Parks and Recreation is back tonight for a special reunion fundraiser for Feeding America, and here’s your first look at this return to Pawnee. It’s weird: it doesn’t feel like it’s already been five years since Parks wrapped up its run, but it also feels like it’s been five decades or so since it was on the air. Not just because the quarantine has completely collapsed all notion of time, but because the show’s positivity and belief in the constructive power of government are so at odds with everything we’ve seen in the real world since the 2016 presidential election started up just a few months after the show’s end. We could use a little bit of Parks’ optimism right now, even if only for one night.
Tonight’s episode is a true quarantine era jam, of course. Every actor was shot individually, in their own homes, and a top squad of the show’s former writers (guided by creator Michael Schur) crafted a story around those limitations. You know your family member who wants to Facetime every single day to make sure you’re doing okay? That’s basically Leslie Knope, of course, as she gets in touch with her former friends and co-workers from Pawnee’s Parks department every night during the quarantine. In this clip below you can watch Knope (y’know, Amy Poehler) somehow get Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) on the screen from his pandemic hideout, which is probably no different from he’d be living anyway even without a quarantine.
You can expect the whole cast of the show in tonight’s special, along with a few other surprises from Pawnee. We won’t spoil anything specific, but it’s a sweetly nostalgic callback to one of our favorite sitcoms, all done for a good cause. You can watch the clip below, and the special will air on NBC tonight at 8:30 p.m.