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There were parodies aplenty on Saturday Night Live this week, with Kenan Thompson and Ego Nwodim sending up Mike White’s satire The White Lotus, Chloe Fineman adding the murderous android from the horror hit M3GAN to her repertoire of impressions, and guest host Aubrey Plaza embodying a femme fatale in a spoof of pretty much every noir ever made.
But one of the episode’s standout moments which instantly blew up online came during the usually hit-or-miss “Weekend Update” segment, in which Plaza donned a black wig and hoodie to once again play the role that helped launch her career: April Ludgate in the beloved NBC sitcom Parks & Recreation.
Ostensibly appearing in the skit opposite Colin Jost to talk about local government, Plaza instantly channeled April’s sullen, deadpan delivery, delighting fans with dialogue that could have been lifted straight out of a script from Michael Schur’s long-running show. But April’s presence also led to an even bigger crowd-pleasing moment, with former SNL cast member Amy Poehler showing up as her character, Leslie Knope.
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What followed was a series of winks and nods to Poehler’s own history on SNL told through the wide-eyed, enthusiastic prism of Leslie, including a jab at Jost (she remembers when Seth Meyers did “Weekend Update” all by himself without any need for a co-anchor), punctuated with over-it eye-rolls from Plaza’s April.
Plaza and Poehler aren’t the only two actors from Parks & Rec to go on to do huge things. The show’s arguably biggest breakout star is Chris Pratt, who played Rashida Jones and eventually Plaza’s on-screen boyfriend Andy, before going on to play leading roles in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises.Other actors who had memorable roles in the show include Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, and Billy Eichner.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.