in our society. But I fear with my entire heart that in a decade or so, I’ll simply look at the son or daughter I hope to have with fear as they start their lives. Will they be the next victim?

From where I sit I have to remind myself that I could be the next victim -- or my little brother, my sister, my cousin, my parents, my boyfriend, or my best friend. We could all be the next victim. And yet here we sit, a few days after a mass tragedy, and all I can hear are the careless mutters.

“It isn’t all about guns, I think we need to think about mental health.”

“Gun control is important but that wasn’t the entire problem.”

“It didn’t work in other countries, we can’t take away everyone’s guns.”

And then our careless president seems to lack any sense of logic as he tweets about how this shooting was something we could have prevented.

I watched a video of one of the victims. She roared into the microphone at a press conference. She saw her life flash before her eyes. We need to all get into a place where we can simply begin to fathom what she and her peers feel like. We need to be red with anger because this isn’t about light conversation and sobering curiosity at what to do, this is about gun control.

If you’re going to open your mind and stick with me, I would appreciate it immensely.

Why is this about gun control? Because with every single mass shooting, we go through this. The gun lobby and the right-wing representatives and senators will not so much as budge at the loss of children’s lives because of this centuries-old right to protect ourselves. But every time this happens, we go back into the same cycle.

No, gun control won’t work. We can’t fix this that way. That isn’t what we’ll do. We'll ponder, sit, talk about it briefly, and then get back to other work. And then we have a shooting.

This time it must be different. It must be a different fight. Because here is what politicians need to understand -- if you are elected, by the people and for the people, you will step, you will run across the aisle to compromise when lives are lost.

Otherwise, you are not doing your job. You are not fulfilling the duty you swore an oath to fulfill. If you, as a leader, as a politician, or even as an ordinary person, uncomfortable by the conversations that come about after every damn mass shooting, cannot for a second give gun control a chance and see what say, more background checks, fewer rights, changes to open-carry laws, would entail and how that would impact your life, you are the problem.

The people that fight so aggressively against gun control are hell-bent on keeping their guns to defend themselves and want to be these strong-willed, larger than life, gun owners who have immense pride in their firearm. Great, power to them.

But if you can’t for a second consider the pride you could find in compromise, the pride that comes from knowing when you might need to learn or rethink, or the pride that comes from truly being the bigger person and giving someone else’s idea a chance, then you aren’t a cool, strong, patriotic gun owner after all.

The most patriotic is the person who is willing to step up and think, understand, and fight for the lives of kids. Kids that are America’s future.

I’m simply sick and tired of people defending inanimate objects over the shattered pieces of families that are to be memorialized and buried in the coming days or that will live with grief forever.

I’m sick and tired of the media and politicians contemplating what we should do and how to fix things.

I’m sick and tired of waiting for politicians to give gun control a chance because of its proven benefits. If kids aren’t your priority or one of them, resign before you get voted out.

I think I speak for everyone when I say I am sick and tired of excuses.

And finally, I’m just sick at the idea that families are in the trenches of grief, sorrow, and utter brokenness as I type this. I can’t imagine the pain. And I can’t imagine how we aren’t doing anything to solve this.

We are witnessing how broken the political and social foundation of America is right now. Turn on the news, look around you. The founding fathers and the heroes, the change-makers who fought and died for our great country would be ashamed to say the very least that we have done nothing.

How unamerican it is to turn our backs on our fellow countrymen -- the kids who died in Florida last week. How truly unamerican.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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We Need Gun Control And We Need It Now

How many more innocent people need to die before we decide enough is enough?
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Tragedy struck once again this Valentine’s Day. This time it took place in Parkland, Florida, which was ironically named Florida’s safest city in 2017.

People woke up and went to work or school like every other routine day. Little did we know that 17 students and staff would walk through the doors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that day and never come back out.

Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old terrorist, reportedly pulled out a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle and opened fire in the hallways and classrooms of the school.

Notice how I called him a terrorist because… well... that’s exactly what he is. A terrorist. None of this “orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past” bullshit.

If he had any other skin tone people wouldn’t even think twice about calling him anything else.

According to Florida statute, terrorism is defined as “a violent act or an act dangerous to human life which is a violation of the criminal laws of this state or the United States... and is intended to intimidate, injure, or coerce a civilian population”. So there you have it, no more excuses.

Since this shooting occurred, three out of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have taken place within the last five months.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, on average there have been five school shootings each month. FIVE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS EACH MONTH.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting took place in 2012, there have been at least 239 school shootings across the nation where 438 people were shot and 138 were killed. Yet our government officials can’t seem to accept the obvious problem at hand: guns.

Our own president couldn’t even admit that guns are a problem. Instead, he decided to focus on the fact that the shooter had mental health issues that weren’t reported to the authorities.

While poor mental health is also an important issue that needs attention, we can't use it to hide from the obvious.

Also, if I remember correctly, Mr. Trump, didn’t you just sign a bill in February 2017 making it easier for mentally ill people to buy a gun?

How many more innocent people need to die before we decide enough is enough? Literally, nothing is being done by Congress to put a stop to this gun violence and it is utterly absurd.

After Sandy Hook, President Obama tried to reinforce bans on assault weapons that were in place between 1994 and 2004, but Congress wouldn’t pass it again since the Columbine shooting in 1999 still managed to occur with the ban in place.

So you know, even though the number of mass shootings was reduced tremendously during the ban, one still happened so it’s only smart throw the whole ban away and have absolutely nothing in place to help!

Since the ban on assault weapons expired, the following 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have occurred:

April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, VA - Seung-Hui Cho opens fire on the Virginia Tech campus killing 32 people

April 3, 2009 - Binghamton, NY - Jiverly Wong opens fire on an immigrant community center killing 13 people and injuring 4

November 5, 2009 - Fort Hood, TX - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opens fire on an American military base killing 13 people and injuring 32

July 20, 2012 - Aurora, CO - James E. Holmes opens fire in a movie theater killing 24 people

December 14, 2012 - Newtown, CT - Adam Lanza opens fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 20 children and 6 adults

September 16, 2013 - Washington D.C. - Aaron Alexis opens fire in the Washington Navy Yard killing 12 people

December 2, 2015 - San Bernardino, CA - Syed Rizwan Farook and Tasheen Malik open fire at Inland Regional Center killing 14 people

June 12, 2016 - Orlando, FL - Omar Saddiqui Mateen opens fire inside of Pulse nightclub killing 49 people and injuring more than 50

October 1, 2017 - Las Vegas, NV - Stephen Paddock opens fire at a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500

November 5, 2017 - Sutherland Springs, TX - Devin Patrick Kelley opens fire on a small church killing 25 people and an unborn child and injuring 20

If you can look at this list and for some reason still think we don’t need stricter gun laws then you, my friend… you are part of the problem.

No offense (full offense actually), but children’s rights to feel safe and not have to worry about being murdered at school are more important than your right to own whatever type of gun you want.

The same goes for people attending a concert or church. These are all places that are meant to be a safe zone. Unless you’re serving in the military to protect our country, there is quite literally no reason at all why you need to own an assault weapon. It’s as simple as that.

When it comes to events like these, thoughts and prayers are always good but we can’t just pray and debate with our friends on social media and then forget about it later when nothing is done.

We need to stop falling into the same cycle over and over again.

We need change.

We need gun control.

We need it now.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter

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