Ronald Ulysses Swanson is a fictional character portrayed by Nick Offerman from the situation comedy television series Parks and Recreation on NBC, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. In the series, Ron is the director of the Parks and Recreation department of fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, and the immediate superior of series protagonist Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) until Knope's election to the Pawnee City Council at the end of Season 4. In demeanor, political philosophy and work ethic, Knope and Swanson are polar opposites: where Knope is sunny and outgoing, decidedly liberal and constantly working, Swanson is distant, and as a staunch libertarian, is a strong advocate for small government—stating his belief that government should be privatized—and therefore believes that the parks department should not even exist. He says he is there to rot the beast from the inside.
Ron, who has an extremely deadpan and stereotypical masculine personality, actively works to make city hall less effective and despises interacting with the public. He loves meat, woodworking, hunting, Lagavulin whisky, breakfast foods, nautical literature, and sex. He hates and fears his ex-wives, both named Tammy, one of whom is played by Offerman's real-life wife, Megan Mullally. Ron claims not to be interested in the personal lives of those around him but actually cares a great deal about his colleagues and has a particularly strong respect for Leslie.
Conceived by series creators Michael Schur and Greg Daniels, Ron has been a central character since the pilot episode of Parks and Recreation. Offerman had some input into the character's creation, and some aspects of Ron's personality were inspired by the actor, like his affinity for woodworking and 16-year-old Lagavulin Single Malt scotch. The traits of the character were also partially inspired by a real-life Libertarian elected official in Burbank, California.
Offerman's portrayal of Ron Swanson has received widespread critical acclaim. The character developed a cult following and is widely considered the breakout character of the series. Schur called Ron "our cast MVP." He was described by some critics as one of the best characters in a situation comedy in decades, and has been called the best comedic character on television since Cosmo Kramer of ...read more