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There are few shows as universally beloved as Parks and Recreation. The NBC comedy had a rocky beginning on the air, but has since become pop culture gold that is constantly running on syndication. Much like The Office, the mockumentary about the Pawnee Parks department featured a staff of colorful characters that grew to be more ridiculous with each passing season. Case in point: Retta's Donna Meagle, who grew from tertiary background character to a starring role featured in the opening credits. Producer and star Amy Poehler recently spoke to Retta's fantastic performance and improv abilities, and revealed the one liner that shaped the character. And it was a line made up on the spot by Retta herself.
Leslie asks Donna 'What a wonderful leaf. Where did you get this?' And Donna looks up slowly and deadpans, 'Outside.' In just one word we knew what kind of character she was.
Yup, that's Donna Meagle. Her mixture of deadpan sass and enthusiasm over pop culture is what made her a standout on the series. And with Parks and Rec still very much at the forefront of comedy references, Retta has been able to put her signature on the world of TV history.
This quote from Amy Poehler comes from a THR spotlight on Retta. She's set to star in NBC's upcoming drama Good Girls, alongside Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman. This will allow her to play in more dramatic scenes than we've ever seen before, although most TV fans will most closely associate with her playing Donna in Parks and Recreation. Retta was one of the show's many scene stealers, often with just one line or a facial expression.
Retta has been a pretty busy lady since Park and Rec ended in 2015. She's appeared in 21 episodes of Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce on Bravo, playing Abby's friend and business partner Barbara. She also nabbed some film works, appearing in roles in Netflix's controversial drama To The Bone, as well as Father Figures and Where's the Money. And now it looks like all of her work will cumulate into her role on Good Girls, which has a ton of buzz ahead of its winter premiere.
As a reminder of all of Donna Meagle's Parks and Recreation magic, check out the final Treat Yo Self from the show's last season.
Treat Yo Self is probably Donna's most iconic running gag, and one that Retta apparently gets stopped on the street about the most often. Because honestly, who doesn't need a day to say yes to yourself?