'Parks and Recreation' is Returning Next Week for a Scripted Coronavirus Charity Special

Parks and Rec fans literally couldn’t get better news: NBC has announced that a Parks and Recreation reunion special will bring our favorite residents of Pawnee back for a half-hour scripted episode in aid of coronavirus efforts. Almost all the original cast members, including Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta, will get back to work as the beloved members of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department, along with a few guest stars.

We’ve been missing Parks and Recreation in the saddest fashion, but for one night only, we’ll get to return to Pawnee, Indiana. NBC has announced that the cast of the beloved, Emmy-nominated sitcom is reuniting for a half-hour scripted special airing next week, on April 30. Variety reports that the special, which is being spearheaded by co-creator Michael Schur, will help raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

The episode’s storyline will answer what everyone online has been imagining: How would Leslie Knope handle the coronavirus pandemic? Well, as the creator of Galentine’s Day and the world’s best gift-giver, Leslie would obviously be “determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing.” Cue various hijinks as Leslie goes above and beyond to make sure all her friends’ and coworkers’ needs — physical and mental — are taken care of.

Schur already imagined a brief version of this for a Vulture article asking TV writers how their characters would act during a quarantine episode, but it seems like the writer/producer behind Parks and Recreation and The Good Place was inspired to turn it into a full-fledged half-hour episode.

“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 Schur. “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!”

“In such uncertain times, we can’t think of anyone better than Leslie Knope to unite our country with her unbridled enthusiasm and compassion,” added Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment. “A huge thank you to Mike Schur and the cast of ‘Parks and Recreation’ for putting this wonderful special together and bringing a smile to all our faces while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

Parks and Recreation is not the only TV series to produce a coronavirus-inspired episode, nor the only group of celebrities to band together for a good cause in the name of charities for coronavirus efforts. But fans have been wanting a Parks and Rec reunion ever since the show went off the air in 2015 to fill the hole in our hearts for optimistic, good-natured comedy. It feels bittersweet that a pandemic is what will bring the series back to us for so short a time, but it’s going to be wonderful to have Leslie Knope back in our lives.

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