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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Tom's South Asian background is the subject of much japery, and even Leslie can't seem to get it through her head that he's a US-born citizen. But no one ever breathes a word about Donna or Ann being black.
    • This would now seem to be The Artifact of the earlier seasons as Leslie developed into a character who wouldn't make insensitive "Michael Scott"-type remarks about race.
  • Affably Evil: Jennifer Barkley. In another life she'd be Leslie's best friend, too bad she's the merciless campaign manager for Bobby Newport.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Pawnee's past history plays out this way. For instance, it's not really funny that Pawnee had the motto during World War II of Welcome German Soldiers. However, the fact that later mottoes include Welcome Vietnamese Soldiers and Welcome Taliban Soldiers makes it hilarious.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Has there ever been a television moment more triumphant than the Harvest Festival montage set to Tom Petty's "American Girl?"
  • Did Not Do the Research/They Just Didn't Care: Or something like that, regarding Indiana election law. The City Council election appears to be non-partisan, which is common for local elections in most states...but Indiana isn't one of them. All municipal elections in Indiana are partisan.
  • Ear Worm: The theme music. It makes babies happy.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Season 2 is generally considered better than the first season. Ann and Andy's relationship is over and the plotlines expand beyond "the pit."
    • And now the third season is even a step up from that, making season 2 look like stubble in comparison.
    • It should be called "Grew a head of hair" for this series. Season 1 is awful. It's a bad imitation of The Office, awkward and just unfunny. When things get settled in Season 2, the characters like each other more, etc, the show became great.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Leslie vs. April", Leslie meets, then Vice-President, Joe Biden telling a Secret Service agent that he's "precious cargo". Fast forward to 2020 and, when facing the possibility of Donald Trump being reelected, many people began expressing those same sentiments about Biden, looking up to him as an idol just as Leslie did.
    • For bonus points, Leslie ponders running for President in the 2020 election, the same year Joe Biden was elected to the office.
  • Jerkass Woobie: As much of a narcissistic, lecherous Jerkass as Tom has been, one can't help but sympathize with him as he discovers that he truly loved his ex-wife Wendy.
  • Memetic Badass: Ron Fucking Swanson.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: Andy, who went from an insufferable Jerkass to an adorable but earnest Man Child.
  • Tear Jerker: In "Bus Tour", Bobby Newport's father dies. When Leslie tries to comfort him, she tells him that her mother was a great athlete and to get her love, she joined track. She hated it but came in first in the final race and her mother was so proud. Bobby uses this story as an anecdote about his dad. Leslie thinks its just ripping off her story but, Bobby used it because her story was better than anything his father has ever done for him.
  • The Woobie: You can't help but feel sorry for Ben in "The Harvest Festival" when people won't leave him alone about Icetown and then he leaves and tells Leslie that he's probably the source of the Curse and it's all his fault that Lil' Sebastian ran away and the power went out.