The Parks and Recreation Reunion Arrived Just in Time

When it was confirmed by Michael Schur, co-creator of the hit NBC mockumentary Parks and Recreation that the cast would come together for a special reunion episode, people everywhere were rejoicing and had high expectations for the one night only viewing. The Parks and Recreation special aired on NBC. It brought not only nostalgia and happiness to our TV screens, but it also acted as a benefit for Coronavirus relief by raising money for Feeding America.  

The 30-minute episode featured every single major cast member and character such as Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, and the entirety of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks, and Recreation department, characters the general public have come to know and love. It also featured appearances from minor characters who made the show what it is, such as Paul Rudd opening the show as Bobby Newport, Ben Schwartz as Jean Ralphio who was sporting an on-brand, eccentric neck-tie, and of course Megan Mullally who played Ron Swanson’s ex-wife on the show but is actually Offerman’s wife in real life.

After Rudd’s opening monologue, the classic opening credits were aired once again with the whimsical and distinctive theme song, then the cast members appeared one by one through virtual telecommuting, speaking to each other through small group segments. The episode portrayed the characters describing how each one of them is spending their time through the global pandemic. Leslie Knope speaks about closing the national parks, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones’ character) has gone back to being a nurse, Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) was asked by the CDC to donate blood because he is extremely healthy, and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is still pitching new entrepreneurial ideas while he is self-quarantining. And of course, the whole crew is dreading inviting half-witted Garry Gergich, played by Jim O’Heir, to the video call, a continuation of the iconic jokes from the Parks and Rec series.

On top of the laughs and sentimentality, the characters also touched upon the fact that self-quarantining and staying home can cause anxiety. They also spoke about the importance of staying connected to those close to you as well as donating money or volunteering time in any way that is possible. Andy Dwyer also appears as “Johnny Karate” for a small skit to remind kids that this pandemic will eventually be over. The best part of the whole special comes at the end, where the cast comes together to sing “5000 Candles in the Wind,” the song dedicated to Lil’ Sabastian, the miniature horse who was the ultimate star of Pawnee.

The episode did an excellent job of using the characters, as well as their locations, to portray them in a situation we are all going through right now. The one-night special captured everything that people love, and miss, about the original show that has been off the air for about five years now. The world was once again reminded of Ben Wyatt’s endearing nerdiness, Ron Swanson’s sarcasm, April Ludgate’s quirkiness, Andy Dwyer’s goofiness, and of course, Leslie Knope’s leadership and positivity, and it couldn't have come at a better time.