Last night, a friend to twitter to ask a very serious question: Who do we love more — Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt or Friday Night Light's Eric and Tami Taylor? My immediate answer was Eric and Tami because their relationship is, without a doubt, one of the most realistic and well-developed marriages in television history, but then I was forced to reconsider and call it a draw. While Ben and Leslie may fall slightly short on the gritty realism that made the Taylor marriage so profound, there is still something positively delightful about seeing two characters on a sitcom that are so crazy about one another as opposed to the "Take my wife — no, seriously. Take her" trope that we're so used to seeing.
Leslie and Ben's relationship over the past three seasons of Parks and Rec has been refreshingly free of tricks or audience manipulation. We always sort of knew that the two of them would succeed and yet that hasn't made their success any less satisfying as last night's wedding episode proves. The two will continue to have one another's backs, they will continue to understand each other more than anyone else can understand them. To me, their relationship is best described by a moment that occurred early in last night's episode when Ben teases Leslie after the two decide to jump the gun on their wedding by three months. "I really want you to take my last name," he says as Leslie blanches. "Yeah, it's just really important to me symbolically that Leslie Knope disappears and becomes Leslie Wyatt. Or Councilwoman Mrs. Ben Wyatt. That's fine, too. It's a deal breaker."
Of course, he was kidding. Ben's worst nightmare is that Leslie Knope disappears. He's demonstrated this from their first positive interaction back in season two when he just assumed that she would one day run for office to the sacrifices that he made in seasons 3 and 4 when she finally did. Ben and Leslie care and want the best for each other which is what made their marriage vows, "I like you and I love you," all the more touching. Safe to say that Li'l Sebastian was smiling down on their nuptials.