Right and Wrong on Leslie and Ron

I probably shouldn’t bother, since this is clearly an example of #slatepitches hard at work but this piece on Parks & Recreation that compared Ron and Leslie as the conservative “dad” and liberal “mom” of the show was pretty annoying.

Juliet Lapidos writes:

The real flaw in Leslie’s character is not her pride, but her offhanded, sometimes cruelly demanding treatment of the people she knows well. Because she cannot generate a post-festival idea, she requires her co-workers to accompany her on a camping trip for a brainstorming session, hardly noticing that they would rather spend their off-hours otherwise. More dramatically, when no one submits a feasible proposal, Leslie acts the tyrant: “What we need to do is just keep working and just work again more. … You’re not going anywhere. No one’s going’s anywhere; no one’s sleeping.” Leslie’s friends believe that her goals are admirable, so they don’t call her out on the fact that she’s taking advantage of their good will. But that’s exactly what she’s doing. And this is not an isolated incident. Examples abound of Leslie blithely taking her friends for granted in pursuit of the public good.

She follows up with one example: the all-night telethon Leslie conscripted everyone into. But Lapidos fails to mention that the reason no one wanted to work all night in the woods was because they believed Leslie would come up with the best idea. And she ignores how Leslie ends up eating humble pie.

Contrast with her glowing description of Ron Swanson:

He gives Leslie a wide berth to do what she pleases even though he disagrees with her politics, and he always supports her. When he learns that state auditors plan to fire her, for instance, he offers up his own job instead. He’s also an excellent judge of character, recognizing that Leslie’s boyfriend Justin (Justin Theroux) is a “tourist” who cares primarily about gathering outrageous stories. And he’s attuned to the emotional states of the people around him, filling the role of office parent, as when he advises April and Andy (Chris Pratt) about their relationship. (See especially the episodes “94 Meetings,” in which Ron visits April at her parents’ house and makes clear that Andy cares for her, and “Media Blitz,” in which he convinces April not to string Andy along.)

These personality sketches are rough, and so incomplete—Leslie can be nice, Ron can be mean, etc.

It’s nice that she acknowledges her sketches are rough and incomplete — but what about the glaring omission that the reason why Ron (who is wonderful, don’t get me wrong) is able to spend time building canoes and fixing April and Chris’ relationship because Leslie does all of the work in the office?

Alyssa disagrees with Lapidos’s critique of their political philosophies, writing:

But even though Leslie and Ron represent opposing visions of government, there’s something odd about Lapidos’s argument that their perspectives are actually competitive. Ron may be right about the fact that beef burgers beat schmancy turkey burgers any day, but he’s not really right about anything else.

Well, he’s right about one other thing:

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1 Comment

Filed under TV

One response to “Right and Wrong on Leslie and Ron

  1. The article sounds like it was written from someone who only started watching Parks & Recreation this season. Season two had a few episodes that emphasized the work dynamic between Ron and Leslie, like when he received the women’s award for all her work.

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