Fans of Parks and Recreation received an unexpected surprise last week when Amy Poehler announced during a Twitter video that the cast will be back for an upcoming Quarantine Reunion Special to support Feeding America, but apparently, that’s only the first of many surprises.
While talking to TV Line about the logistics of quickly reuniting the cast while everyone is social distancing, Parks and Rec showrunner Mike Schur made it clear that the show will feature an assortment of unexpected guests literally out of the gate.
“Part of the fun of [Parks and Rec] in general and of the special will be unexpected people who are part of this world popping up,” executive producer Mike Schur said in a Tuesday press conference. And while he won’t confirm or deny any rumored cameos, “There are probably half a dozen… familiar faces who pop up at one point or another” — including in the special’s opening seconds.
“The first face you see on camera will not be one of the 10 main cast members,” Schur teased. “And that sets the tone for the show.”
According to Schur, including Rashida Jones’ character Ann Perkins was a particularly tricky situation because, as fans will remember, she is a nurse, which immediately raised questions about why she wouldn’t be on the “front lines” of the pandemic. To keep things upbeat, the show creators came up with a solution that Ann works in outpatient care now because, more than anything, Schur wants the special to be “optimistic” and really emphasize one of Leslie Knope’s most endearing qualities: Her sense of hope.
A Parks and Rec Reunion Special will air Thursday on NBC and feature cast members Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir and Retta. Proceeds from the event will go to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, “which enables food banks to provide food and resources to the most vulnerable members of the community during this difficult time.”