There will definitely be a lot of reasons to remember 2020, from a global pandemic to mysterious monoliths and everything in between. The last year also brought some interesting trends within the world of pop culture -- including, briefly, a newfound cultural appreciation for Aubrey Plaza. While Plaza has been in the film and television industry for nearly fifteen years, the fandom surrounding her hit a new high point in November of last year, with the debut of Hulu's Happiest Season. The LGBTQ+ rom-com saw the actress playing the scene-stealing role of Riley, the ex-girlfriend of Harper (Mackenzie Davis) who develops a connection with Harper's girlfriend, Abby, (Kristen Stewart), during an increasingly-frustrating family Christmas.
While Riley could have easily been reduced to a series of tropes, Plaza elevated the performance into something truly memorable -- and gained a slew of new fans in the process. If you're among those new fans - or just someone who wants to dive further into Plaza's filmography - we're here to help. Here are ten other movies and TV shows Aubrey Plaza has been in that you should absolutely check out.
Parks and Recreation
Yes, recommending Parks and Recreation is arguably a no-brainer, as the long-running NBC sitcom was arguably Plaza's first mainstream role. But given the second life that fellow sitcoms of that era - particularly The Office - have had in recent years, it's safe to assume that some Plaza fans have yet to properly experience Parks and Rec.
The series, which follows an ensemble of endearing characters working for the local government of Pawnee, Indiana, has many things to love about it. Among those is Plaza's April Ludgate, the sardonic Parks Department intern who goes on to have an incredibly heartfelt arc throughout the series' run.prevnext
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
In that same breath -- if you have yet to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, you definitely should remedy that sooner than later. The 2010 film, which adapts Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic of the same name, follows the genre-bending journey of Scott (Michael Cera), who is tasked with defeating the seven evil exes of his new crush, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth-Winstead).
Plaza appears in the film as Julie Powers, a foul-mouthed acquaintance of Scott's who has a small - but memorable - significance in the film. While Scott Pilgrim has so, so many great qualities (trust us, it was voted ComicBook.com's Best Comic Book Movie of the 2010s), it's worth checking out for Plaza's scene-stealing performance.prevnext
Safety Not Guaranteed
Another beloved entry into Plaza's filmography - albeit one that's a bit more under-the-radar - is 2012's Safety Not Guaranteed. The film stars Plaza as Darius, a magazine reporter who tracks down and develops a kinship with Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a man who placed a classified advertisement in the newspaper asking for a companion to time travel with.
Between Plaza's heartfelt performance, a based-on-a-true-story premise, a delightful ensemble cast, and the directorial debut of Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed is a gem that deserves your attention.prevnext
Ingrid Goes West
The idea of Plaza and WandaVision's Elizabeth Olsen starring in a buddy comedy is arguably enough justification to check out 2017's Ingrid Goes West. The film stars Plaza as Ingrid, a young woman who goes to great and unsettling lengths to befriend Taylor Sloane (Olsen), an Instagram star that she has become obsessed with.
Anchored by Plaza and Olsen's performances, Ingrid Goes West has become one of the most intriguing depictions of the social media era. It's the kind of film that is jam-packed with both style and substance, in a way that fans of Plaza will surely love.prevnext
Speaking of style and substance, one of Plaza's most memorable post-Parks and Rec roles has undoubtedly been on FX's Legion. The series, which is based on Marvel's irreverent X-Men character of the same name, is a look inside the mind of David Haller (Dan Stevens), a schizophrenic man who is soon able to unlock his mutant powers.
Legion is undoubtedly genre-bending and mind-bending, but Plaza's role as Lenny Busker undeniably helps ground things. While Legion definitely won't be for everyone, it's one of those entries of prestige TV that deserves to be checked out.prevnext
If you want a concise way to check out one of Plaza's performances, you can easily turn to her role in Netflix's Easy. The anthology series follows a series of eclectic stories set in the Chicago era -- including "Package Thief", the Season 2 premiere that Plaza is a part of. The episode sees Plaza playing Lindsay, a woman who becomes enraptured in a conflict in her affluent neighborhood.
Clocking in at exactly 30 minutes, "Package Thief" is one of the easiest ways to dive into Plaza's filmography -- and it's the kind of slice-of-life storytelling that she often excels at.prevnext
The To Do List
Another underrated Plaza performance is her starring role in 2013's The To Do List. The comedy stars Plaza as Brandy Klark, a nerdy high school graduate who sets out to become more experienced before heading off to college -- and achieves her goal from very Type-A means.
The To Do List takes the conventions of 1980s sex comedies and reclaims it from a female perspective, and Plaza brings a humanity and humor to the proceedings. When you factor in her list of talented co-stars, including Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, and Rachel Bilson, it's definitely worth checking out.prevnext
A newer entry into Plaza's filmography, Black Bear has already been a topic of a lot of conversation -- and for good reason. The film stars Plaza as Allison, a filmmaker who goes to a woodland retreat to try to find inspiration -- but is quickly overwhelmed by her inner demons.
Black Bear was only officially released in early December, but it has already gotten a lot of attention, particularly for Plaza's performance.prevnext
The Legend of Korra
Yes, Plaza did make an appearance on the Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel The Legend of Korra. So if you've been holding out on checking out the now-beloved animated series, that's as good of a reason as any.
Plaza lent her voice to twelve episodes of the series, portraying Eska, one of Korra's cousins and the co-leader of the Northern Water Tribe. The Legend of Korra is captivating and dense with lore, but also incredibly accessible for those who haven't yet checked out Avatar.prevnext
Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever1comments
Yes, Plaza did voice the titular character in Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, the Lifetime Christmas movie inspired by the meme sensation Grumpy Cat. And honestly, the film wouldn't be as delightful as it is without her involvement. The film follows the hijinks fo Grumpy Cat and Crystal (Megan Charpentier), the young girl who adopts her after realizing she can understand her speaking.
Admittedly, the film is about as ridiculous as the premise would suggest. But Plaza's voice acting fully leans into that ridiculousness, bringing a Holiday-themed caper that even the most bitter of people might find some humor in.prev