Great Fictional Gentlemen - Ron Swanson

With Parks And Recreation returning tonight for its seventh and final season, Geek Dave feels the need to show some man-love for Ronald Ulysses Swanson, the fictional character played by Nick Offerman. 

I could write from now to next Christmas on just what an amazing creation Ron Swanson is, but I'll try and keep it to about 1500 words...

Parks And Recreation is packed full of fine comedy creations; Amy Poehler's manic Lesley Knope, Aubrey Plaza's uncomfortable April Ludgate and Chris Pratt's man-child Andy Dwyer (not to mention a plethora of recurring characters - of which we picked 10 of our favourites here). All of them are good enough reasons to watch the consistently funny NBC comedy. But there's one reason I just have to tune in, and that comes in the form of one of the greatest fictional gentlemen of our time - Mr Ron Swanson.

In a world of television dominated by political correctness and pretty boy man-scaping, Ron sticks out a mile because he is an old fashioned man's man. The kind of man I secretly wish I could be.

In case you're not familiar with Parks And Recreation here's is a whirlwind introduction to some of the main reasons why Ron is such an awesome character. Reasons why I wish I could live my life more like Ron does, channeling him as my spirit guide!

Ron Swanson is the director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana - yet despite his job, Ron despises the general public and believes that all government is a waste of tax payers money! He's incredibly deadpan, rarely expressing any emotion at all, and is a staunch libertarian with arguably the worlds finest mustache - you get the feeling even 1982 Thomas Magnum would tip his hat in approval of that 'stache!

Ron is a simple man, he likes pretty, dark-haired women, and breakfast food. He eats red meat and drinks Scotch whiskey, because clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.

Women called Tammy have had a huge impact on Ron's life. His mother is called Tammy, along with his first two ex-wives (calling them Tammy 1 and Tammy 2). Ron despises and fears both of them, and Tammy 2 has a bizarre sexual hold over him.

Ron believes that it is only acceptable to cry in two places. Funerals and the Grand Canyon. Throughout his own life he has only ever cried twice. Once when he was seven and was hit by a school bus, and then again when Li’l Sebastian (Pawnee's beloved celebrity miniature horse) had passed.

Ron has only seen three movies in his entire life; Bridge on the River Kwai, Patton and Herbie: Fully Loaded. He has a remote cabin in the woods that he uses for carpentry, hunting, fishing and to basically get away from everyone. When people get a little too chummy with him, he calls them by the wrong name - just to let them know he doesn't really care about them!

He believes that any dog under fifty pounds is a cat, and cats are useless. Ron hates lying. There is only one thing he hates more than lying: skim milk. Which he says is water that’s lying about being milk. He's also an incredibly secretive private person, listings his date of birth as Springtime.

Ron has an alter ego in the form of saxophone playing Duke Silver. Duke has a successful recording career and is very much loved by the mature woman.

When it comes to friends, one to three is sufficient for Ron. He likes to fish to relax, something he compares to yoga, except that with fishing he still gets to kill something. All the same, Ron insists on fishing for sport only, not for meat, because fish meat is practically a vegetable.

Ron is an accomplished carpenter. In his own words:
"I recently made a chair. When I was finished, I thought it was a good chair. I submitted it to the Indiana fine woodworking association, who felt it merited consideration for an award. It's been a real whirlwind."
Ron is now married to his third wife, Diane. She has two young girls of her own (that's why he's seen Herbie: Fully Loaded), and they recently had their first son together. What a Dad this man will be!

One of the great things I love about Ron Swanson is that he's almost not fictional. In the same way that Tim Allen and Jerry Seinfeld pretty much played alternate versions of themselves on their TV shows, Nick Offerman kind of lives life like Ron Swanson. Aside from the fact that he is married to Megan Mullally, who plays ex-wife Tammy 2, many elements of Ron's personality are taken straight from Nick's own. He is an accomplished saxophone player, is skilled in combat & Kabuki dance, plus he runs his own carpentry business called Offerman Workshop.

Nick recently shared his 10 Secrets Of Life:
  1. Engage in romantic love.
  2. Say please and thank you.
  3. Carry a handkerchief.
  4. Eat red meat.
  5. Get a hobby.
  6. Go outside. Remain.
  7. Avoid the mirror.
  8. Maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ…if it’s getting you sex.
  9. Use intoxicants
  10. Paddle your own canoe.
Very Swanson-esque indeed!

It's Nick Offerman's closeness to the character that makes Ron Swanson such a fantastic comic creation, and has helped for him to be adopted into popular culture, he was even a trending topic on Twitter at one time and is quoted across the internet almost as much as another fictional Ron has been - Anchorman himself, Ron Burgudy.

When Ron misunderstood a turkey burger to be a fried turkey leg inside a grilled hamburger, recipes for his creation popped up on cooking websites. A fake image of Ron's very own flavour of Ben & Jerry's ice cream called 'All of the Bacon & Eggs You Have' is all across the web and there is even an entire website devoted to cats that look like Ron Swanson.

But basically I just love Ron Swanson because nearly every word that comes out of his mouth is a gem...
[welcoming patrons to an art show] OK, everyone: shut up! And look at me! Welcome to "Visions of Nature." This room has several paintings in it. Some are big, some are small. People did them and they're here now. I believe that after this is over, they'll be hung in government buildings. Why the government is involved in an art show is beyond me. I also think it's pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they could just go outside and stand in it. Anyway, please do not misinterpret the fact that I am talking right now as genuine interest in art and attempt to discuss it with me further. End of speech.

[On bowling] Straight down the middle. No hook, no spin, no fuss. Anything more and this becomes figure skating.

You know Leslie, the Super Bowl is in a couple months, I usually watch it with my brothers. Maybe you can come by at halftime and shoot me in the head.

I love Food and Stuff. It's where I buy all of my food. And most of my stuff.
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish…and feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard.
I'll leave you with the Ron Swanson Pyramid Of Greatness. Packed full of wise words and advice to live your life by...

click to enlarge

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