It took a pandemic to get the Pawnee gang back together. The Parks and Recreation Special reunion episode airs Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The taped special was announced just last week, and was co-written by original series showrunner and co-creator Mike Schur. The half-hour special features the entire original cast, including Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe and Adam Scott.
The special will be available to stream live at NBC.com or the NBC app with a cable or satellite account. If you do not have either, local NBC affiliates are available to stream on Internet TV platforms like Sling, Hulu Plus Live TV, Fubo and YouTube TV. The episode will be proceeded by The Paley Center Salutes Parks and Recreation, a half-hour special looking back on the beloved sitcom.
The plot for the new episode starts with Leslie Knope (Poehler) trying to keep in contact with the rest of her Pawnee family while they stay safe at home. Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), Chris Traeger (Lowe), Ben Wyatt (Scott), Donna Meagle (Retta), Ann Perkins (Jones) and Gerry Gergich (Jim O'Heir) are all looped into Leslie's calls. Other members of the Pawnee universe will make surprise appearances. Schur co-wrote the episode with Dave King, Aisha Muharrar, Matt Murray, Megan Amram, Jen Statsky and Joe Mande.
The special will raise awareness for Feeding America and is sponsored by State Farm and Subaru of America. The two companies, along with the Parks and Recreation cast and crew, will donate a total of $500,000 in matching donations through May 21. "I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes," Schur said in a statement last week. "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!"
Fans have longed hoped for a Parks and Recreation reunion, ever since the series ended in 2015. The show wrapped up in such a way that made it very difficult though, since they flashed forward several years into a future that is just too positive to become a reality. Still, Schur said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was the perfect opportunity to revive the show because it could provide hope to those who need it.
"The reason why this project made sense [is because] the main character was eternally optimistic and believed in the power of community to hold people together," Schur told reporters earlier this week, reports TVLine. "She believed that incremental small moments of connection and togetherness were vital to the social fabric. And she believed that government for be a force for good and help people in meaningful ways. [Parks and Recreation] was forged in the economic crisis of 2007, 2008… and now we're obviously in another one of those moments."