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Michael Schur Thinks One Of His Shows Would Seem 'Insane' In The Trump Era

By Andrew Sanford | TV | May 21, 2024 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | May 21, 2024 |


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Trump spent most of his time in office weakening various departments. He put anti-environmentalists in charge of the EPA. He made a champion for private schools the Secretary of Education. His goal was to make the U.S. Government as useless as possible. It worked. The country’s lack of preparedness for COVID was placed at the feet of Trump, who disbanded the pandemic response unit.

The man was stripping the country for parts, not caring what the future held. All that mattered was lining his pockets (and the pockets of his friends and blackmailers). He did exactly what he said he wanted to and was being cheered on by his supporters, even if he was screwing them over at the same time. It was a bleak and disastrous chapter in American politics and would have given Leslie Knope a heart attack.

Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) was the director of a parks and recreation department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. She was idealistic and motivated by helping people. She used her position to make the lives of Pawnee residents better. She faced plenty of opposition but rarely broke her stride. She believed that the government should help its people. Her creator, Michael Schur, thinks that mentality would have been “insane” during Trump’s reign.

Schur recently sat down with the Daily Beast for an extensive interview. When asked about Leslie Knope’s legacy, he pointed out how she debuted during a more politically optimistic time. “We’ve had conversations occasionally about the show and about how it was a real time-and-place kind of deal,” Schur told the site. “It debuted right after Obama was elected, and it basically ran the length of his two terms. I don’t think it would have been the same kind of show if it had come before or after that specific era.”

Knope’s sticktuitiveness was not without reflection, even at the time of her debut. Schur mentioned how they didn’t want Leslie’s mission and position to seem like “wish-fullfilment.” He believes that there were challenges, “But we always tried, and I think succeeded—although I guess I shouldn’t be the judge of that—in showing that for a person with her set of beliefs, it’s not easy.”

Timing is everything. As Schur mentioned to The Daily Beast, “I’m very grateful that we got the chance to do that show in that moment, because I think that’s the only moment this show was really possible. If it had been 2016 and Trump had just been elected and we had tried to do the same show, it would have seemed insane.”

Parks And Recreation ended before the Trump Presidency. We never got to see Leslie Knope fume at his recklessness and uncaring administration. That is likely for the best. Still, as Schur points out, Trump was dangerous but not necessarily new. “But, you know, the themes of the show—the ways in which a person in politics who actually cared about making the world better was met with resistance from people who did not care at all about making the world better—that stuff was true before Trump, and it’ll be true after Trump is gone.”