Is it any wonder, then, that for her vows, Leslie told Ben “The things that you have done for me to help me, support me, surprise me, to make me happy, go above and beyond what any person deserves. You’re all I need. I love you and I like you.” There’s very little in popular culture that would have told Leslie, or that tells any woman, that she’ll find a partner who isn’t just happy to be supportive when it’s a fit, but who, when his interests and hers are in conflict, will prioritize hers, and choose and work to support them again and again. And there’s something remarkable about Ben’s declaration that “In my time working for the state government, my job sent me to 46 cities in 11 years. I lived in villages with eight people, rural communities, farming towns, I was sent to every corner of Indiana. And then I came here, and I realized this whole time I was wandering around everywhere looking for you.” Ben didn’t just find Leslie. In looking for the recovery of his own reputation, Ben found Leslie’s career instead, and made it his cause—the man’s come so far that he’s even capable of being touched by what appears to be the mysterious resurrection of Lil’ Sebastian.
For another couple, it might have been bizarre for the bride to wear a dress that’s made of headlines and documents about her career, but for Ben and Leslie, it’s perfect. Working together on projects like the Harvest Festival and her election didn’t just bring Ben and Leslie together and then closer as a couple—it was a core substance of their relationship and a reflection of their mutual values. And showing us a relationship like that is one of the reasons I don’t just love Parks and Recreation: I like it, too