COVID-19

“Parks and Rec” co-creator Michael Schur on recreating Pawnee from home

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal Apr 29, 2020
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Michael Schur with Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and the rest of the "Parks and Recreation" cast in 2019. JB Lacroix/Getty Images
COVID-19

“Parks and Rec” co-creator Michael Schur on recreating Pawnee from home

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal Apr 29, 2020
Michael Schur with Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and the rest of the "Parks and Recreation" cast in 2019. JB Lacroix/Getty Images
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Tomorrow night, Leslie Knope and crew are returning to television for a special episode of “Parks and Recreation.” Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Michael Schur, the co-creator of “Parks and Rec” as well as shows like “The Office” and “The Good Place,” about making a special entirely from home.

NBC asked whether the cast of “Parks and Recreation” would reunite for a table read, and Schur proposed they instead do an original episode as a fundraiser. “Everybody was really happy to essentially volunteer their time,” Schur said. “I’m really happy that we were able to do it, and I’m even happier that we’re doing it for a good cause.”

To make the special, the writers and crew were all working remotely, and the actors filmed themselves in their respective homes. Schur said the entire process was challenging.

“For people who are used to working on TV shows, which are enormous, collaborative efforts involving hundreds of people in dozens of different departments, it’s not even an option, really,” he said. “Looking to the future, it’s hard to imagine how we make anything, really.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been agreed upon yet.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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