The amazing cast and creators of Parks and Recreation returned with a half-hour special to help raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response fund.
We got to see our favorite characters deal with quarantine and social distancing measures, and it was everything we could’ve dreamed of and more. Not only did the entire main cast return, but several fan-favorite guest stars made an appearance.
The episode starts out with a message from Bobby Newport, a.k.a. Paul Rudd, explaining the mission behind the special and what we can do to help. He was as charming as ever. Bobby Newport has always been a reflection of Americans who are completely out of touch with the world around them, so it’s not surprising he has no idea what COVID-19 is. Hopefully, someone will explain it to him.
Leslie Knope, on the other hand, is well-aware of COVID-19 and the affects it’s having on the world. She’s closed all the parks in her jurisdiction and is taking her job very seriously. She’s the perfect person to count on at a time like this. She’s even set up a phone tree to make sure all of her best friends are being checked on during this time. Whether or not they want to be checked on is a different story, but it’s impossible to say no to Leslie.
Everything about this special was so perfectly in character. The different ways people were experiencing the quarantine made perfect sense. The magic of Parks and Recreation was always its distinctive characters, and it’s refreshing to see how well it holds up five years later. Time flies, but it feels like we never left Pawnee.
Most of the episode takes place in a video-call format, which lends really well to filming an episode about quarantine while everyone’s actually in it. They had to be a bit creative to explain why the show’s married couples weren’t in the same room, but they pulled it off.
Andy locked himself in his shed and refused to ask for April’s help getting out. That’s very typical Andy Dwyer. Bert Macklin would never accept defeat. I wish we got to see more of April in the special, but a thirty-minute time slot kept most characters’ appearances pretty short.
Chris Pratt also reprised his role as Johnny Karate, beloved Pawnee children star. We may not be able to karate chop the virus away, but at least he’s still trying to motivate the kids! Johnny Karate assured us that things will get back to normal eventually, anywhere from a week from now to a couple of hundred years or so. Hopefully, the former.
Parks and Recreation explained that Ann and Chris were quarantined in separate parts of their home because Ann had gone back to work as a nurse. The healthcare system needs all the help they can get, so it adds up that Ann would be back out on the front lines. Chris is quite literally the healthiest man alive, but he wouldn’t want to risk exposure for him or their children. Especially since he’s now been selected for testing to help build the vaccine. His red blood cells are apparently so large they can be seen with the naked eye, so if we could bottle his immunity, we’d all be set. Sadly, Chris Traeger isn’t real, but maybe Parks and Rec is onto something about Megan Rapinoe…
Ben and Leslie’s separation was a bit harder to explain, but it ended up being boiled down to Leslie’s need to work during this pandemic. She does her video calls from the office whenever she gets a break, while Ben’s at home with the kids. Unfortunately, this isolation has taken a toll on Ben. That’s right, he’s making more claymation.
Requiem for a Tuesday was a cry for help if I’ve ever seen one, so it’s safe to say the quarantine was affecting his mental state. He comes around by the end of the special, but Leslie might need to keep an eye on him! It was genius for the writers to bring back claymation and The Cones of Dunshire to show how Ben’s doing. His short film is one of the most referenced jokes from the show’s seven-season run, and it was inevitable that all of this time alone would make Ben revert back to his most useless habit. We’ve all found ourselves reaching new levels of boredom the longer quarantine goes on, but I beg, please do not make a claymation film.
Tom and Donna’s parts in the special showed the two are still treating themselves the best they can in a pandemic. They’re pretending to go on a beach vacation now, but I’m sure they’ll go on a real one as soon as this all ends.
Ron ran away to his cabin with Dianne and the kids when Tammy II shows up. It’s convenient that Ron and Tammy II’s actors are married in real life, so they were able to be a bit more creative with that storyline. Their violent relationship has always been horrifying to watch, but it’s nothing if not hilarious. And Ron’s right, the wolves should be scared if she’s loose in the woods.
We also got to see brief appearances from recurring characters like Joan Callamezzo, Perd Hapley, Jean-Ralphio, and more. It’s nice how many actors came back for the special on such short notice.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Parks and Recreation special without Li’l Sebastian. Ron got the whole gang together (virtually) to surprise Leslie with Mouse Rat’s hit single, “5,000 Candles In The Wind.” The tribute song would make anyone cry (unless you’re Ben), and it certainly warmed Leslie’s heart, as well as the rest of ours.
Parks and Rec came back exactly when we needed it most. It was such a special show, and hopefully, this won’t be the last time the cast reunites. Under better circumstances, another reunion special would be a great idea. We miss you, Pawnee!
Oh, and as for Jerry’s appearance-
Manifest Review – Wingman (3×03)
A Peacock, peacock feathers, ancient Egyptians — what does it all have to do with Flight 828?
We’ve been asking ourselves that question for two seasons, but on Manifest Season 3 Episode 3, the mythology begins to bubble up to the surface.
It’s promising a sign that we aren’t completely abandoning the symbolism because it’s part of a larger plan.
However, we’re kind of past the point of continuously seeing the peacock without any context. Audiences want to know how it fits into the overall mystery of the plane’s return.
We find comfort in knowing that there is a piece of the puzzle out there just waiting to be found that may provide some of the answers we’re seeking.
The Callings tried to lead Ben to the papyrus, but sadly, Eagan decided to dispose of it while pawning off some of the other artifacts he stole from the storage unit.
Even without the papyrus’ missing piece, we know the peacock is a symbol for two things: immortality and resurrection.
Younger Review – Risky Business (7×04)
Who knew it was possible to hate Quinn more than we already do?
For much of Younger Season 7 Episode 4, Quinn was actually quite tolerable.
Her book proposal was good, she was goofing off with the employees, and her birthday Dave and Busters outing (shameless promo!) showed off a new side to her we’ve never seen.
However, it was all part of her big plan to schmooze up to Kelsey, Lauren, and Charles.
And then she quite literally schmoozed Charles before establishing that she was “the boss’s girlfriend” to Liza.
She then had the nerve to threaten her job by saying that if she didn’t get along with her, Charles would surely fire Liza.
I’ve never thought of Charles as a fool, but he’s definitely foolish for falling for any and all of Quinn’s tricks. I mean, seriously? How does he not see through all her manipulative tactics? Men are so blind sometimes.
It’s unclear how this will affect Charles and Liza’s working relationship moving forward, or if Charles even knows that Quinn is telling everyone she’s his new girlfriend.
Maybe Empirical should just cool it on the office romances?
Liza spent the episode bonding with Kai Mannings, the surf legend, who scored a $400,000 publishing deal with Empirical.
Her job was to ensure that the book would have some of Kai’s greatest stories, and I’ll be honest, all of the ideas she pitched during their meeting were pretty great.
But Kai seemed way more interested in sleeping with her than actually working on his book, which should’ve been Liza’s tell from the start.
Instead, she was charmed by his accent, his body, and his free spirit. And since she felt so crummy about her breakup, she decided to go for it, which she immediately regretted shortly after because it turns out, Kai was kind of a womanizer.
Not only was he surfing all over the world, but his journals revealed he was also sleeping with a ton of women all over the world.
Liza just added herself to the pile.
The whole situation with Kai reminded me of Sebastian (played by Matthew Morrison), the guy who was a little too close with his sheep!
Liza and Kelsey proved, once again, that they are great at their jobs by taking Kai’s nude artwork and pitching it as a sex guide with surf terms for positions titled “The Kama Surf-tra.” Brilliant.
If there’s one thing we know for certain it’s that nudity always sells.
With this being the final season, it’s kind of annoying that the series continues creating issues for Liza and Charles instead of just letting them be happy.
After six seasons, I think the final outcome will just be that Liza chooses to love herself. It’s the only fitting outcome.
Josh and KT, the music assistant he met at this tattoo parlor, heated up pretty quickly.
And Lauren and Kelsey had a front-row seat to the show. (I’ll never unsee Hilary Duff imitating turtle orgasms!)
Josh deserves love more than anyone. He’s one of the most vulnerable characters on the series, but he’s been screwed over by romantic partners more times than anyone can count.
The bliss with KT lasted a whole half a day before she revealed that she doesn’t want any kids, which poses quite a bit of an issue for Josh and Gemma.
This relationship is bound to fizzle out before it even began!
While this episode still had that Younger magic, it’s my least favorite one this season.
Everyone — Liza, Kelsey, Josh, Charles — has to figure out what they want out of life once and for all.
The season is supposed to be the most “mature” ever, but the constant relationship drama feels like we’re just rehashing the same storylines we’ve already seen.
Are you digging this season? What did you think of the episode?
Younger Review – With Every Loss Comes Unexpected Opportunity (7×03)
We all know the saying: when one door closes, another opens. And that couldn’t be more true for Liza Miller.
Liza was feeling a bit down after her split from Charles, but that quickly took a turn when surf legend Kai Mannings walked through the doors of Empirical.
The duo had an immediate connection, which Charles was very much aware of.
It’s not like Liza was looking for someone else to vibe with, but things just sort of progressed throughout the episode when he wanted to get to know his potential editor on a personal level.
The duo hit it off during Empirical’s rebranding party and continued to get to know each other afterward.
Mostly, Liza loved that Kai supported her decision not to get married. He also championed it and understood her desire not to be domesticated.
Seeing Liza vibe with someone so free-spirited underscores the fact that she wasn’t ready to commit fully to the “family” unit that Charles wanted.
And that indicates that they made the right decision to break up.
I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that Liza has struggled to make up her mind when it comes to what she wants out of life. She’s flip-flopped from Charles to Josh more times than we can count, and looking at her history, it makes sense.
Liza doesn’t want to be tied down in the kind of relationship she had with her ex-husband.
It’s not clear if she’ll have a quick rendezvous with Kai or if they’ll just be good friends, but I imagine we’ll see Charles’ jealousy a lot more.
And, in turn, we’ll see Liza jealous of Quinn, who has now officially scored a book deal with Empirical.
Charles really doesn’t see how Quinn manipulates him, which is frustrating. But it was also a low blow that he signed off on the deal without waiting for any input from Liza, Kelsey, or even Lauren, who is proving to be quite an asset to the company.
And it’s even more of a low blow if he expects Liza to be Quinn’s editor considering their fraught relationship.
Liza’s outburst towards Charles was slightly overexaggerated considering he wasn’t romantically linked to or interested in Quinn while in Chicago, even if it may have seemed that way, nor did he want to end things because he had a backup option.
In fact, Charles was so quick to end things with Liza when he realized they were on different pages because he thought he never really had her whole heart.
I love that Maggie came through and informed him how sorely mistaken he was.
Will he regret his decision now when it may be too late?
Liza and Charles weren’t the only two with prospective new love interests as Josh vibed with a woman who walked into his tattoo shop and worked with celebrity Floatie V.
You’d think Liza and Josh would come rushing back to each other following the breakup, but I’m kind of digging that they’re branching out and meeting new people.
At this point, Josh seems very much friend-zoned by Liza.
As I mentioned before, Empirical is thriving with Lauren on board. She’s no Diana, but she’s really killing it in the marketing department. Charles would be a fool not to hire her permanently.
Other Stray Thoughts
- This line was something that was said out loud: “I have to drop a deuce, but I can do it here or there.”
- Zane is now the publisher of Grove Atlantic, which infuriated Kelsey enough to scream in a wine cellar with Liza. What does that mean for future episodes though? I guess we’ll find out.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
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