By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Ron "Legend of the Mustache" Swanson wants you to believe he's a macho brute who cares not for his "Parks and Recreation" staff. His arsenal of disinterest is stocked with weapons like a flat affect, strange tales from his youth and bold one-liners. Closer inspection, however, reveals that deadpan Ron does indeed have a deeply hidden squishy side. True, he is a man's man, hates big government and doesn't suffer strangers. But whenever Leslie, April, Andy, Ben or even upbeat Chris needs him, he begrudgingly comes through with sage counsel. He clearly has his colleagues' best interests at heart. Of course, that doesn't affect his unimpassioned delivery. Here's a look at some of Ron's best Season 4 one-liners. Follow these gems at your own risk.
"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
Ron dropped this pearl on Leslie when she was still trying to juggle the responsibilities of her campaign plus her day job at the Parks and Recreation Department. It took Jerry's botched sweet 16 party for the wisdom to sink in, but she ultimately followed Ron's advice and focused on her campaign.
"When people get a little too chummy with me, I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don't really care about them."
Ron not only uses this brilliant device, but he also employs its flip side. When he needed Ann to head up a project, he dropped her full name. Her face lit up and she did his bidding. Ron would even say she was putty in his hands. But for the record, he went too far with his follow-up, "Nonsense. We are close friends."
"Don't hold back, because the bitch that is Mother Nature won't either."
This message has many applications, but was wasted on a batch of soft Pawnee Rangers. Ron's boys were easily lured over to the comforts, pillow fights and candy of Leslie's Pawnee Goddesses. It turns out, however, there are kids who'd rather punch nature in the gut than have a puppy party: Leslie surprised Ron with an eager pack of recruits for The Swansons, a new survivalist group.
"I like to not get involved in these matters or any matters of any nature."
This declaration reflects the man Ron wants to be, but his actions reflect the man he actually is. After Ron got lucky with a woman Chris was eying, Andy and April suggested he give Chris the courtesy of a heads up. Tough-talking Ron dropped this gem in response, but Andy countered by throwing another Swanson-ism back in his face: "This is not how grown-ups deal with tough situations: We face them, head on." Ron hated every second of the interpersonal moment with Chris, but grunted his way through doing the right thing.
"I've found a way to decrease government spending by 8 percent. Here's a hint: No departments."
Ron delivered this line when Chris was threatening to make him assistant city manager. He was probably trying to get out of the gig, but it certainly reflects his Libertarian, small-government stance. "I have so many ideas," the dreamer admitted in the same episode. "Some are simple, like take down traffic lights and eliminate the post office. The bigger ones will be tougher, like 'Bring all this crumbling to the ground.'"
"The amount of non-work being done out there is admirable."
Ron strives to keep his department "as small and ineffective as possible," but City Manager Chris sees things differently. With Leslie busy campaigning, Parks and Rec was tasked with either completing a project without her or hiring a replacement. "It reminds me of when my dad made me choose which of my pet calves to slaughter with my own hands for my sixth birthday. I couldn't choose, so I slaughtered both of them. And they were delicious," Ron recalled. Then he made another double sacrifice. First, he set his team on solving the Pawnee water fountain problem. Then, after April's ingenuity solved the problem, he persuaded her to start using her brain to pick up Leslie's slack. All that training, gone to waste.
Related: Terrific Tom
"What religion am I? Well, I'm a practicing none of your [bleep] business."
Religion was a hot topic at the Reasonableists' end-of-the-world party. Ron was happy to consider being reincarnated as a socket wrench. When the mockumentary interviewer asked about his religion, however, he took offense. Religion is a personal matter, as reflected in his response.
"Straight down the middle, no hook, no spin, no fuss. Anything more and this becomes figure skating."
Ron may have been talking bowling, but this could apply to almost anything, couldn't it?
"We did things your way. Now we're going to do it my way. Prepare to experience true freedom and bliss."
MSN TV does not espouse drowning sorrows in whiskey, but Ron Effing Swanson does. When Chris learned his job was in trouble, Ron shared his path to serenity. Chris probably had fun with the bottle, but he would have been "lit'rally" over the moon if he'd heard Ron's description of their earlier outing: "I wasn't meditating. In fact I wasn't even thinking about anything." Ron Effing Swanson, so Zen he doesn't even know it.
"I'm Ron Swanson and you're Leslie f---ing Knope."
After Ron ran to the backwoods to escape Tammy 1, Leslie showed up with her own romantic drama. As often happens, Ron saw the error of his ways when one of his flock followed his example. His first attempt to motivate Leslie was a childhood tale. "When I was 12, my brother shot me in the pinky toe with a nail gun. Granted, it was a hilarious prank and we all had a good laugh, but I avoided going to the doctor ... After a few weeks, the toe just fell off ... If I had come in right away, it might have saved the toe. You can't run away from your problems." When that didn't work, Ron stood up and reminded Leslie of who they are. Sometimes, that's all it takes.
"Parks and Recreation" airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.