The aspect of doing reunions has become sort of “to-do” aspect to do the past couple weeks but technology tends to get in the way. There does need to be a bit of planning to do it well and it can be done. The question becomes how to do it and do it right without losing track or what once was or being mean spirited. “Parks & Recreation” was never about that but it tended to walk the line depending on what aspect of intention Leslie Knope wanted to pursue. The gang (the actors and creators) reunited for the aspect of charity (specifically “Feeding America“). And even though all the actors have gone on to other things, it is interesting to see how easily they can settle back in with each other as these characters but also the love they still bring to them.
The story is simple and effective and works on those merits. Leslie simply wants to do a phone loop to make sure that everyone is alright every day. Ron (obviously Nick Offerman) plays the right pitch as always but what comes through even more maybe than the original episodes is the heart in such a short time. Not wanting to give too much away, especially since it is only the half hour, is that it finds way to balance out just between doing phone tag and little bits. The inclusion of would-be commercials is ingenious and perfectly balances within Pawnee’s structure as well as the episode. Who knows where Chris Pratt was actually shooting (but it is perfect Andy) while it makes total sense why he is not in the house with April.
Even in a short time, you see where the relationships are, how they evolved and those little idiosyncrasies that fold into the story. But ultimately it is about heart and the wrap-up completely plays into that with nostalgia, texture and a bit of schmaltz which is perfectly what “Parks & Rec” was and what it stood for. Bravo to the players for both participating but also the creatives for understanding the balance and finding the right way. It is not a normal episode nor should it be but it shows the creative community adapting, looking out but also reaffirming the aspect of even if you are isolating, people are all around you, especially the ones that care. Well done. Still feel bad for Gary.
By Tim Wassberg