The Envelope, LOS ANGELES TIMES, THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
`In this age of information and an embarrassment of choices, people really are charmed by a character who lives his life in a very black-and-white way.’
RON: Like his character on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Nick Offerman has a woodshop. It’s a functioning business.
Like Ron Swanson, the meat-loving, libertarian boss he masterfully (under)plays on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Nick Offerman has his own woodshop. His, though, is a functioning business in Glendale, a place Offerman runs with his brother, building some of the most beautiful tables and canoes you’ll ever see.
On a shelf near his desk, Offerman displays a jigsaw puzzle titled “Good Morning!” picturing various breakfast foods, including Ron’s favored sausage and bacon. A fan sent it to him, along with a Swansonesque note explaining how she found the puzzle at a yard sale and persuaded the seller to cut his price in half — from $2 to a buck.
“I think he learned a little about object depreciation that day,” the woman wrote, displaying a capitalistic rigor that would no doubt make Swanson giggle like a schoolgirl.
Says Offerman: “Ron’s simple life philosophy strikes a chord with people. In this age of information and an embarrassment of choices, people really are charmed by a character who lives his life in a very black-and-white way based on a few simple philosophical rules.”
Well, more than a few, actually. One
Ron Swanson T-shirt features a “pyramid of success,” a play on former UCLA men’s basketball Coach John Wooden’s philosophical diagram. Among the tenets: “Body grooming: Only women shave beneath the neck” and “Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.”
While Offerman claims he doesn’t possess Swanson’s certainty about life (who could?), it’s clear from talking to him and watching him in his shop that the veteran character actor adheres pretty strictly to his own code, a belief set that includes, yes, a love for a bone-in rib-eye steak and a disdain for the trendy.
“Don’t ask me about Facebook,” Offer-man says. “There are books to read, songs to learn on my guitar, flowers to grow and a marriage I need to nurture.”