Sunday, February 12, 2012
Ronald Ulysses "Ron" Swanson is a fictional character played by Nick Offerman in the American comedy television series Parks and Recreation on NBC. Ron is parks department director in the Indiana city of Pawnee and the immediate superior of protagonist Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). Despite holding a government job, Ron is a staunch Libertarian who believes in as little government as possible and feels the parks department should not exist. Ron's birthday is May 6th. Ron, who has an extremely deadpan and masculine personality, actively works to make city hall less effective and despises interacting with the public. He loves meat, hunting and breakfast foods. He hates and fears his two ex-wives, both of whom are named Tammy (also his mother's name), 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 one of the main characters 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. The traits of the character were partially inspired by a real-life Libertarian elected official in Burbank, as well as political appointees of President George W. Bush. His views on politics have been compared to that of John Locke, and Texas congressman Ron Paul, as well as Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises, Freidrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard. Offerman's portrayal of Ron Swanson has received critical acclaim. The character has developed a cult following and is widely considered the breakout character of the series. Schur has called Ron "our cast MVP." He has been 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 Seinfeld. Ron's platonic relationship with Leslie has been compared to that of Mary Richards and Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Offerman has received several award nominations for the role, and won the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy, tying with Ty Burrell of Modern Family.