When people are creating fake ice-cream flavors in your honor and using your likeness to sell pork products, it's safe to say that you've got some fans.
So it goes with Ron Swanson, who, as played by Nick Offerman, has achieved cult-hero status on "Parks and Recreation." Despite fans' embrace of Ron's mustache, love of meat and general manliness, though, co-creator Mike Schur says he's never felt pressure from NBC to make the show more Ron-centric.
"With Ron or any other character, they've never once said to me, 'Go more in that direction. Do more of this and less of that,'" Schur tells Zap2it. "... They love Ron like we do, and they love [all the characters on 'Parks and Rec']. ... In the early going, maybe Tom [Aziz Ansari] was breaking out, because Aziz is such a spark plug and has so much charisma, but they never said to chase that, to make it the Aziz show. Now with Ron they're not saying make it the Ron show. They just don't operate like that."
Swanson Nation will, however, get to see several Ron-centric stories in the early part of the 2011-12 season, including the introduction of Patricia Clarkson as his first wife, Tammy (not to be confused with his second wife Tammy, played by Offerman's real-life spouse, Megan Mullally).
"We've been incredibly fortunate with the selection of ladies that have graced our stage," Offerman says. "I think what the audience will be surprised to learn is that Tammy 2, played by the gorgeous Megan Mullally, may turn out to be the most kitten-like, timid woman of the Tammys. I am about as giggly as a schoolgirl to be in a position where I'm portraying a man who's made love to both Megan Mullally and Patricia Clarkson. That is a consummation devoutly to be wished."
Clarkson will appear in the season's second episode. Schur won't say too much about Tammy 1, but he does allow that she's "very different from Tammy 2."
"The relationship she has with Ron is not as hedonistic, animal attraction, pure and simple, that we've seen before," Schur says. "They have a much different, more complicated, rich backstory that we get into. The point of casting Patricia Clarkson was to let her be Patricia Clarkson, and I think we accomplished that."
The "Parks and Rec" writers have incorporated a few of Offerman's real-life skills into the show, including his woodworking and skill on the saxophone (that was really him playing in the Duke Silver episode from Season 2). But Offerman is still holding out for one more thing.
"I have a penchant for the ballet," he says, "and I've been pitching the fellas the whole time we've been in production for a Ron 'Swan Lake' episode. I haven't heard of anything coming down the pike just yet."
"I know you can dance the black swan," Schur replies, "but can you dance the white swan?" Offerman: "Just give me a chance, and I'll show you."
"Parks and Recreation" begins its fourth season on NBC Thursday, Sept. 22.
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