But this was the year that Leslie Knope, the character Poehler plays on
In a year when an actual national election carved a hot burning trench through the media, unleashing its quadrennial storm of partisan pundits, who seem more unreliable with every news cycle, politics has been heavily present in fictional television as well:
But Leslie may be the least cynical character on television, so open and caring and full of hope that she is deaf to irony. A
You see a lot of emoting on television, much more than you see emotion. It's true that there's no lack of excitement, frustration, rage, desire, shame and triumph on display there, but the depiction of simple, overwhelming happiness or sadness is relatively rare. (It seems unfashionable, almost, or unseemly.)
But Leslie feels everything; when it comes to raw nerves there is only
Poehler's achievement is to resolve Leslie, in all her contradictions, into a familiar person: She's impulsive and conservative, girlish and womanly, childlike and parental. She is an improbable character living in an even less likely place, but Poehler makes you see her and care about her and care in turn about everything Leslie cares about.
We feel her deeply: Watching Leslie Knope, we are all like Leslie Knope.