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‘Parks and Recreation’ cast reunites for a new pandemic episode

Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt and their co-stars will show the effects of COVID-19 on Pawnee, Indiana.

Aziz Ansari (from left), Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and Nick Offerman appear on the first episode of “Parks and Recreation” in 2009.
NBC

America is about to see how the coronavirus pandemic is handled by a truly dedicated public official: Leslie Knope.

NBC announced Thursday that a new episode of “Parks and Recreation,” airing next week, will depict the ways quarantine is affecting life in Knope’s hometown of Pawnee, Indiana.

Amy Poehler, who played Knope for the show’s full run from 2009 to 2015, will return along with a bevy of the sitcom’s regulars, including Rashida Jones (as Ann Perkins), Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford), Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate), Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer), Adam Scott (Ben Wyatt), Rob Lowe (Chris Traeger), Jim O’Heir (Garry “Jerry” Gergich) and Retta (Donna Meagle).

“A Parks and Recreation Special” will air at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30. NBC’s announcement said the plot will concern Knope’s determination “to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing.”

The show aims to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund to help community food banks. NBC parent NBC Universal, the “Parks and Recreation” team and sponsors State Farm and Subaru of America have pledged to match $500,000 in donations.

“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!”

“Parks and Rec” will be the first prime-time, scripted broadcast show to touch on the coronavirus situation. CBS’ freshman courtroom drama “All Rise” shot an episode that finds Judge Lola Carmichael (Simone Missick) presiding over a virtual trial, and it is scheduled to air May 4.