Zoom calls with celebrities
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
In the dreary world of COVID-19, many people are looking to the past to find comfort. This peace can be found in the world of entertainment, where shows from the past are finding new audiences. The need to connect with entertainment gone by is not lost on the stars of these programs. During the pandemic, they have been brought back together through the glory of virtual reunions. Here are some of the best virtual reunions to occur during the 2020 pandemic.
Parks and Recreation: “A Parks and Recreation Special”
Most of the reunions that have been done mostly consist of the casts just sitting around and talking. In contrast, Parks and Recreation decided to take it one step further by doing a whole new socially distant episode. The show was set around Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, trying to maintain a phone tree to keep everyone connected during the pandemic. While the show could have simply been a low quality and obviously slapped together charity episode that logged a few criticisms simply because it was an episode for charity, instead the special was critically praised and the cast gave their all in the episode.
What made this reunion so special was that it also included Donald Glover. Glover, who left the show in its fifth season to pursue other career opportunities (including a successful rap career under the name of Childish Gambino) was considered unlikely to ever return for any reunion of the show due to his busy and successful music and acting careers post-Community. Not only was Glover excited to come back, but in the post table read questionnaire, he was also interested in forming a group text chat—only to be disappointed when he found out that the cast already had one that they didn’t invite him to because they thought he would be too busy. As for the table read, they used the script from the episode “Cooperative Polygraphy.” The highlight of the reunion may have come from someone who was not part of the cast, as Pedro Pascal (famously known for The Mandalorian) was brought in to read for a role originally played by an absent Walton Goggins. Pascal found himself breaking consistently through a scene in which he had to give members of the study group freeze-dried cylinders of the recently passed Pierce Hawthorn’s sperm.
Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X
When it comes to reality shows, reunions can be a bit different. While regular TV shows have casts that work together over the years, reality shows tend to have casts that only play together once and then go their separate ways. Survivor is no different, with everyone in the cast going through what is essentially the world’s most extreme adult summer camp. However, the extreme nature of Survivor and the experience these cast members go through can often lead to long lasting bonds that last far past the show’s 39-day game span.
Back in June, one of the show’s own cast members Sunday Burquest revealed that she had been diagnosed with esophageal and ovarian cancer. In the reality TV show podcast, Rob Has a Podcast, 16 of Burquest’s fellow castaways joined the podcast for a surprise reunion. The episode features all of them expressing what their relationship with Burquest meant to them during and after the show’s run. This reunion may not be as epic as those made by long running TV shows and casts, but in terms of emotion, it is a tear-jerking reunion. It showcases the close bonds that can be made between people—even if their time together was just a couple of days in a game defined by deceit.
Even movie stars have gotten into the virtual reunion thing, seeing how the cast of the original Ghostbusters got back together for a reunion on Josh Gad’s series Reunited Apart. What makes this reunion good is the quality production. The show is not just people talking over grainy Zoom calls; it intercuts scenes and music that fit with the conversations—adding another level of enjoyment and immersion to the reunion.