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Knope — We're not going to let this pandemic get us down! Open a bottle of Snake Juice and see how our favorite 'Parks and Rec' characters would survive.

How to handle a pandemic: A guide using characters from ‘Parks and Rec’

COVID-19 has changed our lives forever (aren’t you sick of this?), and people have been adjusting their day-to-day since lockdowns began in early 2020. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are filled to the brim with guides to living during a pandemic.

The distribution of vaccines has begun in many parts of the world, but the pandemic is far from over; it will be some time before we see a life that more closely resembles the days of hugs & kisses (sob). There’s been one no-brainer for most trying to survive the pandemic: watch a mind-numbing level of streaming content, constantly.

Parks and Recreation join the company of The Office & 30 Rock for comfort TV for a wide net of Americans staving off the pandemic with character comedy. Laughter is the best medicine, but the Parks and Rec characters we love can also inspire some great relief techniques for a global pandemic. If we follow their example, this pandemic thing might be alright.

Stay busy

Any of us who are unemployed or working from home know that spending your time in four small walls can be soul-crushing. 

When lockdown began in the U.S. in March, you couldn’t go on social media without seeing everyone’s new projects; people posted their freshly baked sourdough loaves, their YouTube yoga routines, or their newly knitted scarves. 

Our needs changed when a few other things happened throughout the year, but learning to stay busy was an invaluable lesson. No one has dealt with time at home better than Ben with his iconic spell of depression in Parks and Rec.

Clad in his dirty Letters to Cleo t-shirt, Ben looks straight outta quarantine, moving his claymation figures in his unkempt apartment. He says what every person who posted their new projects to Insta was thinking back in March: “could a depressed person make this?!” Thank you Ben, we are with you.

Stay Healthy

The pandemic has forced many of us to look our vices in the face. Whether your crutch is alcohol, weed, or overeating, living with such an uncertain future has made it hard to find a reason to say no to our cravings. Of all the Parks and Rec characters, there’s one clear choice for our health guru during the pandemic: Chris Traeger.

Chris is the picture of health, and would certainly start his day with an in-house workout during quarantine, followed by a green juice & quinoa bowl breakfast. There’s no doubt he’d take the pandemic seriously, as he tells us that his “body has no fat to protect itself from the disease. Things happen very quickly.”

Stay Motivated

Many of us have been forced to work from home since the pandemic hit, but the work hasn’t slowed down. With such craziness going on outside our doors, many of us have found it difficult to push the extra mile for our bosses. One only needs to look to Leslie Knope for inspiration.

Leslie is the most motivated of all of the Parks and Rec characters. She sees problems and does her darndest to solve them, whether it be a drinking contest against Ron’s evil ex-wife, or a new government proposal. If you harness your inner Leslie, you’ll get over this hump with ease.


Let’s just cut right to the chase here, of all the Parks and Rec characters, no one’s better fit to handle a pandemic than Ron Swanson. You can picture Ron right now, living off the grid at his cabin, chopping wood & hunting meat for himself until the new world calms down. 

Ron fears change, but loves to spend time away from the people whose values stray so far from his own. He has all the skills a human needs to survive in any situation, so if all else fails, simply ask yourself, “what would Ron do?”

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