I’ve made this argument before, but I am ready and willing to make it again: someone please give Amy Poehler an award for being the amazing, hilarious, wonderful comedic actress who simulatenously warms our hearts and sends us into uncontrollable giggle fits week in and week out on Parks and Recreation. In September, Poehler lost out on an Emmy to the hilarious Melissa McCarthy, and while McCarthy has certainly got the skills to merit an award, I don’t think Mike and Molly is the best indicator. The award should have gone to Poehler, which is why, oh Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I thank you for nominating the blonde entertainer for Best Actress in a TV Comedy and I beg of you, please, please, don’t let the nomination go to waste. Right the Emmys’ wrong. Give Amy Poehler and golden statuette as a thank you for the hours of goofy grins and gleeful snickering she’s provided us throughout 2011.
As Leslie Knope, Poehler participates in a comedic tradition that’s becoming a little more endemic to NBC’s lineup: the true comedienne. She, along with women like 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and SNL’s Kristen Wiig, are giving the fourth place network a bit of an M.O. for employing very, very funny ladies trained in the unpredictable, hair-brained laws of comedy. Like the queenly Fey before her, Poehler is a comedian’s sitcom star and that is a beautiful, delicious notion deserving of some Golden appreciation.
And while Poehler’s Knope may have started as a female, small town employee version of The Office’s Michael Scott, the show’s writers quickly learned (okay, by season two they learned) that Lady Scott wasn’t going to cut it. As Parks progressed, so did Knope and instead of some overzealous half-idiot version of Steve Carrell’s most famous character, we find a woman who, while still admirably overzealous, is truly passionate about her town, her job, and her friends, and who’s just about the best government employee who ever graced a Parks Department with her presence. Poehler’s delivery of Knope’s unrelenting sweetness and ardent dedication to her town and her friends is more delightful than a mug of hot cider on a snow day. She’s a perscription for instant happiness: an effective cure for the Thursday night blues. And while she’s a little nuts (which is part of her charm and a testament to Poehler’s talent), she’s our guide through this strange little universe that is the Pawnee, Indiana local government and there’s no one better to follow.
Not only does Poehler bring so much adorable energy to her public servant character that it could almost give you cavities, but she does it while making audiences laugh so hard they just might teeter out of their easy chairs. She’s accomplishing the ultimate goal as a lead in a comedy series: you can’t help but love her and you find it hard to breathe when she’s onscreen thanks to uncontrollable convulsions propelled by laughter. A woman who can do that to her audience on a weekly basis as consistently as Poehler does is a woman who deserves an Emmy, plain and simple, but since that ship has sailed, I can settle for a Golden Globe.
Are you an Amy Poehler fan? Do you think she deserves the award? If not, who should win instead? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter (@KelseaStahler).