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Here's how to "treat yo self" to the Parks and Recreation special (Update)
Update: May 1, 2020 – The Parks and Recreation special is now available for subscribers of Hulu to watch on demand. It’s also available on the NBC app and NBC.com (with ads) and on the NBC YouTube channel.
In this age of COVID-19, a ton of people are either forced to stay at home or want to remain inside, for work or play. If there is any silver lining to this tragic time, it’s caused the main creators and stars of one of the best TV sitcoms of all time to come back together, remotely, for a one-shot special. Yes, Parks and Recreation is returning for this special episode, which will also be used to help raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
So how do you watch the Parks and Recreation reunion special, especially if you have cut the cord and don’t have a regular TV antenna? Let’s take a look.
What is Parks and Recreation?
In case you are unfamiliar with this workplace sitcom, Parks and Recreation originally ran for seven seasons on NBC, from 2009 to 2015. The show was co-created by Greg Daniels, who also co-created the US version of The Office, alongside Mike Schur, one of the writers on that same sitcom. Indeed, NBC originally asked Daniels to create a true spin-off of The Office, but he and Schur could not come up with a good concept.
Instead, they decided to keep the same format of The Office (a workplace comedy told through the viewpoint of an unseen documentary crew), but set it inside the small government Parks and Recreation offices of the fictional Pawnee, Indiana. Amy Poehler, fresh off her highly popular stint on Saturday Night Live, was cast in the lead role of Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the department. The show, after a slow start, became bigger ratings and critical hit after its second season. It also made stars of several of its cast members. That included Nick Offerman, who played no-nonsense parks director Ron Swanson, Aubrey Plaza as the apathetic assistant to Swanson April Ludgate, Chris Pratt as her dim-witted husband Andy Dwyer, and Aziz Ansari as department employee Tom Haverford. Later, major TV and film star Rob Lowe joined the series as the very positive Pawnee City Manager Chris Traeger.
Where can I watch the original series?
At the moment, you can stream the entire seven seasons of Parks and Recreation on a number of streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. However, those streaming services will soon lose their rights to the show, as NBCUniversal brings Parks and Recreation back “home” as it were. It will be exclusive for the upcoming Peacock streaming service in October 2020.
What will the new reunion special be all about?
According to an interview with Mike Schur on Deadline, the idea for the special came about to help raise money for a COVID-19 charity. The first idea for a simple table read with the cast was later scrapped. Instead, Schur decided to create an original episode with the main characters of the sitcom getting together by remote conferencing software. A script was written with members of the show’s original writing team, and the main cast, including Poehler, Offerman, Plaza, Pratt, Ansari, Lowe, Adam Scott, Jim O’Heir, Rashida Jones, and Retta, all agreed to return. Other, currently unknown, side characters that have appeared in the original series will also appear in the one-shot special.
Fans of the show will remember that the final episode took a time jump from 2017 to 2065, where we see the future lives of most of the main characters. Schur has confirmed that the special does take place in 2020 so we will see a glimpse of what happened in between the events of the final episode.
When and where can I watch the Parks and Recreation reunion special?
The special will air on Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 pm Eastern time on NBC. If you don’t have an old-fashioned antenna, or a cable or satellite subscription, here’s how to watch the special on streaming services live.
1. Sling TV
Sling TV is perhaps your best bet to “treat yo self” to the Parks and Recreation special without hopefully having to spend any money. Right now, the service is offering a coronavirus-themed promotion where it will let new users watch live TV from 5 p.m. to midnight Eastern time for free. You don’t even have to type in any credit card info. Just type in your email address, whatever password you want to use, and your zip code. Then just sign into the service during those hours and you can watch over 50 live TV channels, via the Sling Blue package, for free.
The list of channels you can watch during “Happy Hour” includes NBC stations in select markets.
If you decide to get Sling TV beyond the Happy Hour promotion, you can sign up for Sling Blue for the introductory price of $20 for the first month. After that, the price goes up to $30 a month, or you can sign up for both Sling Blue or Sling Orange for $45 a month.
2. Hulu with Live TV
3. YouTube TV
4. AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now offers access to NBC along with HBO and over 45 other live TV channels for the price of $65 a month. There’s no free trial, unfortunately.
FuboTV costs $54.99 a month and you can access NBC for that price, along with over 90 other live TV channels. There’s also a 7-day free trial that you can cancel before the trial period ends.
Where can I stream the special after it airs?
If you can’t watch it live, you will likely be able to stream the Parks and Recreation reunion special the day after it airs on Hulu.
What is the charity that is being promoted during the special?
The Parks and Recreation reunion special is being organized as a fundraiser for Feeding America. IThe non-profit organization helps to fund over 200 food banks in the US that feed tens of millions of people in need. With millions of people now laid off as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the need to help families and children with access to food is even more urgent.