In Parks & Recreation, Leslie Knope is great at many things: Dancing, coming up with solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, and gift-giving (just to name a few). But one of the things she's best at is giving amazing compliments, especially to her best friend Ann Perkins. In the final season, Ann's lover and baby daddy Chris Traeger even asks Leslie for help coming up with several compliments that he can give Ann on days when she's feeling down.
Even though Leslie compliments Ann almost forty times in the series (that we see), here are ten of her best ones. May they inspire us to give our best friends amazing compliments.
It's well-established in the series that Leslie curses when she's emotional, though she does refuse to use "the B-word" to describe another woman. However, the Leslie curses come when she's impressed. She describes Ann as a "coy b*stard" once when she's impressed, then goes on to describe Ann similarly a few more times. Once, Ann is a "tricky minx," and another time she's a "devious bastard.”
Each time, Ann has done something to surprise Leslie. Usually, Leslie can predict what other people are going to do or say, and she knows Ann pretty well, so when the latter is able to do something surprising, it's a big deal. Leslie is suitably impressed when she's describing Ann this way.
9 Beautiful Tropical Fish
Ann, you beautiful tropical fish. You're smart as a whip and you're cool under pressure.
Even though it's confusing and sort of weird, something about this compliment is so picturesque. We’ve all seen those lively aquariums with the colorful rocks, swaying plants, and the toys or landscaping for the fish to interact with. Watching tropical fish swim around with their long fins and rainbow scales can feel so mesmerizing and relaxing.
Leslie comparing Ann to a tropical fish is basically saying that Ann’s existence is a mesmerizing rainbow. She’s rare and wonderful. Doesn’t every friend deserve to be so well complimented?
8 Most Beautiful Glowing Sun Goddess, Ever.
Sometimes when Leslie calls Ann beautiful, it ends up being a backhanded compliment, like when she describes her as “too beautiful to be funny” or a “beautiful sophisticated newborn baby,” implying that Ann is beautiful but naïve. However, this time Leslie is really being complimentary.
Ann has just given birth to her son, and she has that special ‘new mom’ glow (that exists primarily in TV shows). Leslie, who was never going to miss a chance to compliment Ann, seized on this moment of post-labor beauty to call Ann “the most beautiful glowing sun goddess, ever.” It’s the ever that really makes it.
7 The Smartest, Most Accomplished Woman
Leslie proclaiming this to an entire auditorium of people makes Ann smile, at least, until Leslie ends the compliment with “and check out that bod!” which Ann doesn’t love as much. But the episode where Leslie auctions off a date with Ann to raise money for Jerry’s heart surgery is a really funny one, and the compliment that gets the sale started leads to a great bidding war scene.
We know Leslie thinks Ann is smart because she often is impressed by her ideas, but this is one of only a few times that Leslie includes Ann’s intelligence in one of her famous compliments.
6 You’re Beautiful And You’re Organized!
When the Parks and Rec team is trying to get Leslie elected to Pawnee City Council, Ann has an idea to streamline things. Of course, Leslie has to award her with an especially nice compliment. Leslie frequently proclaims that Ann is beautiful, so the ‘organized’ half is what really makes this one sing.
It’s the specificity that matters. Anyone can be smart or pretty, but the specificity of "organized" means that Leslie has been paying attention to what Ann is actually like. It’s always good to compliment specific traits had by your friends, and we can thank Leslie Knope for showing us how.
5 Beautiful Rule-Breaking Moth
Another compliment from Leslie’s first campaign run is this wonderful time she compared Ann to a moth—a rule-breaking one to be precise.
What exactly makes a moth a rule-breaking one? Who knows. Part of the charm of Leslie’s compliments is that they’re often incongruous and just a bit weird. This one manages to somehow be incredibly charming despite the fact that moths aren’t nature’s most lovely creatures. The beautiful part helps, of course, but the rule-breaking part really makes it. Leslie knows they can’t cut corners during the campaign, despite how tempting Ann’s rule-breaking seems.
4 Ann, You Opalescent Tree Shark
This is one of the three compliments that Leslie feeds to Chris for future use during the series finale. If you’ve seen the show, you can’t read this without hearing the particular way Leslie says it, as if she’s a masseuse pulling peaceful energy out of the air.
Of course, tree sharks don’t actually exist. But that’s what makes this particular Leslie Knope compliment so perfect. Ann is so special that there is no real-life comparison, only the fantasy world will do. The next time you have to compliment a close friend, consider using a made-up creature to really show how special they are.
3 Cunning, Pliable, Chestnut-Haired Sunfish
Ann has to remind Leslie she said this when they were talking about their campaign to avoid being recalled. The heap of compliments doesn’t make a ton of sense together, but they sound great all strung together. The most charming part? Later in the same episode, Leslie responds to something Ann says with, “good memory, sunfish.”
If you were wondering what is a sunfish, they’re a rare and endangered type of enormous ocean fish. They can weigh over a thousand pounds and look like they have very large faces and disproportionately short, flat bodies. Clearly, Leslie's comparison is focusing more on the ‘rare and special’ than the ‘sort of weird looking’ part.
2 Poetic And Noble Land-Mermaid
So, what exactly is a land-mermaid? Ann Perkins, obviously. First, Ann saves Leslie and Ben from their terrible drunken idea to get tattoos at a local pawn shop. Once they’re safely back at the Parks and Rec office, Ann forces Leslie to confront the fact that losing the recall vote doesn’t mean she has peaked.
This still doesn’t help us know what a land-mermaid actually is, but Ann’s efforts in this episode are certainly noble. The poetic part serves as a reminder of how perfect Ann seems in Leslie’s head.
1 Beautiful, Talented, Brilliant, Powerful Muskox
When things are taking a bad turn at the party celebrating Ben’s and Leslie’s engagement, Ann is the one that steps up to hold things together. She keeps the rest of the party running smoothly, even managing to control Chris’s emotional breakdown, while Ben and Leslie duke it out with the former's parents.
This just goes to show that not every compliment needs to be based on beauty! Musk-oxen are smelly, hairy, and large animals. But they’re strong and live in close-knit communities, so they’re still a great starting place for a compliment for the Ann in your life.