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The problem with Tom and Ann


The problem with the Tom and Ann subplot in this season of Parks & Recreation is that it’s forcing viewers to confront the unpleasant fact that if they actually knew Tom Haverford in real life, they would hate him so, so, so much. 

I actually couldn’t disagree with this more. (Surprise!) Tom’s into hip-hop, being silly, giving away iPads, looking out for friends, being sweet, being sweetly naive about how things work, #menswear, and not getting a lot done at work. That actually sounds, in the aggregate, a lot like me and most of the people I call my friends.

The ‘negative’ parts of his personality are: That he’s clingy? That he’s little? Not good at hunting? I mean, the message not-so-secretly coded into Tom’s character is that he’s… wait for it: kind of like a girl. Oh, sort of like another character on TV… wait for it: Barney Stinson! A man who also, via caricature, tries to supersede traditionally masculine/feminine roles. What I’m saying is that gay men and people of color tend to get either super-feminized or super-masculinized. Tom and Barney do a decent job, I think, of walking the line.

The whole ‘Ezra Klein doesn’t like people like that thing’ is an Ezra Klein-problem. It’s not a Tom-problem. I feel like, to be charitable, a nagging dislike of the character probably says more about sedimented notions of personhood than it does about the characters themselves. But I would, I hazard to say, have no problem hanging out with Tom all day.


  1. fad-fappy-fucker reblogged this from wonklife
  2. thebrigadier reblogged this from feministfilm
  3. bookwormbreakfast reblogged this from wonklife and added:
    Proof that Ezra Klein is right about LITERALLY EVERYTHING.
  4. donovo reblogged this from wonklife
  5. briiiiiiiiii reblogged this from wonklife and added:
    I just had this conversation with my mom.
  6. katiehonan reblogged this from wonklife and added:
    There were times when Tom wasn’t awful — his divorce comes to mind. The end of Entertainment 720. He was a better human...
  7. nalsowithu reblogged this from wonklife
  8. capsizedship reblogged this from feministfilm
  9. always-tete reblogged this from feministfilm
  10. getchapopcornready reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    Tom is a great TV character, but that’s what he is. If anything, a real person like Tom would freak us out because he’s...
  11. coerulescens reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    Tom actually reminds me a lot of my brother, if my brother was more ‘sweet’ and ‘naive’. So yeah, he’d probably get on...
  12. minneapolisatnite reblogged this from feministfilm
  13. cherchezdejay reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    disagree… And he loves 90’s RnB? what...could you ask for!!!
  14. moonhowler56 reblogged this from feministfilm
  15. youidiotkid reblogged this from felice-mi-fa
  16. felice-mi-fa reblogged this from wonklife and added:
  17. silentpunk reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    So torn about this. If Tom was real I would find him funny and quirky, yeah I get that, I have friends that are like...
  18. feministfilm reblogged this from bmichael and added:

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