Every episode of Saturday Night Live has the potential to turn into a reunion. Former cast members pop in for cameos all the time. But it’s not every week the show serves as a get-together of performers from another series. And it’s even rarer for SNL to give us both at the same time, like it did in its first episode of 2023. Host Aubrey Plaza stopped by Weekend Update as her Parks & Recreation character April Ludgate, and she brought her former boss with her. Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler returned to play Leslie Knope.
If you love both SNL and Parks & Rec it’s hard to imagine a more perfect segment than the one Plaza and Poehler teamed up for. It started when Colin Jost brought out April Ludgate. He wanted her to discuss the value of working for your local government. April’s “doing the bare minimum is doing your part” attitude wasn’t exactly helpful, though. (Except for that great dog catcher advice.) So she brought out her former boss and the world’s most enthusiastic public employee, Leslie Knope.
But Leslie was far more interested in learning about SNL. That led to a fantastic meta joke about when Seth Meyers used to host Weekend Update all by himself. And before Leslie delivered the news on SNL, there was a great nod to Parks & Rec: she couldn’t help but obsess over Joe Biden. The President had recorded a video for the episode that aired earlier. Unfortunately that led to a hard lesson for Leslie: not all of Saturday Night Live is live.
The show is still a great place for unannounced return, though. And on very special occasions it’s a place for a totally unexpected reunions of all kinds.
Of course, Leslie Knope probably planned the whole thing herself, right down to making it seem unexpected. That’s exactly the type of thing she’d totally do to make us happy.