NBC has had a string of hit comedies, and several of them can be credited to the creative work of Michael Schur. The former SNL writer is one of the minds behind immensely popular comedies such as The Office and the creator of recent hits like The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Among Schur’s beloved works is the fan-favorite Parks and Recreation, a comedy that followed the day-to-day operations of a municipal government in small-town Indiana.
It’s been five years since the series wrapped with its seventh and final season. The cast did a brief — and socially distant — reunion special earlier in 2020. But what has the cast been up to otherwise?
Amy Poehler played Leslie Knope
Amy Poehler was the driving force behind the ensemble cast of Parks and Rec. Her tenacious and boldly optimistic Leslie Knope was the glue that held everyone together. Since the show’s finale — with a hint that Leslie might’ve finally become U.S. president — Poehler has been keeping busy.
She voiced the animated character Joy in the Disney film Inside Out. Poehler also co-hosts (with fellow Parks and Rec alum Nick Offerman) NBC’s craft competition show Making It, Entertainment Weekly reports. She voices the lead character in the animated series Duncanville and, NBC reports, and has been tapped to co-host the 2021 Golden Globes alongside frequent collaborator Tina Fey.
Nick Offerman played Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson was Leslie Knope’s foil and close friend whose grumpy demeanor and fierce independent streak made him a great straight man for the jokes on Parks and Rec. Since the series’ conclusion, Nick Offerman, who portrayed Ron Swanson, has likewise kept busy.
In addition to co-hosting Making It with Poehler, he’s had steady film and TV appearances, including Hearts Beat Loud and the miniseries Devs, according to IMDb. He’s been tapped to star in the upcoming film Butterfly in the Typewriter, which is in pre-production and aims to tell the real-life tale of writer John Kennedy Toole.
Aubrey Plaza played April Ludgate
Parks and Rec was an early role for Aubrey Plaza, who portrayed the sarcastic April Ludgate. Since the show ended, Plaza has continued to make waves with a steady list of appearances, including the comedy Dirty Grandpa, and stints as historical figures (such as Cleopatra and Aaron Burr) for Drunk History.
She has multiple upcoming projects, but her most recent headlines have been about her fan-favorite role in the new holiday film Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart and Dan Levy.
Chris Pratt played Andy Dwyer
Chris Pratt is probably the Parks and Rec alum with the biggest glow-up. On the series, he played the bumbling and affable Andy Dwyer, a perpetual man-child who never quite knew what was going on but who was full of heart.
Since the series’ conclusion, he’s become a film actor with a major presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, the filming of Guardians of the Galaxy coincided with Parks and Rec‘s conclusion, so the show wrote in a location change to keep him onboard. His role as Peter Quill/Star-Lord continues to be a major part of his career, with Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in production.
Aziz Ansari played Tom Haverford
On Parks and Rec, Tom Haverford was a slick-talking schemer always looking for his big break. Aziz Ansari, who played Tom, looked to be on the rise. He was starring in his own TV show, Master of None, and making waves on the comedy scene.
But a scandal regarding a disturbing sexual encounter stunted his rise to the top. He had a comedy special on Netflix after the controversy surfaced, but he’s been much quieter in the aftermath.
Retta played Donna Meagle
Donna Meagle was the Parks Department employee best known for her expensive taste and revolving door of suitors. Mononymous comedian Retta, who played Donna, went on to star in NBC’s Good Girls. On the crime drama, she plays Ruby, one-third of a trio of women who find themselves unexpectedly caught up in the crime world when they make some questionable choices to get out of sticky financial situations.
She also played the mother in the home-movie version of The Princess Bride, which provided some much-needed comic relief during the pandemic.