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‘Parks and Rec’ reunion: Fans left emotional after coronavirus special

WATCH: A reunited 'Parks and Rec' cast performs '5,000 Candles in the Wind' on NBC's 'A Parks and Recreation Special.'

Parks and Recreation fans were treated to one more huzzah in the fictional city of Pawnee, Ind., Thursday night when the sitcom returned for a one-off, scripted fundraiser episode to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, however, the eclectic cast — which includes Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Retta, Jim O’Heir and Chris Pratt — was filmed from the comfort of their homes, making it a social-distancing-themed episode.

Throughout the episode, viewers were encouraged to donate to Feeding America, a charity that provides food and aid to food banks and those in need in the United States.

Together with State Farm, Subaru of America and NBC, the cast and crew behind Parks and Rec donated a total of US$500,000 to the foundation before airing the highly anticipated special.

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(L-R) Michael Schur, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and Aziz Ansari attend the NBC ‘Parks And Recreation’ 100th episode celebration held at CBS Studios, Radford on Oct. 16, 2013 in Studio City, Calif. JB Lacroix/WireImage

The special, dubbed A Parks and Recreation Special, served as the entire cast’s first time on screen together in more than five years and even saw the return of some fan-favourite secondary characters.

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From political mess Bobby Newport (portrayed by Paul Rudd) to Tom Haverford’s (Ansari) bizarre best friend Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), fans were bombarded with cameos from some of Pawnee’s finest.

Dennis Feinstein, the manic businessman played by Jason Mantzoukas, made a brief comeback, too, as well as Andy Dwyer’s (Pratt) alter ego, Johnny Karate.

Even the peculiar news broadcaster Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) made an appearance, along with the eccentric morning TV host Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins).

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Furthermore, Ron Swanson’s (Offerman) second ex-wife Tammy, or “Tammy II” — played by the actor’s real-life wife, Megan Mullally — also made a surprise return.

Continuing to pull on the heartstrings of the show’s loyal fanbase, creator Michael Schur ensured that Li’l Sebastian, Pawnee’s deceased iconic miniature horse, was honoured in the 30-minute extravaganza.

Paying tribute to the little creature, the cast united for an emotional musical performance of the Mouse Rat classic 5,000 Candles in the Wind.

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Despite the unique video call setting, the episode was a raging success among fans, leaving many overcome with emotion.

Longtime supporters of the show took to social media, not only expressing their excitement and feelings of nostalgia but sharing some of their favourite memories from the episode and the seven-season-long show.

Here’s what some fans had to say about A Parks and Recreation Special on Twitter:

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Another fan of the series shared the updated rendition of 5,000 Candles in the Wind along with an honest take about how the show helps them get by in life.

“Sometimes I’m like… ‘My happiness shouldn’t rely on TV shows in the way it does, [but] then I see things like this and I get why I depend on them #ParksandRecreation,” they tweeted.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau announces $1.1 billion for COVID-19 vaccine research – Apr 23, 2020

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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