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‘Parks and Recreation’ returns to TV for a half-hour reunion special

Published Apr 25th, 2020 11:16AM EDT
Parks and Recreation reunion special
Image: NBC

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  • Parks and Recreation is returning for a scripted special on NBC on April 30th to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
  • The entire original Parks and Recreation cast is going to be part of the special, and a few “guests stars from the Pawnee universe” will show up as well.
  • The special is about Leslie Knope staying in touch with her friends during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Fans have been clamoring for a Parks and Recreation reunion ever since the show ended in 2015, and next week, at long last, their wish is going to be granted. On Thursday, NBC announced that the citizens of Pawnee, Indiana will be returning to the small screen as part of a scripted, in-character special episode to raise funds for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The half-hour special will air at 8:30 PM ET/PT on April 30th.

According to the press release, all of the main cast will be featured in the special: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta. There are also going to be “several guest stars from the Pawnee universe” that will pop in and out during the special.

Unlike the upcoming Friends reunion for HBO Max, “A Parks and Recreation Special” will be set in the universe of the show, with all of the actors reprising their roles. The special focuses on Leslie Knope attempting to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing, linking the show directly to our current crisis.

“Like a lot of other people, we were looking for ways to help and felt that bringing these characters back for a night could raise some money,” said executive producer Michael Schur in a press release. “I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes. Our old ‘Parks and Rec’ team has put together one more 30-minute slice of (quarantined) Pawnee life and we hope everyone enjoys it. And donates!”

Amy Poehler recorded a short video to promote the special, in which she confirms it is entirely shot from home:

If you want to contribute to Feeding America’s response fund, you can visit and donate whatever amount you’re comfortable with. NBC says that State Farm and Subaru of America will each make matching donations of $150,000 and a total of $500,000 in matching donations will be made through May 21 from NBCUniversal and the writers, producers, and cast of Parks and Recreation.

This certainly isn’t how fans of the sitcom envisioned it returning to TV, but I can’t think of a more appropriate cast of characters to be the first to address the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Leslie Knope and her lovable friends and coworkers spent the better part of a decade being some of the kindest, funniest, and most thoughtful fictional characters on the air, and it will be a treat to see them again, even under the circumstances.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.