• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 30, 2020
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    May 1, 2020
    100
    It all felt honest, made with love. There was never any sense that the actors had been away from their characters for five years, or of shoehorning old material into a weirdly shaped new box. It was pure Leslie Knope, addressing the real emergency by raising money, addressing the series by staying true to its spirit, and addressing the audience as part of the community.
  2. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    May 1, 2020
    100
    It was everything fans of the sweet, hopeful and hilarious series could have hoped for in this time of great need. ... The special captured the essence of the series and the mood of the current crisis perfectly, as the actors easily slipped back into old characters and offered each other (and viewers) support during tough times.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    May 1, 2020
    100
    In just 23 minutes, we catch up with so many characters, and not a single moment disappoints.
  4. Reviewed by: Adam Chitwood
    May 1, 2020
    100
    Absolutely spot on. Usually these kinds of reunion specials are a bit hackneyed or forced, but watching this Parks and Recreation special felt like home. Not a beat was missed.
  5. Reviewed by: Dennis Perkins
    May 1, 2020
    91
    The episode manages to give us just enough of what we want in the way of catchup, while managing to, with a minimum of observable effort, deliver a very Leslie Knope-esque message about what do to when things seem the bleakest. With such a breakneck pace of pop-ins and jokes, it’s hard not to spoil the enjoyment in the telling, but everybody’s doing about as you’d have expected when the show left them.
  6. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    May 1, 2020
    90
    The “Parks and Recreation” special made the most of its brisk running time, packing in lovely moments for the characters, and gently delivering the message that we need to take care of our emotional and mental health as we quarantine during these anxious times.
  7. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 1, 2020
    90
    The whole episode was well-executed, heartfelt fan service. ... But all the shout-outs didn’t feel like pandering so much as gifts from the team that worked on the series and wanted to do something nice for the people who love and miss it.
  8. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    May 1, 2020
    90
    So is “Parks and Recreation” too light and sunny to deal with this moment? It may be the classic comedy that’s just light and sunny enough — in part because that lightness has always been grounded, however subtly, in reality. ... This made for a better kind of very special episode. “Parks” didn’t return for half an hour to tell us what to think; it helped us feel what we feel.
  9. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    May 1, 2020
    90
    The special is a fun-with-characters piece, not quite the sitcom-Wire of yore. Still, I admire how Schur curls our pandemic reality back to the foundational Parks and Recreation saga of civil service in the face of overwhelming odds. ... A Parks and Recreation Special is a genuine return from one of the best TV series ever made. In a strange way, the sitcom’s faux-documentary structure lends itself well to the videoconferencing conceit.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew Bloom
    May 1, 2020
    83
    “A Parks and Recreation Special” was not the greatest episode of Parks and Rec there’s ever been. The cast and crew are mainly apt to just play the old favorites and make you smile rather than telling a brand new story with fresh material. ... Groundbreaking or not, we need that warmth and that hope now more than ever and, with a characteristically good cause, “A Parks and Recreation Special” more than delivered.
  11. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    May 1, 2020
    80
    Parks and Rec delivered to its fans what the show is famous for: Hope, sweetness, enthusiasm, and light comedy.
  12. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    May 1, 2020
    80
    The commercial parodies are funny (particularly a lonely Jean-Ralphio begging people to call him), and there are a few inspired jokes about life at a remove from one another. ... Mostly, though, Schur and company lean on what we already know about the characters.
  13. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    May 1, 2020
    80
    In the end, despite the social distancing that the reunion had no choice but to depict, Parks is exactly as we left it five years ago: light, funny, comforting but willfully naive, and ultimately more appealing for its cast and the chemistry they’ve somehow retained than it is convincing in its worldview.
  14. Reviewed by: Adam White
    May 1, 2020
    60
    This was a special that was lightly funny, technically splendid and made for a good cause (money raised, and then matched by a number of corporate sponsors, went to Feeding America’s Covid-19 fund). It was impossible to dislike – even if it was inescapably melancholy.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 26
  2. Negative: 4 out of 26
  1. May 3, 2020
    5
    As a fan of the series this special is very forgettable. Not worth your time. I don't know what the critics watched that gave this a highAs a fan of the series this special is very forgettable. Not worth your time. I don't know what the critics watched that gave this a high rating. All the actors did a good job...it just wasn't very funny or entertaining. Maybe I am just sick of video conferencing in general...and that is all this episode is. Full Review »
  2. May 2, 2020
    6
    I'm a bit mixed on this one. I really thought that maybe they were planning to drop a Parks and Rec revival series on Peacock this summer soI'm a bit mixed on this one. I really thought that maybe they were planning to drop a Parks and Rec revival series on Peacock this summer so they decided to release the first episode on TV kinda like how NBC (or is it CBS?) drops the first episode of an upcoming show on YouTube for free. To me, while the special retains the spirit of the show via a Zoom meeting, some of the performances and jokes make me feel like I was walking through the line of a Parks and Rec ride and everytime you enter a new room, another returning cast member is there to greet you, I mean the episode even ends like a ride (most specifically the Despicable Me ride) everyone gathers around and the most iconic song plays (for DM it was that Pharell song). Overall, it's quite a nostalgic experience, but it isn't a strong one. Full Review »
  3. May 3, 2020
    7
    Decently funny. Joan, Jean-Ralphio, Jamm and Bobby Newport all elicited a laugh/chuckle from me. Feels like they're trying very hard toDecently funny. Joan, Jean-Ralphio, Jamm and Bobby Newport all elicited a laugh/chuckle from me. Feels like they're trying very hard to recreate the magic from the show with some success. Felt a little forced in some places. Overall worth a watch. Full Review »