The “Parks and Rec” Special Episode is Heartwarming and Hilarious

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The gang reunites on a special episode of Parks and Rec (Photo/ Variety)

Nikita Bhardwaj, Print Opinions Editor

Parks and Recreation can be compared to comfort food: it’s warm, radiates good vibes, and exists to make you feel better. The recent Parks and Rec special certainly holds up to this standard. The 30-minute episode follows the beloved Parks and Rec crew through a “phone tree” (one person calls someone, who calls someone else, etc.). This is Leslie Knope’s innovative method of staying in touch during the pandemic, which inevitably results in hilarity. We see how each of the characters are holding up during quarantine and are given many ridiculous rationales as to why married characters are calling from separate devices. My personal favorite excuse has to be Andy’s: he (in typical Andy fashion) accidentally locked himself in his and April’s garden shed for two days, refusing to ask for assistance because “Bert Macklin, FBI, doesn’t ask for help.” Another favorite line of mine came from Ron Swanson, the libertarian misanthrope, who seemed to be living the dream in isolation: “I’ve been practicing social distancing since I was four years old.” 

The episode is packed with Pawnee’s most beloved faces, some of which include Joan Calamezzo, Perd Hapley, and Mayor Gary Gergich (whom everyone still avoids, even virtually) ). Eventually, the whole gang comes together on an 8-person call to cheer up Leslie, who spent so much time worrying about everyone else that she neglected herself. Andy belts his famous number, “5,000 Candles in the Wind,” a tribute to the late Li’l Sebastian (Pawnee’s one and only town pony), as the whole cast sings along with him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears at this point. In short, the Parks and Rec special lived up to the expectations of its loyal  fans: — along with its wholesome and funny content, it promoted friendship and mental health during these troubled times. These values are so important right now, and it was heartwarming to see all of my favorite characters back together again. In a well-meaning, if confusing, message to his audience, Andy forecast the end of the pandemic, “It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, and it might not be next week. It might not be a year, 100 years, or 1000 years. It might never happen! But it will, eventually.” It’s easy to forget that these hard times will end eventually, but the Parks and Rec special reminds us that staying in touch, laughing with one another, staying healthy, and doing what we can to help get through these challenging times is immensely important.

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