Figuring out April Ludgate

By Fabian Loo

She might be apathetic, mean-spirited and lazy, but she’s easily one of Parks and Recreation’s most memorable characters. Between her dark humour and deadpan personality, April Ludgate has had her fair share of show-stealing scenes. One of which was voted by TIME Magazine as one of the Best TV Lines of 2011 (“The Moon shall join your coalition!”), a line which perfectly distills her character  someone crass, unapologetic, but inappropriately funny.

Perhaps why we find April so amusing, is that she stands in stark contrast to the show’s goofy characters. For Leslie Knope’s exuberance and frenetic optimism, we have April’s lack of zeal for everything in life. For Andy Dwyer’s child-like energy, we have April’s morbid personality.

But she is so much more than just a counterpoint to the eager-beavers of Pawnee. The fact that April endears and connects with the audience, is because we all see a little bit of ourselves in her, if not all. She prefers the company of animals to humans. She resents any sort of responsibility. She appreciates alcohol. She abhors hugs and forging emotional connections.

So we connect with April, as someone whom we wished we had the guts to be. But as the season progresses, we connect with April even more as we begin to see more of her personality creep through. Beneath that veil of darkness is the ability to care. She falls in love with Andy Dwyer, where they first connect over pranks and goofing around. It’s interesting for us to see how someone like April could even have feelings. And it becomes even more endearing when we see her evolve, as the two bring out the best in each other. They’ve come a long way from slurping spaghetti from frisbees, to Andy enrolling in the police academy for financial security, and April taking a full time job with more responsibilities.

In April, we see a teenager fill with hate and angst (which is, or was, us at some point in our life) come to terms with life and learning to deal with the responsibilities of growing up. She softens her stance towards Leslie and the other adult figures in her life, and even takes in some of her advice. But what makes her so … her is the fact that she never loses sight of who she is. No one can define her life. After all, “adults are boring and I hate them and I don’t want to buy all this stupid adult stuff and become boring adults.”

We see April trying to navigate life through the seasons. And we see her change from this blackhole of negativity, to this beautiful woman who’s managed to stay true to herself while changing to meet the demands of the world. She has a great job, a loving husband and adorable children. Not bad for someone who thought she was a wizard, and a wolf.

She even managed to deliver some pretty insightful lines. “I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job. No one knows what they’re doing. […] Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out.”

April has certainly got things figured out.