The 'Parks and Rec' Cast Busts Out an Old Favorite for Their Reunion Special

Everyone came back for one last hurrah to support a COVID relief fund.

One of the not-unwelcome side effects of the ongoing global crisis is that it has people reaching out to one another. And in the entertainment industry, that means a bunch of virtual cast reunions. But easily the most high profile digital get together brought Parks and Recreation back to NBC for a one night only special aimed at benefitting Feeding America

The "episode" didn't really have much of a plot. It was just an excuse to see Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe), Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), Donna (Retta), Tom (Aziz Ansari), and, yes, even Garry or Jerry or whatever his name is (Jim O'Heir) back together again. Leslie's working hard to keep everyone safe from her post at the Department of the Interior, but she also finds time to make all her old Pawnee pals keep in touch via phone tree. What follows is a series of callbacks to beloved bits and characters, written by creator Mike Schur and former staffers like Megan Amram and Joe Mande.

Ben's losing it a little in quarantine and has reverted back to claymation and his Letters of Cleo t-shirt. Tom's still spitting out entrepreneurial ideas. Ron is sequestered away in his cabin, a king of social distancing. April and Andy are roleplaying Burt Macklin, FBI. The writers came up with workarounds to explain why couples that are married -- like Chris and Ann -- are not in the same rooms, and left room for an extended Ya Heard? With Perd! sequence, featuring the over-explanatory newsman Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson). Perd's show-within-a-show featured "ads" that allowed some other familiar faces to pop up, including Jason Mantzoukas' Dennis Feinstein and Ben Schwartz's Jean-Ralphio Saperstein. Basically everyone was there, down to Ron's ex-wife Tammy 2. (Of course, considering Offerman and Megan Mullally are married, it would have been odd if she didn't worm her way in there somewhere.) 

But, most importantly, it all culminated in a singalong of -- what else? -- the unofficial Parks anthem "5,000 Candles in the Wind," Andy's ode to Li'l Sebastian, that dearly departed mini horse. The special is up in full on YouTube and at NBC.com.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.