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Leslie Knope
Parks and Recreation character
Leslie Knope.jpg
First appearance "Pilot"
Portrayed by Amy Poehler
Episode count 20
Gender Female
Date of birth 1975
Occupation Deputy Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks and Recreation
Family Marlene Knope (mother)
Significant other(s) Dave Sanderson

Leslie Knope is a fictional character in the NBC comedy-drama Parks and Recreation. She is portrayed by Amy Poehler.





Leslie is a "mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of [the fictional town] Pawnee, Indiana"[1] who hopes to advance her career and improve her town, while working towards her goal of becoming the first female President. She attended Indiana University and is a Hoosier athletics fan. Her and Mark Brendanawicz, a coworker of hers and reputable womanizer, hooked up leaving Leslie with romantic feelings towards him, although it meant nothing to Mark. Knope is a fan of Hillary Clinton (whom Amy Poehler spoofed during her tenure on Saturday Night Live), prominently displaying her official portrait as Secretary of State on the wall next to her door. In addition, she displays the photograph of Madeline Albright, who served as Secretary of State in the administration of Bill Clinton, as well as Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, Janet Reno, US Attorney General under Pres. Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, current Speaker of the House.

Season One

Initially, she is shown to carry romantic feelings for her co-worker Mark due to a romantic altercation with him several years before. She is also desperate to impress her mother Marlene, who is a well-known politician in the Pawnee government. At a public forum she meets Ann Perkins, who informs her about a gaping hole near her house that her boyfriend, Andy, fell into. Leslie takes on the project and quickly becomes friends with Ann.

Second Season

Knope seems to move on from her romantic interest in Mark and begins dating police officer Dave Sanderson (Louis C.K.). She also begins taking charge and gains a lot of confidence. Also more of her relationships with her coworkers is shown. Towards the end of the season Dave, who was enlisted in the US Army Reserve, was called into active duty in San Diego, where he will be doing custodial work. Dave asked Leslie to move with him to San Diego, and although she was considering it, she ultimately declined and they parted ways amicably.

Critical Reception

Season One

Despite poor reviews of the show one fairly consistent source of praise went to Saturday Night Live star Amy Poehler for her performance as Leslie Knope. Leslie has a bubbly personality and undying enthusiasm which is very much incongruent with her surroundings: a dull office with bored employees in a seemingly insignificant town. Tom Shales of Washington post prescribes that "Poehler's show unfortunately isn't worthy of her".[2] Daniel Carlson of the Hollywood Reporter also had praise for Poehler claiming that she "has the comic intelligence to carry a series like this one" and delivers a performance that is "awkward but not alienating" and "eager without being repelling".[1] However, several commentators said the naive and well-meaning Leslie Knope character too closely resembled The Office protagonist Michael Scott, a well-intentioned but dimwitted protagonist manager of a paper company sales office.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Season Two

James Poniewozik of Time magazine praised the development of the characters. He thought that the show has a "handle now" on the main character Leslie Knope, and does an "excellent job of finding things for its supporting characters". He also opined that the series is "living up to its potential now".[9] Commentators said the supporting cast was now working with better material and that Amy Poheler's character had improved and become less over-the-top and more human than in the first season.[10][11][3][12][13][14]


  1. ^ Press Tour Journal: Poehler series' premise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 January 2009.
  2. ^ Tom Shales - TV Preview: 'Parks and Rec': Poehler Express to Nowhere - Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Denise (2009-11-18). "Making bureaucracy work: How NBC's "Parks and Recreation" overcame bad buzz". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California). Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  4. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2009-04-09). ""Parks and Recreation" review - Sepinwall on TV". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  5. ^ Stasi, Linda (2009-04-09). "Amy Poehler quit "SNL" for "Parks and Recreation"". New York Post. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  6. ^ Tobias, Scott (2009-04-23). "Parks and Recreation: Season 1: Episode 3: "The Reporter"". The A.V. Club.,27100/. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  7. ^ Gay, Verne (2009-04-07). ""Parks and Recreation", starring Amy Poehler". Newsday.,0,422013.story. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  8. ^ Bianco, Robert (2009-04-08). ""Parks" is like a bad day at "The Office," even with likable Poehler". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  9. ^ "Now the Deluge: Office, Parks & Rec and Fringe Return". Time. September 21, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2009.  
  10. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2009-09-17). "Parks and Recreation: Interviewing co-creator Mike Schur". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  11. ^ Weiner, Jonah (2009-12-02). "You really should be watching NBC's Parks and Recreation". Slate. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  12. ^ Ausiello, Michael (2009-10-25). "Fall's best and worst: "Modern Family," "Parks and Recreation," "90210," "SNL," and more!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  13. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2009-11-04). "When did "Parks and Recreation" get so funny?". Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  14. ^ Poniewozik, James (2009-11-05). "So What's the Best Comedy on TV Right Now?". Time. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  


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