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Hollywood Insider Parks and Recreation Reunion

Photo: Parks and Recreation Reunion

While the world is in quarantine, it is nice to have some comic relief flowing through our homes. That’s exactly what the world got when Parks and Recreation aired a reunion special on NBC. The original cast got together online to make an episode of the beloved show set in the current time of the novel COVID-19.

The special aired on Thursday, April 30th, and had around 3.7 million viewers tuning in to see the characters that are so dear to their hearts. The show concluded with its seventh season in 2015, and fans were eager to see the familiar faces once again. The special was nothing short of hilarious, heartwarming, and just about everything in between.

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Leslie Knope Is A Symbol Of Love We All Need In Quarantine

When NBC announced the news of the reunion episode, fans went wild trying to figure out what the plot would be. Set in present times, the episode revolves around Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who is trying her hardest to keep connected to all of her friends during this time. Leslie and her husband Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) are connecting to friends as well as speaking out, as they want to emphasize the importance of mental health during this time of isolation and uncertainty. 

In addition to Leslie and Ben, the entire cast made an appearance, including some special guest appearances by legendary characters like Jeremy Jamm, Perd Hapley, and Jean-Ralphio Saperstein. 

The reunion, featured Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, Retta and Ben Schwartz all reprised their roles. Guest stars were Mo Collins, Paul Rudd, Jon Glaser and Jay Jackson. 

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Though they obviously could not reunite the cast in person, the creators of the show did the next best thing. Each cast member was sent camera equipment to their individual homes and put in charge of their own hair and makeup. The overall plot is that Leslie has started a phone tree among the Parks & Rec gang, and the over-the-phone chain is supposed to keep them all connected.

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However, through trying to keep everyone else connected, Leslie herself feels more distant than ever. In the typical (secret) sappy Ron Swanson fashion, he arranges to get the entire friend group online at one time, in order to bring Leslie some joy during stressful times. Not only do they all band together, but the entire cast breaks out in song, singing the most iconic medley from the show, ‘5000 Candles In The Wind’ (AKA Bye Bye Little Sebastian.) 

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Parks and Recreation Reunion Is An Act Of Hope In Uncertain Times

Nothing bonds people like the shared love of a favorite television show. The announcement of the reunion episode sent fans into a frenzy on the internet, as they launched into stringing along different theories of what the well-known characters would be up to five years later in 2020. The reunion did not disappoint.

Not only did the entire cast make an appearance as their unique selves, but the episode raised $3 million for Feeding America, and NBCUniversal, cast, writers and producers of the show, as well as the reunion’s sponsors State Farm and Subaru committed to match all donations up to $500,000. The episode made a huge impact, and the 30 minute story gave some subtle advice as to how to stay positive during the shelter in place orders around the world. 

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Co-creator of the show, Michael Schur, wrote the remote reunion episode along with a team and he told Variety that the reunion was no easy feat. Though the cast all responded quickly to his pitch, it was difficult to get it all together. Overall, he was happy that the reunion was able to get made, but Schur knows that remote filming is in no way a sustainable way of creating. Though it was only a one-off episode, fans and casts members alike were all extremely glad to revisit these characters.

This special was exactly what the world needed in a time of such negativity. 

Watch the special here: Parks and Rec Reunion

By Rebecca Breitfeller

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