The 30-minute special — whose story will be set in the world of social distancing — will raise money for COVID relief.

By Dan Snierson
April 23, 2020 at 07:00 PM EDT
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Would you like to treat yo self to a reunion you didn't see coming?

The cast of critically adored local-government comedy Parks and Recreation is rejoining comedic forces to raise money to aid those impacted by the coronavirus — and they're doing it in character. Airing Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC, "A Parks and Recreation Special" will feature the main cast — that's Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta — as well as several other Pawnee favorites appearing as special guests. The 30-minute special's story will center on the challenging times facing citizens of the globe right now. According to the network, "Pawnee’s most dedicated civil servant, Leslie Knope [Poehler], is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing."

“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,” executive producer and co-creator Mike Schur said in a statement. “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!”

The special will raise funds for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which aids food banks across the nation serving vulnerable members of the community. $500,000 in matching donations will be made by State Farm, Subaru of America, NBCUniversal and the Parks writers, producers, and cast members.

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One of the most beloved underdog comedies of the new century, Parks and Recreation aired from 2009 to 2015, generating 125 episodes over seven seasons. The show — which Schur created with The Office overlord Greg Daniels — claimed a Peabody Award and 14 Emmy nominations, including two for Outstanding Comedy Series, and four for Poehler in Outstanding  Lead Actress.

Written by Schur and Poehler, the series finale proved to be an emotional spectacle that was packed with milestone moments and surprises, as the story flash-forwarded ahead to moments in the lives of all of the characters, many of them well past 2020. (Of note: O'Heir's Jerry became Mayor of Pawnee and lived to be 100 years old.) “Amy and I just wanted to feel like we put the correct final punctuation mark on the sentence we’ve been writing since 2008,” Schur told EW in 2015. The cast members reunited in 2019 at PaleyFest to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the show, and have expressed interest in one over the years.

In the age of reboots and reunions, Schur weighed in on the idea that the Pawnee gang might reassemble one day. “I would never ever say never,” he says. “The chance to do it again should it arise would be incredible, but I think that we would all only do it if we felt like it was something compelling us to do it.” Poehler was sounding compelled in a 2019 interview with EW. “I’m Avengers-style ready to put it on at any time,” she said. “Again, I should probably play harder to get but that’s really not me or Leslie’s style so you know, I’m avail.”

To find out what it was like to be on the set for the final episode of Parks in 2015, head over here.

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