Today’s the day, fellow Ben/Leslie lovers! At 8:30 p.m. EST tonight on NBC, one of my favorite relationships on TV is reaching its biggest milestone yet with the wedding episode I’ve been waiting for since sometime during the third season of Parks and Recreation.
I love Ben and Leslie because they have the kind of romance that is beautiful to watch but also believable to hope for in your own life. They both have their own stories to tell in the world, but they also have a story to tell together. And it’s a story of two people who give each other balance, mutual respect, and endless support. They love each other for all of their quirks, flaws, and craziness. And they help each other pursue their dreams—from running political campaigns to meeting Joe Biden.
I say this all the time, and it’s never been more true than it is on the day we get to see their wedding: I’m just a Leslie looking for her Ben.
In honor of this most auspicious occasion, I want to take a moment to look back on my Top 5 moments in Ben and Leslie’s relationship (so far).
5. “This is how I feel…How do you feel?” (from “Smallest Park”):
I think this clip speaks for itself. The genuine emotion, passion, and vulnerability still take my breath away as much as they did the first time I watched this. I love that Leslie actively worked to avoid “steamrolling” Ben because she wanted to prove how much she cared about him and respected him. And I love that Ben threw caution to the wind and gave in to his feelings—Leslie has shown him time and again that risks are worth it when you love someone and you know they’ll be there to hold your hand as you leap into the great unknown. This is my favorite Ben/Leslie kiss because of Ben’s intensity; you can feel how much he’s missed her just by looking at Adam Scott’s face as he goes in for the kiss.
4. The Wildflower Mural (from “Soulmates”):
Ann: Favorite place?
Leslie: Upstairs there’s this mural of wildflowers, and I like to sit on a bench in front of it.
Ann: Really? It could be anywhere in the world: Paris, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon…
Leslie: Nope. Just the bench in front of the mural.
Leslie: Hey I never got to tell you the rest of my ideas. You want to go somewhere and talk about them?
Ben: Yeah, I’d love to. Just let me get some actual food and then um, do you know that wildflower mural up on the second floor?
Ben: You want to meet there?
Leslie: Yeah, sounds good.
This was the moment that made me fall in love with Ben and Leslie as a potential couple. I can still remember the feeling of hope and happiness I got watching Leslie share her favorite place in the world with a guy who seemed to understand it—to understand her. The final shot of Leslie and Ben eating in front of the mural was a moment of beautifully simple joy—just two people, sitting in front of a mural, falling in love. It perfectly set up what their relationship was going to become.
3. Going on the Record (from “The Trial of Leslie Knope”):
Ben (via Ethel): Because I love Leslie. I want to be with her, and I don’t want to hide the way I feel about her anymore. So yeah, it was worth it, because I’m in love with Leslie Knope.
Leslie (via Ethel): Let the record state that I, Leslie Knope, love Ben Wyatt. I love him with all of my heart.
Was there any more perfect way for these two to say “I love you”? Besides the wonderfully creative way of saying it, the thing I loved most about these two scenes was watching Scott and Amy Poehler’s reactions. Poehler’s misty-eyed joy was beautiful, as was Scott’s adoring smile.
2. “Here’s what I know…” (from “The Debate”):
“I love you and I like you.”
That line is still one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever heard on TV. It completely sums up Ben and Leslie’s relationship—yes, there’s passion and adoration there, but these are two people who genuinely like each other, too. And they’re mature and smart enough to appreciate how rare that is. When I say I’m a Leslie looking for her Ben, this is what I mean. All I want is to find someone to love and to like. Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?
1. The Proposal (from “Halloween Surprise”):
There’s nothing better than this. The element of surprise, the genuine joy of both Poehler and Scott’s performances, the simple intimacy of the moment—everything about this scene is perfect. I still can’t watch it without tearing up.
So this is how I feel. How do you feel? What are your favorite Ben/Leslie moments?