The Best Ron Swanson Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation'

List Rules
Vote up the episodes of 'Parks and Recreation' that show off the best of Ron Swanson.

The quintessential Ron Swanson episode of Parks and Recreation should feature at least one of the following: copious amounts of meat, stoicism, unbridled joy for a passion, and Duke Silver. Right off the bat, some of the best Ron Swanson episodes of Parks and Recreation are "The Fight," "Ron and Tammy," and "Eagleton."

"The Fight" Parks and Rec episode is a double whammy, because it showcases not only Ron’s simplistic and steadfast nature (Morton’s salt is one of the only products he endorses), but also his hilarious, giddy side. After "The Fight" first aired, there were websites literally dedicated just to showing drunk Ron dancing on a loop. Of course, "Go Big or Go Home" brought us the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, and the value of that cannot be undersold. 

The best part about Ron Swanson, however, is the soft and caring side, typically hidden by his strong and steadfast demeanor. Ron and Leslie have always had a tender, caring relationship. That’s what makes the aptly titled "Ron and Leslie" episode so special. Of course, no Ron Swanson episode list would be complete without Ron and Tammy. Whether you’re talking about Tammy 1, Tammy 2, or his own mother, Tammys certainly play an important part in Ron Swanson’s life. Read on below and be sure to vote up the your favorite episodes of Parks and Recreation that showcase Ron Swanson.


  • Go Big or Go Home
    Video: YouTube

    Season 3 Episode 1 "Go Big or Go Home" sets up one of the strongest seasons of Parks and Recreation. Ben Wyatt reveals that one of the new responsibilities of the office is to run the youth basketball program, and who better to coach than Ron Swanson? This episode was applauded especially for Ron's "Pyramid of Greatness," which is a set of guidelines for how to live, according to the Swanson way. 

    Ron teaches his pupils the building blocks for success as a team: "Rage, poise, property rights, and fish... For sport only. Not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable." When they go head to head with the other team, led by Andy, Ron urges the players to feel no sympathy. Everything goes according to plan, until Tom interjects as referee, calling nonexistent fouls on Ron's team. The situation escalates to the point where Ron throws a plastic chair across the gym, and it is fantastic.

    Best quote: "Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon."

    • Season: 3
    • Episode Number: 1
  • 2
    28 VOTES

    Road Trip

    Road Trip
    Video: YouTube

    Who says Ron Swanson isn't good with kids? Season 3 Episode 13 features a Ron-based subplot that's too funny to pass up. While the other characters are working through their romantic relationships, Ron strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young girl visiting the Parks and Recreation department on a school field trip. After learning that she needs to interview someone from the office for a school report on "why government matters," Ron perks up. He begins to tell her about taxes and citizens' rights - eating part of her lunch as a visual aid - using metaphors that he believes are suitable for an elementary schooler. The hilarious exchange is punctuated by the girl's willingness to learn, and Ron's eagerness to teach. 

    Best quote: "My name is Ron Swanson, and I'm gonna tell you everything you need to know about the miserable, screwed-up world of local government."

    Original Airing: May 12, 2011

    Season: 3

    Episode Number: 14

    Director: Troy Miller

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    Ron and Tammys

    Ron and Tammys
    Photo: NBC

    One Tammy is bad enough, but it turns out Ron has another ex-wife named Tammy (which also happens to be his mother's name). This Tammy, known as Tammy 1, is played by Patricia Clarkson. She comes to serve Ron a tax audit, and we learn that Ron isn't so good with receipts. He prefers to keep his earnings in gold, buried all over Pawnee. Also, Tammy 1 used to be Ron's teacher, and also delivered him as a baby. 

    Leslie and Tammy 2 (Mullally) turn to Ron's mother Tammy (Paula Pell) for help. She challenges Tammy 1 to a "prairie drink-off," where whoever drinks the most has the rights to Ron's future. In a twist, Ron ends up out-drinking them all, and reclaims his fate. It's a great call-back episode, with plenty of wacky character interactions. 

    Best quote: "My first ex-wife's name is Tammy, my second ex-wife's name is Tammy. My Mom's name is Tamara... she goes by Tammy."

    • Season: 4
    • Episode Number: 2
  • 3
    30 VOTES
    Indianapolis
    Video: YouTube

    A Ron and Leslie roadtrip is bound to be an interesting time. In Season 3 Episode 6, the duo travel to the Indiana Statehouse to receive a commendation for their revival of the Pawnee Harvest Festival. However, Ron is only concerned with visiting Charles Mulligan's Steak House. To his horror, he learns that the place has been shut down due to health code violations. 

    Chris tries to make it up to Ron by cooking a meal for everyone, but makes matters worse when Ron finds out the dishes are vegetarian. Rather than starve, Ron decides to gut it out and eat at a local diner. Upon being disgusted by the quality of steak offered at the diner, he asks the waiter to bring him "all the bacon and eggs" he has. It's an iconic - and oft quoted - Ron Swanson moment.

    Best quote: "Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, 'Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.' What I said was, 'Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.'" 

    • Season: 3
    • Episode Number: 6
  • 4
    29 VOTES
    Ron and Tammy
    Video: YouTube

    Ron doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. He holds his heart close to his chest, and doesn't let much sway his unwavering principles - except for Tammy. Ron's ex-wife Tammy runs the Pawnee library department, and she wants to take over the vacant lot that Leslie plans to turn into a park. She still has an incredible hold over Ron, and wields that power to get her way. Their hot-and-cold relationship is wild, intense, and ridiculous, and it makes for great television. 

    The best part? Tammy is played by Nick Offerman's real-life wife Megan Mullally. Their chemistry is indisputable, and this episode features one of Offerman's best Ron performances ever. Lucky for us, Tammy would return in future episodes for more romantic antics. 

    Best quote: Ron: "Every time she laughs, an angel dies. Even telemarketers avoid her. Her birth was payback for the sins of man. But you know the worst thing about her?"
    Leslie: "She works for the library."
    Ron: "She works for the library."

    • Season: 2
    • Episode Number: 8
    • Series: Parks and Recreation