Parks and Recreation Coverage: All About Ron

Episode Commentary: “Ron & Tammys”

Where last week’s premiere was all about plot exposition, this young season’s second installment, “Ron & Tammys,” grew organically out of the characters, bringing the show roaring back to form.

We got a further gaze into the past that produced the man called Ron Swanson, that sonic boom of American self-reliance, but also another of his transformations—once again to please a possible female companion—reminding us of the vulnerability all that noise seeks to conceal.

It’s this contradiction that makes Ron more than a cartoon like Dwight Schrute from “The Office.” Ron’s independence has its limits—he is, at his core, a lonely man eager for companionship, but unable to find a woman who will accept him for who he is. His relationship with Wendy, Tom Haverford’s Canadian ex-wife, is becoming something a fluke—suggesting that maybe his feelings for her weren’t legit, seeing as she never managed to climb behind the surface.

But “Ron & Tammys,” title aside, was about more than Ron Swanson.

Every character got a chance to shine—it was a sharing of the wealth that would do Proudhon or Kropotkin proud. Leslie Knope in a drinking contest, Tom Haverford in his awesome scarf, Ben touring the Entertainment 720 H.Q., April falling in love with Tammy One, Ann Perkins shooting her P.S.A. and contending with her diva lead actor, Chris Traeger—this show was packed with indelible moments. The script by Norm Hisock is brilliantly sharp, streamlined and efficient.

But one highlight pops out: Ron’s aforementioned transformation. Fluorescent polo shirt, dorky Ned Flanders repartee, and…(gasp) shaved mustache. Nick Offerman once again shows he has more than glowering and muttering in his comic arsenal, one of the most formidable on television.

Ron’s transformation is such a huge event that it overshadowed the introduction of the original Tammy: Tammy Swanson, mother to Ron. The storyline of Ron’s latest capitulation to female authority would have been more effective if spread over multiple episodes. As it is, Tammy Swanson appears suddenly and goes to war over Ron without us even knowing her.

And, just as suddenly, the Tammy One storyline appears over after a mere two episodes. While the story was amusing, it was wrapped up just a bit too quickly. Hopefully, the show has not shot its wad early and the producers are making room for momentous events just around the corner.

About Justin Mitchell 48 Articles
Justin Mitchell is a freelance multi-media journalist and writer working in New York. In addition to his work at Review Fix, Justin has written for Latitude News, The New York Daily News, and Feet in 2 Worlds. Follow him on twitter: @mittinjuschell

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