My Love Letter To Parks and Recreation

Photo: Elle Magazine

“Amy Poehler is a firecracker. She has an explosive amount of energy and just lights up a room. She is an inspiration to young women to get into comedy. And she can fly.” -Tina Fey

Amy Poehler is my comedy hero. A star player on the team that restored Saturday Night Live to water-cooler dominance in 2008 (even Hillary Clinton adored her Hillary Clinton impression), she left the show, had a baby boy and emerged in 2009 as the star and producer of NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

Photo: TV Guide

Amy’s alter ego on Parks is Leslie Knope, the overly ambitious deputy parks director of fictional Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie is a character who exudes all the qualities Ms. Poehler most loves to play. “She’s naïve and narcissistic, completely deluded and completely out of touch with reality.” Leslie is blessed with a kind of social tone-deafness that turns out to be more professionally useful than you might expect.

Where her co-workers see the parks department as a dead-end job (her boss would prefer to abolish all government and go with a business model like the one they use at Chuck E. Cheese) or an easy gig, Leslie sees it as the steppingstone to a career in national politics.

“Government isn’t just a boy’s club anymore,” she boasts. “Women are everywhere. It’s a good time to be a woman in politics: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, me, Nancy Pelosi.”

“When Obama says, ‘Okay, America, let’s get to work!’ Leslie is the one who responds, ‘Great! I have all these big ideas!’ ” Poehler says. “Government shows are usually about people making huge decisions super quickly—those big walk-and-talk shots down the halls of the White House. We wanted to explore the small ways in which people try to make a difference…and fail.”

I was late to the party on this one,  and had to catch up via DVD but this show is getting funnier with each episode and has really hit its stride now, in my opinion. The focus of the show has slowly changed. Leslie Knope has softened. The limp romance between Mark (Paul Schneider) and Ann (Rashida Jones) moved to the background. The true lunatic weirdness of the show—from Chris Pratt’s pit-dwelling, shoe-shining, Deal Or No Deal-auditioning Andy to Ron Swanson’s (Nick Offerman) love of brown haired ladies and breakfast food—started to emerge. The show has got a deep bench.

Aziz Ansari as Tom,  is always good for a one-liner. His advice to Mark on dealing with Ann’s ex-boyfriend trying to get her back was to take the high road: “I have never taken the high road. But I tell other people to, because then there’s more room for me on the low road.” Aubrey Plaza is my newest comedy girl crush.  Her witty, dry sarcasm absolutely kills me.  Guest stars like LouisCK, Megan Mullally, Fred Armisen and recently, Andy Samberg have added some extra fun to the mix. And of course there’s little Amy Poehler. She has so many colours and she’s funny in all of them. In the acting world it’s called range — in the comedy world it’s called delightful smorgasbord. Amy is funny because she doesn’t care what you think, but she does want to make you laugh. It’s a complicated and important combination.

Parks and Recreation is absurd, hilarious, packed with polished jokes, unexpected turns and boasts real heart.  Simply put, it’s one of the funniest shows on television right now. Start watching. Plus, I’m sure it’ll  be way less annoying when I quote lines from the show if you watch it watch it too.

Squeeze The Day!

Orange Day is back for 2010, kids …and Union Gospel Mission needs your help!

Via UGM:

For the week leading up to April 2, you can transform Vancouver’s streets by having fun, helping the homeless community and sharing your adventures online.

Orange Day started because Union Gospel Mission has always given out oranges at their annual Easter dinner. They’d  serve over 3,000 scrumptious ham dinners to  hungry, hurting, homeless guests, and at the end of it, everybody gets an orange. It’s like saying: take hope home with you. You can start over. You can get off the street. You can reconnect with your family. You can peel back your addictions and discover a fresh life awaiting through recovery. We have programs that can help you achieve all of these things.

The Orange Day Campaign is about experiencing all the free fun our city has to offer, and donating whatever you would have spent on a day/night out to UGM to help make the lives of people living in need in our city better.

Here’s the deal:

Step 1: Have fun for free. Have a blast enjoying Vancouver’s free attractions.

Step 2: Donate what you WOULD have spent to UGM: instead of spending $16 at the movies, donate it to UGM to supply oranges. Planning on spending $70 on a concert with a friend? Think about giving someone a new life through recovery.

Step 3: Blog about what you did. Take photos, make a video, Tweet about it: tell the whole city how you’re contributing to UGM, the community’s cause. We’ll collect it all at ugm.ca to show everybody the awesomeness of our city’s people.

What is UGM going to do with the money? Glad you asked: giving people oranges, dinners, addictions counselling, job training, housing, and partnering with them to build new lives.

The Orange Day Campaign starts March 27. Please help make this year’s campaign another successful one.

View photos from last year’s amazing Orange Day right here.

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Today is my dear friend Melissa’s birthday. Mel is a constant inspiration, a smart, beautiful, fashionable, ambitious, creative, imaginative, funny, kind hearted, warm, loyal friend.

I used to look forward to catching up with her when I travelled to Saskatoon and when she’d come home to visit her family and friends in BC…but now that she lives here, I can’t imagine my Vancouver life (or my life in general) without her. In between shopping sprees, brunches, afternoon high tea and fab nights out with tasty eats and cocktails, we text, e-mail, Facebook message, tweet and comment on each other’s blogs sometimes multiple times a day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am ridiculously lucky to call her my friend. And I truly, truly hope that this year brings more to her life than she could have imagined.

I can’t wait to pop some bubbly with you when I get back, Mel!

British Beauty

Today I’m giving fashion praise to London girl-about-town Fearne Cotton. She’s gorgeous, edgy and as cool as her dream job (and mine) at BBC Radio 1.

Often spotted in Office brogues, swinging a Mulberry tote, flirting in Moschino Cheap and Chic dresses and donning off-set vintage trilbies – Fearne Cotton deserves a round of applause for her nonchalant and quintessentially British style identity.

She’s made it okay to wear rock T-shirts to work, to pair lady-like dresses with black nail polish and chunky biker rings, and to swap heels for Converse whilst out-and-about. She’s my current high-street-with-a-splash-of-designer style heroine. I love her. I want to fly to London just so that she can take me shopping.

Photos: Zimbio