Graphic by Zeyada Negasi
The cast of the beloved sitcom Parks and Recreation reunited to make a special episode about the coronavirus pandemic that was aired on April 30, 2020. It’s a short 25 minute episode that takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic where all the main characters are talking to each other through a fictional video call app. The episode as a whole is a nice throwback that makes you want to binge the entire show again. It’s generally more of a PSA than actual episode, because it focuses on current issues like maintaining mental health while quarantined.
The episode was a collaboration between NBC Universal, Subaru, and StateFarm to get fundraising for a nonprofit organization FeedingAmerica.org. The goal of Feeding America is to support families that are struggling to buy food because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This special episode was chock full of references from the show, for instance, the fictional “Zoom” app used in the episode showed how many “Gryzzl” points they had in the bottom left of their screen. With this it’s obvious that the app was made by the fictional tech company “Gryzzl” that was featured in the 7th season of Parks and Recreation.
For anyone who may be confused about what the Gryzzl points are, it’s most likely a similar system to a snapchat score, where the more often the user uses the software to chat with others, the more points they get. We know this is the case because characters like Ron Swanson who don’t use social media have very little Gryzzl points, or none at all, while characters like Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle have tons of points. This is just one of many subtle references to the show that make the special that much more enjoyable.
Due to stay at home orders, all of the actors had to film their parts all in their own homes. This most likely made life a lot harder for all the behind the scenes people like the editors and writers, but in the end they produced a surprisingly well polished product given the conditions. But the fact itself that everyone working in the show was stuck inside gave it a much more genuine feel.
Anyone who is locked inside with nothing to do should definitely make sure to watch the episode. I might even leave the viewer with an urge to rewatch the whole show. “A Parks and Recreation Special” can be streamed on Hulu or on NBC’s YouTube channel.