On April 30th, NBC aired a brand-new Parks and Recreation episode in light of quarantine and the fans needing to binge-watch. This happy-go-lucky sitcom was perfectly timed for a reunion, being that it radiates positivity.
The episode features all the original cast members, including legend Amy Poehler. Its original run was from 2009 to 2015. It follows the local government in a small Indiana city. The creators of the show had never ruled out a reunion entirely, but they were looking for the right reason to have one.
With the onset of COVID-19 and a need for lighthearted positivity and comedy, they realized now would be a perfect time. The special raised money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which helps food banks to stay full during this crisis.
The creators said they would match donations up to $500,000. The episode lasted about 30 minutes and responded to the challenges of today’s world. Protagonist Leslie Knope would’ve wanted to foster positivity in the face of these anxiety-ridden times.
Knope always hoped the government could be a force of good in Parks and Recreation. Now would be the perfect time to reflect this energy. The show was created within the guise of the economic recession of 2008. It was a time where the world needed positive energy, and we’re now faced with similar circumstances.
The special takes place in 2020, within our current pandemic present. It leans strongly into the messages of friendship and community, as most of the series did. The new special is full of punchy humor and uplifting content, which teeters on sweet and careful, rather than too raunchy.
It can be a bit of a difficult task to produce a special episode of a very popular and finished television show in the face of a crisis. Of course, many TV shows rolled out specials regarding post 9/11 America and many other American crises as well.
In this special case, it is necessary to be a mix of both cautious and astute in creating a special that can be both funny and positive, while also being mindful of the great losses our country is facing during this time.
Parks and Recreation has always showcased a lightness that is grounded in our reality, and has done an excellent job of speaking to the masses about issues while painting them in real, typical manners. It is important to remember that Parks and Recreation is not trying to combat the pandemic or “fix” the issues of our society with the new episode. Instead, they hope to provide fans and society with positive humor and uplifting content to get us through these days.