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The Best Time Leslie Knope Broke Character On Parks & Recreation

NBC's comedy hit "Parks and Recreation" follows a group of officials in a small Indiana town whose ambitions are often outweighed by the difficulty of getting, well, anything done in the tangled web of government bureaucracy. The series ran for seven successful seasons and starred high-profile comedians and actors such as Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Retta, and Aziz Ansari, just to name a few. The primary star and heart of the show is Amy Poehler, who portrayed Leslie Knope.

Knope is the quintessential hopelessly optimistic civil servant who believes that governments can do good for their people, even if it's difficult. She's idealistic in the face of constant pushback and, more importantly for this article, one of the most delightfully manic characters on TV. We're talking about the kind of energy that could easily power the eastern seaboard for a few decades. You can imagine how hard it might be to earnestly maintain that kind of relentless, unyielding optimism, especially in a room stacked with professional comedians. Fortunately, you don't have to imagine it for too long, because thanks to some "Parks and Recreation" bloopers, we can see that first hand. 

Amy Poehler just can't keep a straight face when things get silly

Picking the best ever time that Amy Poehler broke character while playing Leslie Knope is no easy feat, but we have made our selection thanks to a blooper reel for Season 3 of "Parks and Recreation." The scene in question sees Leslie, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) dancing at a bar. Leslie and Ann are casually grooving but Traeger is, for lack of a better word, spasming. He proclaims, "This place is OUTSTANDING. Great call, Leslie Knope!" Lowe's typically enthusiastic line reading causes Poehler to absolutely lose it with laughter. The moment is even funnier because the blooper footage pulls back the curtain of TV magic and reveals that there is no actual music playing while the actors film this club scene. This is standard practice — music is added in post so that actor dialogue can be recorded cleanly without it. It's a smart tactic, sure, but makes you look at every single dancing sequence ever filmed with a new, very awkward, understanding.

And because it's hard picking just one, we do have a runner-up moment courtesy of a Season 4 blooper reel. In this scene, Leslie is talking to Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and asks Swanson to find an informant and "silence him." Stone-faced, Swanson reveals a knife and says, "With pleasure." Leslie immediately amends her first statement by saying, "Don't kill him, just make sure he can't talk anymore." Swanson replies, "Understood," as he puts away the knife and draws out a gun. He cocks it as he silently walks away, and Poehler bursts into a fit of understandable giggles.