There are not a lot of things about my home state of Indiana that I feel a sense of pride about. We are a red state, in the middle of the country who loves nascar. Our slogan is “The Crossroads of America” and I see that as, “People pass through but are smart and never stay”. I do not relate on a lot of levels with my fellow hoosiers. However, the NBC show Parks and Recreations which centers on a fictional town in Indiana so perfectly captures the spirit of many hoosiers and our parks department.
Where I am from in South Bend, there are small public parks and spaces everywhere. My sits across from one and there are two more in my small neighborhood alone. From Parkovash Park to Pokagon Park, they are everywhere. Some have swings and benches while others are just a green area in the middle of the “concrete jungle” of the bustling city streets of South Bend. Sometimes I actually find myself saying, “Why so many parks?”
Parks and Recreation is a cute comedy that combines a never back down attitude with the sad truth that the Indiana Parks Department is, well, the Indiana Parks Department. Each character is relatable for viewers and encapsulate the inner struggle of ever hoosier. That is the, I wish Indiana was doing better but get me the hell out of here, complex.
Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, is an endearingly hopeful and enthusiastic woman who cares deeply for her community but also dreams of one day being Commander in Chief. Just like many native South Bend residents, she carries huge pride for her home and never admits to the faults and limitations of her small town.
So thank you Parks and Recreation for letting me know that my weird complex with my home state is completely normal and that the coolest woman ever, Ms. Knope, understands.