Nerd Girls Save The World: 17 Of Pop Culture’s Greatest Female Geeks

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Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) in Parks and Recreation, Screencap via NBC

10. Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)

If earnest nerdery is your jam, then Leslie Knope is your girl. Despite working against the (sometimes) humorously backward government of Pawnee, Indiana, Leslie (Amy Poehler) remains positive. Sure, she occasionally descends into brief despair and indulges in a waffle or two (or five), but she always comes out on top. That kind of energy and cheer in the face of what feels like overwhelming odds is something we could all use right now.

Parks and Recreation is especially satisfying because it doesn’t depend on cheap shots or stereotypes for its humor. Yes, Leslie is gung-ho and an outspoken feminist, but the show never really makes fun of her for it. Ultimately, it celebrates what makes Leslie a successful and admirable local politician.

Some people might get distracted by Leslie’s partner, Ben Wyatt. After all, he seems to be the more classic nerd of the two. He’s bought a ridiculous Batman suit, gets overly excited about spreadsheets, and once invented an elaborate tabletop game called The Cones of Dunshire.

Leslie, though, is an unabashed politics nerd. Her office is filled with pictures of high-achieving women, including Hillary Clinton, Sally Ride, and Janet Reno. Joe Biden and Michelle Obama both make cameos on the show and Leslie is nearly struck dumb by the force of her admiration. I suspect many of us here would feel the same.