Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mike Schur suggests Leslie Knope's heart is now torn between Biden and Elizabeth Warren

Photo: Peter Kramer (Getty Images)

The intersection between TV comedy and real-world politics is often a strange and troubling one, whether it’s Donald Trump sloughing his way across the stage of Saturday Night Live in 2015, the Murphy Brown reboot exciting pretty much nobody by dumping a Hilary Clinton cameo into America’s disinterested lap in 2018, or any of a million late-night talk appearances by our prospective ruling class. Few shows leaned as hard into a political zeitgeist, though, as Parks And Recreation, a series that embodied a kind of eternal moment of Obama-era optimism. (Even if said good feelings didn’t end up being nearly as eternal as any of us might have hoped.) Nowhere was that ethos clearer than in hero Leslie Knope’s cheerful semi-sexual obsession with then-vice president Joe Biden, who even went so far as to film a couple of cameos for the show.

Of course, Biden’s transformation from National Uncle/living Onion headline into actual, possible president has been a somewhat rocky one for a lot of folks, as people have been forced to look past the memes and remember things like his treatment of Anita Hill, or his support for many of Obama’s more questionable policies, or, really, his whole brand of dead-center Democratic politics. Which raises a question—at least, among those of us who’ve already allowed pop culture to well and truly warp our brains: Would Leslie Knope still vote for the Joe Biden of today?

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To address this question, Buzzfeed talked to one of the people who invented Leslie (and, thus her Biden obsession) in the first place, Parks And Rec co-creator Mike Schur. And while Schur refused to give a definitive answer about what Amy Poehler’s character’s primary ballot might look like right now, he did confirm that Mr. Biden is no longer the only figure with a hold on her heart. While acknowledging that there’s a “roll-up-your-shirtsleeves, fight-for-people kind of attitude” that Biden embodies that would still appeal to everyone’s favorite Pawnee public servant, he noted that there’s another candidate she might be getting overtly enthusiastic for, too: “I also think that Elizabeth Warren would be setting Leslie Knope’s hair on fire right now.”

Schur went on to outline all the things Warren and Knope have in common, including their love of a good binder. “She loved a good plan and she loves a good road map,” Schur pointed out. “If Leslie Knope ever did run for president, which we left sort of ambiguous in the show, ‘I’ve got a plan for that’ would totally have been her slogan. That’s what she was all about.” 

And while we here at The A.V. Club should probably remind you that allowing fictional persons and TV personalities to dictate your own personal political views is kind of how we got into our current mess in the first place, let’s be honest: If our various televisual obsessions can’t teach us something about how the world actually works, what’s even the point of having a world in the first place, right?

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