A Few Favorite Fictional #GirlBoss Heroes: The TV Edition

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

I don’t know about you, but I’m in serious need of some girl power – not just this week, but all the time. There are a number of real-life boss ladies who I look up to, both in the public sector and in my private life, but since we’re keeping this light-hearted, I give you…my three favorite fictional (say that three times fast!) #girlbosses from the small screen (the big screen and the pages of good ol’ books may follow, you never know…).

Millennials (girls and guys too!), you’ll probably know of or at least have heard of the TV shows that these characters are from. They’re all relatively recent and part of our pop culture.

Warning: the below contains some spoilers!

Leslie Knope

LESLIE-KNOPE.jpgYou go, Ms. Knope…you lover of all things that smash the patriarchy…and of course, waffles. This Parks and Recreation leading goddess shows us that there is nothing wrong with local politics, excessive enthusiasm and always, always, always putting others before yourself.

Oh, and let’s not forget, she’s an all-star gift giver, and she started the Pawnee Goddesses to encourage young girls in her community.

A fan favorite Leslie quote reads as follows: “Waffles, friends, work. Or Friends, waffles, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.” That’s not to say, however, that Leslie wasn’t an inspiringly hard worker. She cleaned parks, she presented plans to higher officials for parks that no one ever thought could come to fruition, she planned one heck of a harvest festival…the list of her accomplishments goes on.

My cousin got me hooked on Parks and Rec a while back, because he claimed that I am “basically Leslie Knope.” And after watching, that’s a comparison I can be proud of. This week, I can be especially proud of the “letter to America” she wrote — well, her writers wrote, but is a big deal considering the fact that Parks and Rec has been off the air since earlier this year — that encourages all girls to continue working toward being #girlbosses.

Hildy Mulligan
I watched the first season of TNT’s Murder in the First for a grad school class on television blogging, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched the series since. But, one aspect of the show that stood out to me was Hildy Mulligan, a sexy single mom who moonlighted as a homicide detective.

Hildy solved cases –- many of which could have ended her up in life-threatening situations. She got her daughter up and dressed for school every single day that she was home. She dealt with men breaking her heart, but got right back up and continued living her life. And while I firmly believe that by no means do you have to dress stylishly to be a boss lady, I can’t help but point out that Hildy rocked every outfit she wore.


Veronica Mars


I’ve already spoken a bit about Veronica Mars, in terms of dating advice. Regardless of her love life or lack thereof, she’s still a badass. I mean, find me another character of any gender who decided to pursue the life of a private investigator after school at age 17.

Her reason for becoming a P.I.? Her best friend was murdered. As if that wasn’t enough, her father, who was the sheriff at the time, tried to implicate her best friend’s father for said murder – and all of her other friends turned on her as a result. Plus, she found out that her ex-boyfriend may be her brother (but he wasn’t, so yay!).

On top of all this, her mom abandoned her, came back, went to alcohol rehab on her college money, and then ran away again with $50,000 of her dad’s money. I’d probably pursue private investigation too…once I spent several weeks on the couch in the fetal position. Not Veronica Mars though. Together with her father, she solved the case of her best friend’s murder.

Veronica certainly had her demons, but she worked hard every single day to fight them. She took all of her rage and used that to fuel the cases she worked.

To my fellow boss ladies, there is inspiration for you everywhere – in real life and in fiction. Remember what you’re capable of. Believe.

Dating Advice as Told by Veronica Mars

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

I was late to the Veronica Mars party in discovering her story, becoming a fan shortly after the show was cancelled. I quickly discovered that I was a fan of the assertive, feminist only child super sleuth (portrayed by the incomparable Kristen Bell) who had to grow up too soon. In fact, I’d found a fictional soul mate.

Intimacy can be difficult for those of us who crave independence — and Veronica, who was not short on gentleman callers, showed those of us who are rooted in similar fears just how to overcome said fears time and time again. At the same time, she also showed how once she committed to loving someone, there was nothing that she wouldn’t do to protect that person.

Here are some notable examples of dating advice we can take away from Veronica’s situations:

To Veronica, it didn’t matter if you were wrong or right – if she loved you, she did whatever it took to help you
For crying out loud, she hid Duncan and his baby when the baby wasn’t even hers. She knew that Baby Lily didn’t deserve a life with her Westboro Baptist-esque maternal grandparents but rather, a life with her father. And in that vain, she helped Duncan, whom she knew she’d never get back together with, and Baby Lily get away. Because that’s just how much she loved Duncan. That’s loyalty you can seriously aspire to achieve.

Veronica was clear on her zero tolerance issues
And you should be, too. When Logan didn’t confess to sleeping with evil demon Madison Sinclair, Veronica had zero tolerance. When Troy Vandergraff tried to return to his pre-drug rehab days, and kept his return a secret, again she had zero tolerance.

Veronica was 100% faithful
No matter how many gentleman callers she had, Veronica never strayed. Well, okay. She was still with Deputy Leo when she and Logan kissed the first time during Season 1, but she fessed up and broke it off with Deputy Leo almost immediately thereafter. She even admitted that she was a “train wreck” with a love life that felt untouchable. The lesson here? Don’t cheat on your significant other, plain and simple.

It was imperative for Veronica to be with someone who took care of her — even when she didn’t realize it, and she didn’t want him to
A couple is a partnership, and one person shouldn’t take care of the other exclusively. Veronica was willing to overprotect each of her significant others (whether that significant other was Duncan, Logan, Piz or even Deputy Leo), but they were all, in their own ways, willing to protect her.

Logan hired a bodyguard to protect Veronica during Season 3 when the Hearst rapist had the student population on edge. Duncan repeatedly defended Veronica to his own sadistic mother. There are multiple additional examples throughout the course of the series, but I think the point is made. Veronica didn’t want any of her significant others to take care of her,  but she deserved to be taken care of, and the gentleman callers who truly loved her recognized that fact. Find someone who recognizes that this relationship thing you’re in is very much a two-way street.

When Veronica went through a brief period in which she didn’t want to date anyone, she didn’t let anyone force her, and she didn’t crawl into a corner once she dated again, either
Remember the infamous “Around The World” party of Season 3? Parker wanted Veronica and Mac to “get out there,” but our heroine and her loyal sidekick wouldn’t have it — at least for the moment. If you’re not ready to date…if you’re still getting over that breakup…no one should ever force you to get back in the game until you’re ready.


Editorial Note:
As with dating advice from Friends, keep in mind that these situations are fictional, but they are written because they are relatable to real life.