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Parks & Rec & Women's Studies

by Christine Becker

In this episode, Parks and Rec employee Andy Dwyer decides to sample some community college courses, with encouragement from his wife April Ludgate and his boss Ron Swanson. Andy randomly selects Introduction to Women's Studies for one of his class visits, and both the class and the professor are depicted in a more nuanced way than is common for TV comedy, which usually presents academic feminism in a very strident way. The (highly attractive) professor offers some provocative comments, and the characters react in line with their typical characterizations: naive Andy is wowed, sullen April is taken with the dark elements of the Joan of Arc story, and libertarian (and twice-divorced) Ron Swanson finds common ground with the progressive argument against marriage. Women's Studies comes off as a compelling pursuit (albeit in a comedic context), rather than a political hangup or men-hating pursuit.

Parks and Recreation: Intro to Women's Studies class

In the "Smallest Park" episode of Parks and Recreation (#4.08, aired 11/17/2011), Andy, April, and Ron visit an Intro to Women's Studies class. This is a decidedly less strident image of academic feminism than you usually see on TV.

from Parks and Recreation (2011)
Creator: Written by Chelsea Peretti
Distributor: NBC
Posted by Christine Becker