How Leslie Knope's evolution saved 'Parks and Recreation'

KnopeI have made it very clear, in my reviews of the series as well as other news articles that I have posted, that I love NBC's Parks and Recreation. It is probably my favorite show on television today and I believe it provides one of the best ratios of good to bad moments of any show out there.

It was not always that way, though. The first season of the show was a little rough - I always tells people who are giving the series a chance they need to watch a few episodes of the second season before they decide if it is for them or not. A big reason why the first season struggled was because of Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler). The show's creative team missed the target a bit initially with Ms. Knope - something they admit.

"We had originally written her character as kind of deluded, but [Amy’s] very aware, very hip," said series co-creator Greg Daniels. "By Season 2, the character had a lot more of her personality in it."

Even Poehler admits that the first season had issues.

"Well, our first six episodes were basically a pilot. We shot them all at once. Our Season 1 was six episodes. So, everyone is like, 'I didn't like Season 1,'" Poehler said. "And I'm like, 'Well, it was six episodes and we were trying to work it out.'" She added, "Yeah, there's often a little bit of growing pains. Although, I'm frankly very proud of those episodes."

For Daniels, the turning point where Knope started to become the great character she is today is the second season's premiere episode, "Pawnee Zoo."

"I think about the episode where she was trying to get publicity for the zoo with a penguin wedding, but then the penguins were both gay, and she got into trouble with the community and she went to the clubs to get the support of the gay community," he said. "And you saw that this isn’t Amy doing Hillary Clinton. It’s what Amy Poehler would be like in small-town government."

What do you think? Did they make the right choice in adjusting Knope?

- Amy Poehler
- Parks and Recreation

Written by: Hamatosan
Feb 12th, 2013, 12:55 pm

Images courtesy of NBC


Message Posted On Feb 18th, 2013, 10:13 am
You are totally right that this show took a little while to find its groove, but all that work was worth it! I always tell all my friends and coworkers around my office at DISH the same advice that you gave, which is to watch a few episodes of a later season to get a feel for the show. When I first started watching, it definitely took me a few episodes to start loving Leslie and the rest of Pawnee. I’m just glad that I was able to give the show a few chances to grab my attention, since my DISH Hopper DVR automatically records Parks and everything else on NBC’s primetime lineup. Without this nifty feature, I couldn’t even tell you how many great shows like Parks that I’d be missing out on!

Message Posted On Feb 13th, 2013, 5:07 am
Yeah, my thoughts exactly after i seen pilot - she's delusional. Leslie's character was caricature like Michael Scott in The Office - over-the-top clueless grandiose buffoon. Kind of like Chris Pratt's character today with his endless stream of stupid antics. Actually, i think that character's evolution is Parks and Recs trademark at the moment. They all started as people with quirks so visible, that they couldn't control them, but along the road this quirks somewhere mitigated. Leslie, Chris, Ron, April, Tom where batshit crazy at some point all the time, but now they look crazy only half of the time. And only Chris open about having shrink.
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