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‘Parks and Recreation’ Will Return for a COVID-19 Benefit Special

And it's airing next week!


No friends, no waffles, and no work; Leslie Knope would not do well under quarantine. But on the other hand, she loves a monumental challenge, and COVID-19 is definitely a colossal challenge worthy of a whole shelf of multi-inch binders.

Fans of Parks and Recreation won’t be left to wonder about these questions in their spare isolated moments. That’s because the beloved NBC sitcom, which aired its finale in 2015, is coming back for a one-off special to benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

“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,” said executive producer Michael Schur. “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 episode will be a ripped-from-the-headlines story about Leslie’s determination to stay connected with her friends while social distancing. Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta are all participating, and according to Pratt’s Instagram they’ve already shot the episode from their respective homes, SNL at Home-style.

And speaking of Chris Pratt, it’s kind of great that the actor is returning to his roots as pudgy, bumbling shoeshiner-musician-security guard-children’s TV personality Andy Dwyer. Parks and Rec made him big before, you know, he got big. It will be interesting to see how the Chris Pratt who hasn’t appeared in a movie with a budget under nine figures in years adapts to the relatively small stage, but we bet he pulls it off with characteristic grace.

“A Parks and Recreation Special” will air on NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET next Thursday, April 30.