In this episode, Leslie has to prove that she did not have an affair with a councilman and the office misses her when she has to lay low for the media frenzy.
When the first season aired, the writers were really harsh on Leslie. No one liked her and everything she touched turned to crap. It was irritating to watch.
This season though, they give Amy Poehler’s character more room to breathe, while focusing more on the antics of local government instead of romantic trysts. Plus, the dudes on the show are given a chance to redeem themselves. Her assistant Tom is less of an asshole, and Ron Swanson, her anti-government boss, actually turns out to be not so bad a guy.
While at a strip club, Ron says this:
“Strippers do nothing for me. I like a strong, salt of the Earth, self-possessed woman at the top of her field. Your Steffi Grafs, your Sheryl Swoopeses, but I will take a free breakfast buffet anytime, anyplace.”
This episode is most telling of the kind of hardships women go through in politics. Leslie has to drop trou to prove that she did not sleep with a sex-crazed councilman. It’s demoralizing that the councilman wasn’t put up to as much scrutiny as Leslie and basically given a pass for all his womanizing. Why does it have to be Leslie to prove she didn’t have an affair?
The most heartwarming bit of this episode is at the end when Leslie returns to the office. Everyone in the office had been teaming up to handle all of her duties and responsibilities. When she returns, you can see that they really appreciate what she does for the department, but most of all – they really do miss her.
Leslie Knope is my Television Feminist Hero.