Shattering Stereotypes

Week 1 Blog Post

The past few weeks I have been binge watching Parks and Recreation after a friend suggested the show to me, and I cannot help myself to write about it because it is one of the best sitcoms I have seen. parks-and-rec

Not only does every character on this show make me laugh hysterically, but I love how the show confronts political controversies. In a sense, Parks and Recreation is very blunt. The diversification of characters and social status of women challenge sitcom’s “norm.” These aspects of the show, however, are what catch my attention the most.

Character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is the perfect example of how this show shatters stereotypes. Rather than depicting women as inferior or as a housewife, as sitcom’s usually do, Leslie is a hardworking, determined women with the mindset that she will be the first female president of the United States. And although Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) is Leslie’s boss at the Parks and Recreation government office (suggesting superior over women), the show makes it clear that Leslie does most of the work and proves herself worthy of doing a man’s job. The humor of the show comes from the fact that Leslie is passionate about parks. Parks seem like a silly thing to be concerned about, so it took me a while to figure out whether to take Leslie seriously or as a joke. But while taking this class and watching Parks and Recreation more intently, it is clear that Leslie does have problems that draw connections to her gender; however, she represents something bigger: she is the main character of a very popular sitcom, and this allows her to confront and diminish sexist stereotypes. In my opinion, the big picture of this show is that Leslie is not bounded by her sex. She has authority in her office and she is respected as a good friend and hard-working women.

leslie knope.png

 “Still from Parks and Recreation, “Kaboom” (Season 2, Episode 6, 2009.)

–Jenna Romano

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5 Responses to Shattering Stereotypes

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I’m also a huge parks and rec fan! Leslie Knope is one of my favorite sitcom characters. I love how driven and passionate she is. Though her efforts are often so over the top in order to add humor, I think this show provides important messages to girls and women of all ages that they are powerful and can create change.
    -Valerie Medoff

  2. mediaphiles says:

    You saying you didn’t know whether to take Leslie seriously or as a joke is a great observation. You’ve been binge watching so I don’t know if you remember the first season very well, but the show underwent a big change between seasons 1 and 2. In season 1, the other people don’t respond well to her. They act like what she’s asking her to do is a burden. It made her seem incompetent and more of a joke. In season 2, everyone responds well and respect Leslie, even if she is a bit much at times. That created a change in how the audience perceived her as well. I also liked how you talked about Ron and Leslie, because it reminded me of the episode when Ron wins the Woman of the Year award instead of Leslie. The show is great for so many reasons, and I think the depiction of Leslie is one of the primary reasons why. – Max

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Parks and Rec is one of my favorite sitcoms as well. One of my favorite aspects about the show is that it takes place in a small town in Indiana. I’m from a small town in Indiana, so it makes certain aspects of the show very relatable. I agree that Leslie’s character shatters a stereotype. She’s very active in decision making and in making sure her opinions are heard. – Katie Thevenow

  4. marymdalton says:

    I need to start with season two and tear my way through the rest of the series!

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I have never seen the show Parks and Recreation, however, after reading this blog post I am really wanting to see an episode. Amy Poehler is one of my favorite female comedians and the structure and character dynamic of the entire show sounds very interesting and different. The more girl power the better!
    -Kendall Fischlein

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