With just hours to go before the (critically praised) season premiere of Parks and Recreation, we culled together a mix to honor easily one of the most likable characters on television, Ms. Leslie Knope. Go forth, homegirl, and lead Pawnee, Indiana into a comfortably middling, standard-achieving future. We're all rooting for you.
So many aspects of Leslie's endearing personality can be boiled down to the fact that she's just a genuinely happy person, and also very shiny. (Pearly white teeth, a cheery glow, and just look at that hair!) Few songs spill as much sunshine than R.E.M.'s 1991 hit single, which we like to think soundtracked the many sober, student-government servicing nights of Leslie's early college days. Somewhere out there, right now, she and her troop of Pawnee Goddesses are painting the same mural from the video onto an ugly, cracked wall, making the world a brighter place.
The biggest love of her life—her reason for being, maybe even with a slight edge over Ben Wyatt—is the great state of Indiana. When The Samples' Sean Kelly toured through Bloomington last year, you better believe she lifted a BIC lighter high above her head during this song, fire hazards be damned. Things got crazy.
She fights for Pawnee, the best town in the great state of Indiana, with dogged resilience. Sometimes that can be annoying. Annoying, but admirable.
So there is one kinda bad thing about Pawnee, and that is it's overrun with rabid raccoons. We suggest Leslie listens to a back-country ballad about broken dreams in effort of humanizing her nemesis.
Leslie is quick to say that she's little without her friends. In last season's happy tearjerker of a finale, she credits them for her City Council victory, making Joe Cocker's gravelled classic a good fit here. Plus, we like to think that after a long day fighting for the common good, she unwinds by watching The Wonder Years, her heart wilting to the notes of its opening credits and what they mean to the people of Anytown, USA.
But also waffles. Leslie is little without waffles. Though it seems extremely doubtful that Northwest emo stalwarts wrote this song about the whipped creamed breakfast delicacies at J.J.'s diner, we figured Leslie would appreciate the gesture of including it here.
She does not like the Isaac Brock who was fast and loose, a self-professed atheist struggling to find enough reasons to get out of bed in the morning. But she does like the Isaac Brock who took a peculiar turn into a full-fledged optimist in 2004 and wrote "Float On."
It only seems right to end the playlist with the campaign song that helped secure Leslie's win for City Council. We hope it brings her the best of luck in the new season, while serving as a reminder of how she got here.