“Ron and Diane” S5 / E9
- A- Community Grade
Only a show like Parks And Recreation could make a character like Ron Swanson sexy. A woodworking God with a powerful mustache? It’s the stuff Pawnee dreams are made of. Thus for every Diane, there is a woman who wishes Diane ill will. Or a woman who tells Diane she’s the luckiest woman in existence. Or a Tammy. One of the conceits you have to accept if you wish to “live” in Pawnee (aka watch this show) is that Ron Swanson is the most desirable man alive—and let’s be honest, it’s not that hard a leap of logic to make, considering how into the manly arts he is.
If that’s true, though, then you have to concede that Tammy 2 is a desirable woman. Because who else to win over Ron Swanson’s heart than someone who deserves it to some degree. Perhaps in Pawnee lore, the library is not so bad, and Tammy 2 is the one that got away for every single Chris-type ninny other than Ron. We must believe that Ron and Tammy are, to some degree, meant to be. Otherwise, “Ron And Diane” isn’t made out to be as much of a triumph as it is.
“Ron And Diane” plays with dynamics that were probably established when the show made it to air, and prove that characters in Pawnee are capable of change, even though there’s little outside stimuli. Ron Swanson hasn’t been asked to do much outside the status quo, yet his relationship with Diane is the most mature relationship he’s ever been in. Thus the entirety of “Ron And Diane”, wherein Tammy 2 tries her darnedest to flash her crotchiest of crotches over in Ron’s direction, is relatively streamlined. Ron chooses Diane without much effort, and Diane is appreciative to know she has Duke Silver all to herself. Ahem, I mean, Ron Swanson.
There isn’t much unexpected about “Ron And Diane”, but that doesn’t make the episode that less desirable to watch. Written by Twitterati Megan Amram and Aisha Muharrar, the episode tests Ron at every corner, demonstrating that despite all odds, Leslie is actually on Ron’s side. She and Tammy 2 get into plenty of fights, despite neither one actually dating Ron nor having any direct contact to his sexual organs. Leslie would be disgusted by the notion; Tammy 2 would relish in it, if it meant having the chair winner all to herself. The ultimate sign of maturity, though, is that Ron is perfectly content where he is.
That’s just it. Ron Swanson is the most content character on television. He likes his breakfast food, including bacon. He likes his woodworking and privacy. He likes his mustache and his ideas of manliness. He has decided, over the last few episodes, that he likes his Diane as Diane—not as Tammy 2 or as Tammy 1, nor as Tammy 0 obviously and to the relief of all those Oedipus fetishists out there. He has decided that Diane is the woman for him, and who are we to stand in his way? We’re no Megan Mullally. We’re no Tammy-named bear. If there’s one character on primetime TV who has earned the right to be happy, it’s Ron Swanson. And so be it with Xena The Warrior Princess—the most suitable mate for Ron if ever there was one.
So yes, Ron attends a woodworking awards ceremony and neglects the advances of Tammy 2 and obviously completely ignores the defensiveness of Leslie. And yes, it’s normal that Diane might be weirded out by the whole thing. After all, in a town like Pawnee, Ron is a hell of a catch, to reiterate what I wrote in paragraph one. But she goes for it, because Ron offers her the only thing he can: a chip of his secrecy. He’s already won over the hearts of Pawnee women; he might as well come clean about the exact sect of women he’s won over, which includes those in favor of some smooth sax jazz.
Only in Pawnee would Ron Swanson be a hero. Much in the way that only in Pawnee would Jerry be a hero to someone like Tom Haverford—who lives his life the way he would if he were worried some LA publicist could discover him at any moment. “Ron And Diane” is an episode about love that is inevitable, but it’s also an episode about the underdog having his day in court. Ron lets the world know that he’s over his Tammy obsession, and Jerry lets the world know that through no fault of his own, he’s become one of the most desirable tickets in town. Stranger things have happened, but sometimes Parks And Recreation lets the underdog win. Well, often.
Because over the last five seasons, Parks And Recreation has become the show where real life simply does not apply. Where it’s rewarding that Chris attends therapy 15 times a week, where Jerry’s wife is a hotty bo-botty. Where many a woman in Pawnee are about to get warm all up in Ron Swanson’s jazz. The second a character like Ron Swanson starts to lose is the second I stop watching Parks And Rec, simply because it’s inspiring to know that if he can win, so can literally anyone. And now, to the mustache chamber, for some growing.