A word of caution: This post contains spoilers for the pretty awesome government sitcom Parks and Recreation. There are seven wonderful seasons, which are highly recommended. You can read this and get a few spoilers, but it won’t ruin the show because the show is all about how stuff happens, not what happens.

It has been just over five years since we last saw Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her fellow government employees from Pawnee, Indiana. Parks and Recreation aired from 2009 to 2015 and brought a light-hearted look into local government with Leslie starring as the over-prepared, pure-hearted go-getter that every town and office needs. On April 30th, Leslie returns to television and will refill our hearts with the hope she represents that we may have lost in recent weeks. 

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The Backstory

Leslie’s noble mission to right the wrongs of the world was the ambitious dream of a young girl intent on following in the footsteps of previous trailblazing women. Miss Knope kept binders upon binders of plans and ideas and always kept photos of her inspirations close at hand. There weren’t many problems for which Leslie hadn’t already thought of a solution, including how to advance in government. Her career spanned from Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee all the way up to President of the Unites States (or First Lady…either way, she ended up in the White House). Based on the timeline set forth in the show’s final episodes, we are, in 2020, about to hit Indiana Governor Knope. She should be in Washington DC working in the Department of the Interior by now.

Leslie Knope began work in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee under the direction of no-nonsense, anti-government Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). She headed a team that started off as a group of four people: the mysterious and private Donna Meagle (Retta); the extravagant and entrepreneurial Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari); the klutzy and eager-to-please, life-long office worker, Jerry (or Gary or Larry) Gergich (Jim O’Heir); and the dark and twisted intern, April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza). As the years went by, her crew grew, gaining former shoe-shiner and musician Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), and pulling in a formerly concerned citizen and nurse, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones). The Parks and Recreation Department resided inside City Hall and worked well alongside all the other departments (except the library), mostly due to Leslie’s refusal to let the Parks Department get pushed around. A (sometimes not-so-) friendly rivalry with the neighboring town also fueled shenanigans.

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Always Relevant 

The scenarios Parks and Recreation posed were common to small town life and yet the antics that ensued provided a comedic relief to the true trials of life. The show, filmed as a faux-reality show like The Office, offered up a fun take on local government where viewers could relate to everything from the people in the office to the mundane inter-office politics and relationships. It provided such a unique perspective, never taking itself too seriously, that once the show was over, fans often wondered ‘how would Parks and Recreation handle this situation?’ When PokemonGo was first released, one fan wrote a twitter episode that is generally accepted by most other fans. After the 2016 presidential election, one of the show’s writers stepped up and penned a letter to America from Leslie. It is no surprise that now, in the time of the social distancing and mandated isolations and quarantines, that people want to know how our favorite Pawnee politician would react. It is quite possible she has a play-by-play written out in a binder on her shelf, too.

Watch the Announcement

The folks at NBC partnered with StateFarm to give us an answer. On Thursday, April 30, Leslie Knope returns in a special episode of Parks and Recreation for charity. They, like the rest of us, are working from home, so what antics could they get up to? We’ll have to tune in to find out. See the official Parks and Recreation tweet announcement below and get ready for “A Parks and Recreation Special” to air next week. What or who are you hoping to see? 

Parks and Recreation stars Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, and has many recurring characters and guest stars in its seven seasons. It can be found streaming online on Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV.

From NBC:
From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC’s “The Office,” “King of the Hill”) and Michael Schur (NBC’s “The Office,” “Saturday Night Live“), “Parks and Recreation” is a hilarious ensemble comedy that follows Leslie Knope (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Amy Poehler, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” “Baby Mama”), a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and her tireless efforts to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun.



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