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.
Ron, who has an extremely deadpan and stereotypical masculine personality, actively works to make city hall less effective and despises interacting with the public.
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He loves meat, woodworking, hunting, 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 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 critical acclaim. The character developed a cult following and is widely considered the breakout character of the series. Schur called Ron "our cast MVP. Despite Ron being a very private person, including getting his birthdate redacted from all public documents, his background does occasionally come up.
He was born in a small town to Tamara "Tammy" Swanson and a father unnamed in the series. He grew up on a farm in a small town and is shown to have enjoyed woodworking from an early age, building his first chair at age 5. Ron is opposed to child labor laws, stating he got his first job at a sheet metal factory at age 9 and, in two weeks, was running the floor.
When he was 15, Ron moved in with his first wife, Tammy 1, who was a candy striper at the hospital when he was born, and subsequently both his math and Sunday school teacher; he has said that although the circumstances of their relationship were considered scandalous, people were too afraid of her to say anything. Ron said that when he was 18, his father wanted him to work at the steel mill, but he chose to go to college instead.
Despite working in a city hall job, he believes all government is a waste of taxpayer money. Cheese's chain of family entertainment centers.
Ron particularly despises talking to members of the public,    which is why he deliberately designed his office to be uninviting to visitors, in part by mounting a double-barreled, sawed-off shotgun on a swivel atop his desk aimed at the guest chair, so it will be pointed at anyone who wants to speak to him, a claymore mine which he eventually learns is a toy in the season 7 episode "Leslie and Ron" , the front of which is pointed toward guests, and a Czech hedgehog.
In the voiceover while Ron drops Andy off for his first day of class, he recalls his own first day of college when his father dropped him off at the steel mill. His father thought he should not bother with college, but Ron hitched a ride to the school and went anyway.
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Ron speaks in a deadpan tone of voice and seldom expresses any kind of emotion, although he is often shown to be very giddy when it comes to riddles and meat.
He claims to have only cried twice: once when he was hit by a school bus at age 7; secondly when miniature horse Li'l Sebastian died. He primarily drinks scotch whisky , claiming that "Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.
Ron is extremely concerned with the image people have of him and once refused to seek treatment for a hernia ; he instead chose to remain immobile at his desk all day and night until April offered to take him to the hospital.
Before the start of Parks and Recreation , Ron has two ex-wives, both of whom are named Tammy, which is also the name of Ron's mother.
Ron despises and fears both of his ex-wives,  and they are among the few individuals in the world who can break Ron's usually unwavering stoicism. He wears a trilby hat and suit jacket while playing,  fronts a band called the Duke Silver Trio, and has released such albums as Memories of Now , Smooth as Silver , and Hi Ho, Duke.
His music is especially popular with older women among them being April's mother , who find Duke Silver extremely attractive. Ron appears in every episode with the exception of " Beauty Pageant ", where it is explained that he is recovering from surgery due to a hernia. Ron Swanson made his first appearance in the pilot episode of Parks and Recreation , where he repeatedly denies Leslie's requests to pursue turning a construction pit into a park because he does not believe the parks department should build parks at all.
He agrees to green-light the project only when city planner Mark Brendanawicz Paul Schneider secretly cashes in an unspecified favor in exchange for the approval. However, when he finds that business is now doing extremely poorly, Ron sadly realizes he will be in his government job for a long time. Ron interrupts half-way through the review, defends Leslie and angrily berates the panel for aggressively questioning her. Although Ron claims he did it only due to his hatred for bureaucratic procedures, it is implied that he really did so out of respect for Leslie.
In " Practice Date ," when the parks department employees hold a contest to find who can learn the biggest secrets about each other, Ron discovers Tom 's marriage to the attractive surgeon Wendy Jama Williamson is actually a green card marriage.
Ron promises he will keep Tom's arrangement a secret. Later, Tom discovers Ron playing the saxophone at a bar in his Duke Silver persona.
Tom agrees to keep Ron's secret as well. Ron's second ex-wife, Pawnee library director Tammy Megan Mullally , appeared in the episode " Ron and Tammy ," where Tammy tricks Leslie into arranging a reunion meeting with Ron under the guise of wishing to work out her differences with him. In fact, Tammy schemed to get Ron to give her the rights to land Leslie plans to turn into a park, so Tammy can build a library branch there instead. During their meeting, Ron and Tammy start loudly arguing, but eventually have passionate sex and get back together.
Unable to resist Tammy's charms, Ron asks Leslie to break up with Tammy for him. When Leslie stands up to Tammy in Ron's defense, he is moved by what he describes as the first time any woman has put his needs before her own, and it gives him the strength to finally break up with Tammy.
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In " Hunting Trip ," Leslie insists that Ron take her and the other female parks department employees on one of his private hunting expeditions at the park ranger cabin. Ron begrudgingly agrees, but is frustrated to learn that Leslie is in fact an excellent hunter who overshadows his own abilities.
During this trip, Ron is shot in the back of the head by misfired birdshot , and becomes hallucinatory and furious after taking multiple painkillers with alcohol. He initially accuses Leslie of shooting him based on her desire to prove herself, but later learns Tom was at fault and that Leslie took the blame to keep Tom from being arrested for hunting without a license.
Ron is strongly impressed that Leslie defended Tom this way, and refers to her as "a stand-up guy," which leaves Leslie overjoyed. In " The Set Up ," a new citywide effort is implemented to make government officials more accessible to Pawnee residents, an idea which Ron condemns as "my hell.
After interviewing several candidates, he chooses April Ludgate, convinced her constant apathy and negative attitude will suit him perfectly. He becomes so furious with April that she quits, but Ron later apologizes and hires her back. In " The Master Plan ," state auditors Chris Traeger Rob Lowe and Ben Wyatt Adam Scott arrive in Pawnee and announce that due to the city's crippling budget problems, they have to slash each department budget by up to 50 percent and briefly shut down the government completely.
While Leslie is horrified, the anti-government Ron is delighted by the idea,    becoming so giddy that he asks the auditors what cuts they will be making and if he can be allowed to "watch while eating pork cracklins.
However, when Ben and Chris reveal they are considering firing Leslie, Ron passionately defends her and insists they should fire him instead. The third season opens with Ron seen begrudgingly returning to his city hall job after the Pawnee government has been shut down for three months. However, after Ron hires Andy to be her temporary replacement, the two spend the day bonding and Ron, against his better judgment, tells Andy that April is in the hospital and that he should visit her.
His advice ultimately helps April decide to forgive Andy. Ron finds himself very happy in his relationship with Wendy,   although it creates tension between him and Tom. This occurs, however, the same day that Wendy and Ron break up, after she decides she must move back to Canada to care for her ailing parents.
Ron and Tammy end up having a wild night of drinking and sex, in which Ron gets cornrows , he and Tammy get remarried and the two end up in jail. This makes Ron remember how horrible Tammy is and he leaves her, thus ending their marriage for a second time, and Ron and Tom later reconcile.
Shortly after Leslie successfully relaunches the Pawnee harvest festival, she struggles to find any new ideas for future parks project.
She becomes so stressed that Ron, in the episode " Camping ," locks her in a room and refuses to let her out until she gets some sleep. She awakens the next day refreshed and full of ideas. When Leslie grows concerned they are rushing into their marriage, Ron insists it is not her place to say what works for them, and offers the advice: "Leslie I got married twice, both times I was a lot older than those two and both marriages ended in divorce Who's to say what works? You find somebody you like, and you roll the dice, its all anyone can do.
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I get to burn another effigy. However, her surprise party for Ron is instead a quiet, private one more appropriate for Ron's personality: an evening alone with a steak, scotch, and copies of his favorite movies.
When city manager Chris Traeger tries to remove red meat from the city hall cafeteria as part of a government-wide health initiative in " Soulmates ," Ron intervenes by challenging Chris to a cook-off.
Chris agrees to abandon his plan if Ron's regular hamburgers are deemed better than his lean meat turkey burgers. Although Ron exerts little effort compared to Chris, his burgers easily win the contest. The two bond, and he ends the day by giving her a claymore landmine as a gift. Ron gets in trouble the next day when the girl's mother explains her daughter's assignment was "Why Government Matters," and that Lauren simply wrote "It doesn't. Ron learns in the third-season finale, " Li'l Sebastian ," that Leslie and Ben are secretly having an affair despite Chris' ban on workplace romances, and he warns them they are risking a political scandal that could cost them their jobs.
Later, at the funeral of Pawnee's celebrity miniature horse Li'l Sebastian, Ron is nearly killed as a result of Leslie and Ben's affair. When their efforts to hide their relationship accidentally cause Li'l Sebastian's eternal flame to be filled with lighter fluid instead of propane, Ron creates a massive fireball when he lights it, which burns off his eyebrows and part of his mustache. The season ends as a horrified Ron learns that his first ex-wife, Tammy, has arrived to see him; the news is enough to make his second ex-wife, also named Tammy, run away in horror.
In " I'm Leslie Knope ," Ron grabs an emergency survival bag and flees to live in the wilderness after learning that his first ex-wife Tammy 1 Patricia Clarkson has arrived in town. When Leslie's campaign managers decide to announce her candidacy for city council sooner than expected, she panics and also flees to the wilderness to hide out with Ron.
Together they realize they cannot run from their problems and they both return to the parks department.
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Tammy 1, who is an IRS agent, later meets up with Ron in his office and serves him audit papers. In "Ron and Tammys" Tammy 1 assumes control of Ron, turning him into a mustache-less pushover in an effort to remarry him and take all his hidden gold.
This is quite the difference compared to the influence Ron's latest ex Tammy 2 has over him. While Tammy 1 has an ice cold personality and reduces Ron into submissiveness and quietude, Tammy 2 causes Ron to make highly irrational decisions that end up jeopardizing his position at the Parks office.
Tammy 2 also tries to assume control of Ron through using manipulation of her body. Ron is saved from the grasp of Tammy 1 after his own mother, who is also ironically a Tammy- her name is Tamara he refers to her as Tammy 0 to restore her son.
He snaps back to his old self after witnessing a drinking contest between Tammy 1 and Tammy 0. They then drink in order to win control over Ron. Leslie also enters this competition in hopes of freeing him of the Tammys, however she ends up failing miserably due to the high alcohol content of Swanson family mash and is the first one out of the contest. In the end, Ron finally comes to his senses and stands up for himself and tells both Tammys to leave.
Ron becomes a friend of hers and, in "Halloween Surprise," he takes her two daughters out trick-or-treating and they begin dating.
Later in the episode, she admits she also loves him. In the fifth-season finale "Are You Better Off? In the sixth-season premiere "London," Diane reveals that she is pregnant. Ron proposes, and she accepts on the condition they not have a huge wedding.