In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen too many articles and blog posts asking if Christian Grey is the new Mr. Darcy.
Similarly, back during Twilight-mania, people were asking the same thing about Edward Cullen.
With the wonderful, perfect finale of Parks and Recreation last night (no, I’m not over it yet), I’m thinking Ben Wyatt is a much better modern Darcy than either Mr. Grey or Mr. Cullen. Leslie Knope agrees. Allow me to make our case.
In Pride-and-Prejudice style, Leslie and Ben are enemies when they first meet. She’s an optimistic, ambitious government employee who always tries to make a difference, and he’s the state auditor sent to her beloved Pawnee to gut her budget and fire her co-workers. He’s also pretty grumpy because of a past debacle called “Ice Town,” which ruined his hopes of a political career. For the last 12 years he’s been moving from town to town, slashing budgets, generally disliked wherever he goes.
But Leslie soon impresses Ben with her overall awesomeness.
They work together to save Pawnee, becoming friends in the process. Naturally these two political nerds want to date each other, and they do, but secretly. Why? Their boss has a strict No Dating policy for all government employees. Plus, Leslie wants to run for city council, and she can’t have a scandal in her background. Now here’s where Ben does something wonderful and selfless. He breaks up with her. He knows that running for office is her dream, and he respects that. But he misses her, of course, and becomes sad Batman for a while.
But wait, Leslie misses Ben too. She decides that she wants to be with him regardless of the consequences to her campaign or even her job. When it seems like Leslie will lose her job, Ben resigns and takes all the blame. How’s that for a Darcy-like sacrifice to ensure the happiness of the woman you love?
After that they are free to have their relationship out in the open. And what a relationship! In the seasons that followed, they got married and had kids. They have been equally supportive of each other’s careers and decisions. Ben doesn’t just love Leslie, he ardently admires, respects, and believes in her. I think respect is where those other guys fall short of the Darcy ideal. Even last night in the finale, when they both get approached to run for governor (!), Ben defers to Leslie because he knows it was her childhood dream. And of course she’ll be awesome at it.
Ugh! I could go on all day with my Parks and Recreation feels. But I’ll stop with these two gifs and a Youtube video of Ben and Leslie highlights up until their engagement.