The Year in TV: Welcome to Pawnee

It's Leslie Knope's world and we just got to watch

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Leslie and Bobby Newport square off tonight.

Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously once said, “All politics is local.” While national coverage of the Presidential election made James Poniewozik’s roundup of the year’s best TV shows, the antics of offbeat bureaucrats in the local Parks and Recreation department of the fictional Indiana town Pawnee, topped his list. Parks and Recreation — the Emmy-nominated NBC comedy starring Amy Poehler as quirky, newly City Council member Leslie Knope — is so popular that even real politicians have made cameos on the show this year. The Season 5 premiere on Sept. 20 featured U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Knope got to meet her hero Vice President Joe Biden in a Nov. 15 episode, thanks to her fiancée and former campaign manager Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), who pulled some strings. And when former House Speaker and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made a surprise visit to St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis — where the show’s cast was filming a scene (also featuring Rob Lowe) — producer Michael Schur wrote the pol into the script on the spot.

Where did Girls, Homeland and Mad Men land on Poniewozik’s list? Channel surfers can browse the rest of Poniewozik’s top TV shows here.