Parks and Recreation reunion lifts spirits amongst quarantine


The cast of NBC’s Parks and Recreation during the “A Parks and Recreation” reunion episode. Courtesy of NBC

The original cast of the hit series Parks and Recreation made a special comeback on April 30 to create the first new episode since its last season in 2015. 

The 30 minute episode featured a unique storyline where the characters are stuck in quarantine. The audience follows the main protagonist Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) as she navigates how to stay remotely connected with her friends.

Recurring character and fan-favorite Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) introduced the special, citing that the mission of the episode was to raise money for Feeding America, an organization dedicated to keeping families fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The special was filmed with individual phone cameras and special equipment so cast members could act out scenes from the safety of their home. An editing crew then spliced the videos together to replicate what it would look like if members were video chatting with one another.

 Knope begins her daily “phone tree” by calling her husband Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), and quickly continues down the line before finally chatting with all the characters at once. 

The episode was filled with funny and relatable tropes that featured how each Parks and Rec member is handling the quarantine. Each character refers to random quarantine activities that most of us can see ourselves doing. 

For instance, Wyatt is creating a new home movie, Joan Callamezo (Mo Collins) is doing live streams from home, Donna Meagle (Retta) is enjoying a glass of wine in her closet and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is pretending to vacation on his computer using greenscreen backgrounds. 

While staying true to the comical and lighthearted feel of the original show, the episode still conveys important messages to audiences around the world. The main focus is the importance of staying connected with loved ones and paying attention to mental health while social distancing. Andy Dwyre (Chris Pratt) made an appearance as TV host Johnny Karate to deliver a special message to kids about the importance of washing their hands and continuing to learn in their online classes. 

The episode has made nearly $3 million since its initial release and will continue to accept donations for the Feeding America fund until May 21. You can watch it for free on the NBC YouTube channel

Kirstin Joyce can be reached at [email protected] or @joyce_kirstin on Twitter.