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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #385: April Ludgate-Dwyer

I get it. If you polled a thousand fans of Parks and Rec, nine hundred of them would list Ron Swanson as their favorite character. And man, what a thing he is. A lovable libertarian, which is a triumph in fiction writing all in itself. Maybe some folks will pick Amy Poehler's unsinkable, undeterred optimism machine, Leslie Knope. A few might like hype-whore Tom Haverford or straight-laced Ben Wyatt or proto-Star-Lord Andy Dwyer. Worthy choices. And I enjoyed them all. But for me, the character that drew my eye every time she was on the screen was Aubrey Plaza's grumpy and grumbling April Ludgate-Dwyer.

We came late to the phenomenon that was/is Parks and Rec. I think we tried it once of twice, but were unable to get past the clunky first season, with its "look, we're like The Office" mockumentary milieu and imprecise character development. But after a while the show finds its legs, becoming hilarious and iconic - and Plaza's acerbic April is the reluctant heart of the ensemble effort. Man, she wishes she wasn't. It doesn't hurt that April/Aubrey is sexy as all get-out even while she rolls her eyes and ignores her job and convinces us that apathy is just another word for charisma. Johnny Karate, you're a lucky man.

We all know that Plaza (like Pratt) rocketed to superstardom after (or while) this show was at its height. And yeah, she's gone on to bigger things. But to me she'll always be the sarcastic and sallow intern in Pawnee's bureaucracy. And you know what? Her heart was bigger and more full than she ever let on. And man, if that's not an apt allegory for civil service, I don't know what is.


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