Thursday, February 16, 2012

Leslie Knope

Leslie Barbara Knope (ˈnoʊp/ nohp; born January 18, 1975) is a fictional character in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. She is portrayed by Amy Poehler. Poehler garnered two Emmy Award nominations for Best Lead Actress in Comedy Series for her role.

Leslie Knope was born in Eagleton, Indiana and has lived in Pawnee, Indiana since infancy. She was inspired to pursue a life of public service by the community programs she enjoyed as a child. While attending Pawnee North High School she served as Co-Vice President of the student body and participated in several student organizations including the Model United Nations, Debate Club, Mock Trial, Young Republicans, Young Democrats and Young Independents, which she founded. She graduated in the top five percent of her class and went to college at Indiana University Bloomington.

Currently Leslie is the Deputy Parks Director of Pawnee's parks and recreation department, a mid-level bureaucrat position. In her role as Deputy Director she serves on several committees, including the Equal Opportunity Committee, the Fun in the Sun Committee, the Clean Restroom Task Force, the Handicapped Restroom Task Force and the Task Force to Reduce the Number of Public Restrooms. She hopes to improve her town and to advance her career (possibly aiming to become the City Manager). She has also stated her ultimate goal of becoming the first female President of the United States Knope proudly displays in her office images of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Janet Reno, and Nancy Pelosi. Leslie also has a love for sweets, especially whipped cream, as she usually adds excessively large amounts to coffee, waffles and other food.

In the episode "Campaign Ad," Leslie laid out an extensive (if overlong) list of her political positions, both local and international. Following the show's characterization, it skewed liberal, including numerous public works projects and pro-government stances. It also included Pawnee-specific issues and her personal views on things (like candy):

* More dog parks
* Senior citizens rights
* Safe streets
* Safe sidewalks
* Better schools
* Lower taxes
* Better parks
* Better business climate
* Better Better Business Bureau
* Cleaner streets
* Improve greenways
* More snow plows
* Protecting Pawneeans
* Improving tourism
* More trash cans
* Energy-efficient street lights
* Westside Detoxification and Revitalization Project
* Repaving Grand Avenue
* More teachers
* Fewer libraries
* Improve intergovernmental agency communication
* Clean-up Barefoot Lake
* Passing Pawnee Jobs Bill P-129.4
* Playgrounds in every park
* Playgrounds in every schoolyard
* Playgrounds in ever residential block
* Clean energy
* One police officer for every 5 citizens
* One park ranger for every 10,000 racoons
* Resodding Hilltop Cemetery
* Start talking to Cuba again
* Emergency Evacuation Drills
* Plow For Charity
* Forming an Ad Hoc Sub-Committee Oversight Committee
* Challenging the norm
* Pawnee Corn Subsidies
* Finally Passing PR-61, formally recognizing South Korea
* Official peace treaty with the Wamapoke Tribe
* Four-way stops at every intersection
* Unionizing ice cream trucks
* Get Europe out of debt
* Free trade with Illinois
* Enact RRP – Raccoon Relocation Project
* Pawnee Community College tuition in exchange for 4 years of public service
* Doubling Pawnee Hospital’s emergency room nurse staff
* Legalize Korean
* Lower the obesity level
* Stop global terrorism
* Re-open the toucan exhibit at Pawnee Zoo
* Find Gabe the Toucan
* More community gardens
* Ordinance 11F: To Re-pave City Sidewalks
* Budget Reform
* Updated Technologies For Local Schools
* Better retirement benefits for city employees
* Edward Phillips Senior Center Remodeling
* Speed bumps in front of elementary schools
* Unemployment benefits
* Re-instating the Main St. Farmers Market
* No turtles as pets
* New uniforms for youth sports programs
* Free Public Wi-Fi
* Updated childcare facilities
* Shutting down the Child Left Behind program
* Handicap parking placards for the obese
* FREE PARKING EVERYWHERE
* Cleaner drinking water
* Regulate heights of trampolines
* Memorial for those lost in the trampoline “incident”
* Control the floods
* Funding for public art commission
* Fencing in correctional facilities
* New police patrol cars
* Funding overtime hours for police
* Rebuilding the PTA
* Prosecuting former PTA president Linda Tritle
* Profitable government organizations
* Shutting down underground shooting ranges
* Making sure city contracts employ local workers
* Providing more economic development grants and micro-loans to small businesses
* Foster partnerships with sister cities
* More buses to speed up morning commutes
* More streets to accommodate additional busses
* Require all city employees check and respond to email
* Working sewers
* More parades
* Grants for scientists to discover new forms of energy
* Leave a lasting impression on all visitors
* Challenge the norm
* Finish the statue of Burt Bacharach
* No more conflict diamonds
* Bulletproof glass everywhere
* Free cookies at every street corner
* One school for every student
* Require flattering mirrors in public restrooms
* Develop a municipal composting operation
* Enforce existing speeding and noise ordinances
* Upgrade existing parks
* Create an ant-graffiti, youth outreach program
* Free cake when it’s your birthday
* Reevaluate NAFTA
* Rickshaw Wednesdays
* Making it illegal to refuse a hug
* Make downtown more people-friendly
* Sell candy in government buildings to pay down the debt
* Get Pawnee a licensed pharmacy
* Better screening processes at local adoption agencies
* Finding homes for the adopted children of Day Labor Corp.
* Prop 6A: To Recognize All Five Food Groups
* Replacing all glass with plastic at Pawnee Psychiatric Clinic
* Curfew for minors at The Pawnee Mall
* Stop paying Sweetums the so-called “thank you for being here” tax
* Mini-golf renovations
* Subsidizing educational and eco-friendly businesses
* Removing Zorp from all written laws
* Reducing Federal Government Experiments in town to 10 per year
* Ordinance 8R: A Ghost Cannot Own/Inherit A Farm

Leslie Knope is extremely cheerful, ambitious, hard-working and optimistic. She is firmly committed to the belief that government should provide a service for its people, and regularly goes above and beyond for the benefits of Pawnee's residents - a belief that regularly clashes with her superior Ron Swanson, a staunch libertarian who feels all government should be privatized. Although somewhat naive at times, she is intelligent, well-read, and has good intentions, but is not always successful in executing her goals. She repeatedly tries to put a positive spin on failure, even to the point that she will occasionally distort the truth in her own view. For example, she does not get discouraged by angry residents who complain or yell during her public forums, but instead prefers to think of them as "people caring loudly at me". Many of her co-workers do not share her enthusiasm, but Leslie seems to command their respect or at least obedience. Her ambition occasionally annoys her colleagues and leads to ribbing against her, especially from her subordinate Tom Haverford, though Leslie is now safe from the office scapegoat position thanks to the presence of all-around punching bag Jerry. Leslie views herself as a budding political star in the style of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Condoleezza Rice. She has an outsized love for the waffles at a local diner and an untempered hatred for public libraries and the wealthy neighboring town of Eagleton--where Leslie found out, to her sheer horror, that she was actually born instead of Pawnee.

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