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April Ludgate is an Asshole

29 Sep

I love Parks and Recreation. It’s one of the best comedies on television, and even if dare I say it may have entered a period of slight decline (Tom and Ann dating reeks of running out of ideas) it’s still great.  So this comes from a place of love, but I have a qualm with the program (well, a couple of qualms, but others can wait for later).

April Ludgate is a complete and utter asshole.  You know, I tolerated it for some time.  I don’t mind her being lazy; I can understand that.  I don’t mind her being cynical and pessimistic and disliking people in general; all understandable.  But what just crosses over the line is she’s out and out mean, and for no reason.  Not like busting someone’s chops, or having a good laugh, but like a serious jerk who no one would want to hang around.  She’s actually nice to Andy, and I understand why Ron would like her, but that’s it.

She’s always been pretty mean to people, and particularly Ann, and I was willing to empathize with that, even though it was completely unnecessary and uncalled for, because of the Andy situation.  What crossed the line for me was when she, at a party, at her, Andy, and Ben’s place, threw Chris’s car keys in the garbage.  This is not fucking funny or okay.  This is they keys to his fucking car.  Taking someone’s car keys for any reason other than he or she drank too much is totally unacceptable, but if she took them, let him look for them for a minute, and then gave them to him, I’d grant her some leeway, as maybe a good laugh.  But, no she throws them out.  How the fuck is he going to get home?  So basically he’s stuck with no keys, can’t get into his car and home, thinks he lost them, which might be the worst part of all, and has to call a locksmith, which costs money, to get back in, all because April thought it was fucking funny.  I’m not saying she has to like Chris.  But that’s more than just a mean comment or a snide remark, that’s an asshole-ish action.

An even worse and more line-crossing action occurs in the most recent episode, the second of the fifth season (“Soda Tax”). Ben was nice enough to bring April along with him to work for him in Washington D.C.  No one made her go, she had a job in Pawnee, and she absolutely didn’t have to accompany him.  There was no pressure on her to go; it was completely her choice.  It was nothing but an extremely generous gesture from Ben who thought she might enjoy something in a busier city which could be more intellectually engaging, which again, I point out, she could have easily turned down at no cost.

Ben realizes that his college interns don’t respect him, and unfortunately, it’s largely out of his control because they’re well connected.  What prompts this realization is partly their shoddy work product, but also a caricature of Ben with a stick up his ass posted on the wall of the office.  Ben is naturally appalled by this totally uncool picture and tries to bond with the well-connected ringleader intern to curry his good favor.  Eventually he gives up trying to be liked after seeing a second caricature, even after he worked so hard to be cool.  Ben tells the intern to just do his work, and please stop making caricatures.  Unfortunately, it turns out that the intern didn’t draw the caricatures at all.  April did.  This reveal comes right after Ben explains that April is not, as is commonly believed in the office, his daughter, but rather his friend.  Some friend.

Yes, April, who Ben did a great favor to by taking along to Washington .  Now it’s bad enough that she gives absolutely no effort and is of no help at all to Ben in DC, even constantly giving him guff.  But oh no, doing nothing is not enough to fuck over Ben, who is desperate to succeed in his dream job and is working really hard.  No, she has to actively sabotage him, making his entire work environment poisonous and stabbing him directly in the back.  It’s bad enough to be unnecessarily and unprofessionally lampooned by employees, but by one you brought with you who is supposed to be your ally and who you consider your friend.  That’s pretty unforgivable.

And then at the end, she all of a sudden agrees to give 15% and is helpful, using her powers for good to try to intimidate the unruly intern and that’s supposed to fucking make up for it.  I’m sorry.  Too fucking late. Ben may forgive her just like that, but I don’t.

It’s just so crazily mean spirited.  Chris, at least, and I’m not defending the stealing of keys, but he can be annoying.  Ben has never been anything but kind and helpful.  You cross Adam Scott, you cross me.  That’s just the way it is.

Again, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt – her laziness and bad attitude, and her general dislike of people, I’m plenty willing to tolerate.  She still has lots of funny moments.  But it’s gone too far and there’s basically only one inescapable conclusion, when you try to actively sabotage someone who has been nothing but generous towards you.  April Ludgate is an asshole.