Because, in times of crisis, there’s no better question to ask than this: what would Leslie Knope do?
Leslie Knope, played to perfection by Amy Poehler in Parks And Recreation, is… well, she’s something of an icon to us here at Stylist. After all, she is a hard-working politician, optimist, feminist, and champion of female friendship. What’s not to love, eh?
Sadly, we’ve been without Leslie’s guidance for five years now: the TV show ended its seven-season run in February 2015, and it did so pretty definitively with a series of flash-forwards. Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott) wound up in the White House, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) found a job caring for America’s national parks, and Tom (Aziz Ansari) became a motivational speaker.
Elsewhere, Andy (Chris Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) started a family, Donna (Retta) settled down in Seattle, Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe) moved BACK to Pawnee, Indiana, and Jerry/Garry (Jim O’Heir)… well, he died. But he died aged 100, surrounded by loved ones, and as Pawnee’s mayor, so it was still a happy ending all round.
As we say, it felt like a definitive ending. We feared we’d never see our Pawnee pals reunite on screen again. And yet, throughout this whole coronavirus pandemic, we couldn’t help but wonder: what would Leslie do? How would she bring Pawnee citizens together during the Covid-19 lockdown? And what would she say about Donald Trump’s presidency, for that matter?
Well, now we needn’t wonder, as NBC has announced that the cast of its iconic sitcom Parks And Rec is set to reunite for a half-hour scripted special airing on 30 April.
Almost all the original cast members, including Poehler, Jones, Ansari, Offerman, Plaza, Pratt, Scott, Lowe, O’Heir, and Retta, will be back in character for the special. And they’ve hinted that several guest stars from the original series (we’re thinking Megan Mullally’s Tammy 2 and Ben Schwartz’s Jean-Ralphio) will pop in, too.
The special, spearheaded by co-creator Michael Schur, will help raise money for Feeding America’s Covid-19 Response Fund, and will focus on the lengths that Leslie – famed for her enthusiastic (possibly overbearing) friendship style – will go to in order to stay connected to her pals during the age of social distancing.
“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 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!”
“In such uncertain times, we can’t think of anyone better than Leslie Knope to unite our country with her unbridled enthusiasm and compassion,” said Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment.
“A huge thank you to Mike Schur and the cast of Parks And Recreation for putting this wonderful special together and bringing a smile to all our faces while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”
We genuinely can’t wait to see how Leslie and Ann ‘The Most Beautiful Nurse In All Of Indiana’ Perkins are going to handle lockdown life.
Bring it on!
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.