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The Wild Parks And Recreation Theory That Explains Everything About Leslie Knope

If you were even a casual fan of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," you know at least a few things about the one-woman wonder that is Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). You know, for instance, that Leslie's type-A personality bleeds into everything about her, be it her dogged determination to make Pawnee, Indiana the best darn town in the whole state, the seemingly inexhaustible effort she puts into her friendships and relationships, or her generally unbreakable enthusiasm and refusal to be deterred by even the most insurmountable odds. From a character standpoint, it's all rather endearing and admirable. From a logistical standpoint, it occasionally stretches credulity. 

A few years ago, a fan on the series' subreddit came up with an intriguing explanation for how Poehler's inspiring character is able to juggle and manage so much responsibility and so many burdens — be they self-appointed or real — and to be honest, it makes a whole lot of sense. What began as a one-liner dropped by Aubrey Plaza's deadpan April gradually evolved into a substantial hypothesis about Leslie's finances. Reddit user u/theblackduck writes, "In Season 6...April says to Leslie that she doesn't think that Ben is right for her and is only after her money. At first I thought this was just April being April but as I thought about it, it kind of made sense." 

Fans think Leslie Knope might be secretly wealthy

The user went on to list their compelling evidence, beginning with the fact that Leslie's position as a government employee means she probably takes in "around $53,000 a year" (a number the poster took from a pay scale website). It's certainly not nothing, but given all that Leslie's able to finance, it does bring up some questions. The user pointed out that Leslie "buys and/or makes gifts for a lot of people for seemingly insignificant events," (how could we forget the life-size replica of the Iron Throne she had commissioned in Season 6), that "she paid for the Recreation center classes to stay on" in Season 2, and that "she paid for at least April's trip to London," as well as "an elaborate trip for Ron that took him to Scotland."

Sure, Leslie hand-crafts a lot of her most meaningful gifts, but the materials and wrapping alone would set her back a pretty penny, and she certainly doesn't skimp on the quality, quantity, or extreme frequency of her gift-giving. What's more, as the fan pointed out, Leslie likely funded the filling of the pit for Ann (Rashida Jones) on her own. "Filling the pit would cost $35,000," they wrote, and after Leslie "tried all the bureaucratic channels to get funded for that project and failed," she ultimately "hired someone to just fill it in instead."

Lest we forget, Leslie Knope is technically from Eagleton

In addition to her infinite array of charitable deeds, Leslie managed to run "a successful political campaign against the heir to the Sweetums fortune." Although Leslie relied on donations of both money and time, it's unlikely she'd be able to hold her own against such a wealthy candidate if she didn't have a fair amount of her own savings. Other fans on the thread built on the original poster's theory, with u/kablarkin pointing out that Leslie's "house seems really big and nice for a single person on that salary," and another fan adding that she spent "over 1000 dollars one year at JJ's on waffles alone..." (via Reddit). 

Of course, not everyone was convinced. A few pointed out that Ben (Adam Scott) references the couple emptying their savings on their trip to Paris, and that he repeatedly stresses out over how they'll make ends meet while raising three children. That said, as u/danny_fiasco argued, "savings are different than investments...if Leslie has some CD's, or money market accounts, and uses a Roth IRA, instead of, or in addition to her [government] 401k, at her age, if she saved at a high rate, (she) could be worth several hundred thousand dollars, or even the low millions if she was very ambitious."

Whether Leslie Knope is rich, extremely good at investing money, or in a whole lot of debt, we may never know, but a since-deleted comment on Reddit certainly appears to answer the question once and for all: "Of course she's wealthy," the user wrote — "She's an Eagletonion."