Tonight at 8:30 Eastern, “Parks and Recreation” airs its first new episode since the Olympics, as well as the first new episode since Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe left the cast. It’s terrific – the best one they’ve done since the season premiere – and I’ll have a review of it up after it ends on the East Coast.
And though Chris Traeger may be gone from Pawnee, the show just landed literally its most famous guest star ever, as it was announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will cameo in the season finale. Her scene in the episode, titled “Moving Up,” was, according to NBC, “filmed in late February in Miami where she celebrated investments in healthier out-of-school programs as part of her ‘Let”s Move’ initiative dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity.”
“Parks” has previously welcomed Vice-President Joe Biden (aka Leslie’s top celebrity sex crush) and Senators John McCain, Olympia Snowe and Barbara Boxer to play themselves and interact with Leslie Knope. This isn’t Mrs. Obama’s first sitcom appearance – back in 2012, she guest-starred on her daughter’s favorite show, “iCarly” – nor is she the first sitting First Lady who has played herself on an NBC sitcom to promote an issue she cares about. In the ’80s, Nancy Reagan memorably stopped by “Diff’rent Strokes” as part of her famous “Just Say ‘No’ to Drugs” campaign(*).
(*) This is the point where I remind you of the No Politics part of this blog’s commenting rules. If this turns into a discussion of the First Lady and/or her husband, pro or con, comments get deleted.
Though “Parks” hasn’t been renewed yet, the First Lady’s episode will not likely be the series finale. Last month, Fienberg goaded Bob Greenblatt into making a non-legally binding statement that the show will be on the schedule next season.