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The Big Question Parks And Recreation Fans Have About Leslie's Mother

Leslie Knope's (Amy Poehler) unbridled conviction and devotion to her job at the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana took her character to great heights in "Parks and Recreation." It also made her an immensely lovable television heroine. But the brilliance of "Parks and Recreation" extends beyond Leslie's character and to the show's wholesome ensemble. From Ron Swanson's (Nick Offerman) gruff life lessons to Tom Haverford's (Aziz Ansari) half-baked schemes and business ideas, each of the supporting characters is as hilarious as they are endearing.

Apart from the regular cast, the show also boasted a great roster of recurring players who made the fictional town of Pawnee come alive. Who can forget Swansons's ex-wives Tammy I (Patricia Clarkson) and Tammy II (Megan Mullaly), or Leslie's mayoral opponent Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd). Another memorable recurring character on the show was Marlene Griggs-Knope, Leslie's mother.

Marlene, played by Pamela Reed, was introduced in the first season of the show as a veteran member of Pawnee's local government. Having spent decades in city hall while raising her only daughter alone, Marlene became Leslie's idol in many ways. Their relationship is still a complicated one, though, as Marlene's ruthlessness in politics and merciless attitude stand in stark contrast to sensitive and sympathetic Leslie.

The clashing dynamic between the mother and daughter made for juicy storylines in the initial seasons, but "Parks and Recreation" fans could never understand one particular detail about Marlene Griggs-Knope's arc.

Some fans are upset that Leslie's mother was never seen after Season 5

Fans of "Parks and Recreation" will likely fondly remember the "Galentine's Day" episode, which featured Leslie trying to reunite her mother with a former lover. Or, how about "The Bubble," the episode where Marlene first meets and then hits on Leslie's boyfriend Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott). Her overarching presence in the initial seasons left a Marlene-shaped hole in the later ones when her role in the series was reduced to the occasional reference. Marlene's last appearance was at Ben and Leslie's engagement party in the Season 5 episode "Ben's Parents." The fact that Marlene was never seen on the show after that left many "Parks and Recreation" fans puzzled.

On a Reddit thread, u/OvernightSiren posted, "S1 sets her up as a pretty big force in Pawnee and alluded to some friction between her and Ron which seemed like something they might explore in later seasons. Then from S2 onward she's mentioned/appears much less."

Meanwhile, on another thread, a now-deleted Reddit account said, "I'm upset that they didn't revisit her even shortly in S7. She was one of my favorites." But u/get-the-net went ahead to answer the question about Marlene's disappearance by quoting from the show's creator Mike Schur's interview with Uproxx. There, he explained that Marlene's presence waned on the series because "as the show went on, Leslie's actual life became more and more fleshed-out, and there was less of a need for delving into her origin story."

In the end, it appears that Marlene's disappearance from the show was a creative decision.