[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday's Parks and Recreation reunion special on NBC! Read at your own risk]
It seemed like a miracle when NBC announced that the cast of Parks and Recreation, including Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, and more, would reunite for a remotely produced reunion episode about social distancing -- and you know what? It was. One of TV's most beloved sitcoms found a way to come together to give fans 30 minutes of entertainment and remind us how good it feels to be a surrogate citizen of Pawnee. Yes, we yearned to be back at City Hall and see the ridiculous murals of Pawnee's historic atrocities, but following Leslie Knope (Poehler) as she checked in on her loved ones still allowed us a moment to go back to a simpler time.
Creator Mike Schur and his team found interesting ways to explain why Andy (Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) weren't phoning in from the same location (Andy locked himself in the shed). Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe) phoned in from separate parts of the house because Ann was volunteering as a nurse to help with the crisis and Chris was protecting himself, and the kids, from potential infection. As Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott) did a media blitz -- featuring Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) and Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins) -- to help inform the citizens of Pawnee of the resources they could use while social distancing, commercials popped up from your faves like Jeremy Jamm (Jon Glaser) and Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) -- the latter of whom is not doing well in quarantine. Call him! Even the late Li'l Sebastian made an appearance, in his own adorable four-hooved way.
This may not have been the Parks and Recreation reunion of everyone's dreams -- there is no dimension in which Ron Swanson would ever download Zoom, or a Zoom-like app -- but it is clear that the cast and creative team did the very best they could to bring some light into people's lives and help people in need (NBC, State Farm, and Subaru are matching all donations made to Feeding America via the broadcast), which is emblematic of everything the show and Leslie Knope stood for. (It should also be pointed out that even though Ron did join a video conferencing app, he had his ID and personal information blocked, so we give props to Schur and director Morgan Sackett for their attention to detail.)
This is a weird and difficult time for everyone, and most people are just trying to do whatever they can to help. Parks and Recreation returned to make us smile, and the special definitely hit us in the heart. We salute you, Leslie Knope, and your extended friend family, and we thank you for your help in this troubling situation.
P.S. Leslie, can you send us Garry's poop filter? Seems like a great way to liven up our endless Zoom meetings.