Put on a bib, pour yourself a Scotch, and pile that bacon on your steak, because tonight's the season finale of Parks and Recreation.
We had the pleasure and privilege of chatting with the great Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman, who dished on the quadruple-cliffhanger, "devastating" two-part finale, working with Amy Poehler's "comedy museum"...and how the mustachioed meat lover came to be.
Your real-life wife, Megan Mullally, returns in the finale as Ron's tempestuous ex Tammy. How much of an influence has she been on your acting career?
Meeting Megan pretty much made my life amazing. I was pretty happy biding my time looking for my dream job, and she by far is the most supportive element of my life. She really always kept my confidence up and she coaches me in my auditions. When I finally got the part of Ron Swanson, I was so grateful all of these other crappy TV shows that I had tested for [didn't hire me]—I was like, thank God, the universe saved me for this job. I could not have written a part that was so much my dream part. I could not have even fathomed that it exists.
Everyone involved on P-Rex seems to be having so much fun—what's your group dynamic like?
[Show runners] Mike [Schur] and Greg [Daniels] both are incredible human beings...They do such an amazing job of giving us such a happy, safe place to work. That goes a really long way to creating great comedy...we all get to giggle all the time. Mike Schur is my hero, and I would literally fight the UFC championship if he asked me to...I would fistfight a platoon of Chuck Norrises if Mike so much as nodded in that direction. Amy [Poehler] is the same. There's a scene in the finale where Leslie is trying very badly to cover a lie to Ron. They let Amy just go and I'm sitting there watching two- and three-minute takes of Amy pulling every tool out of her kit, and all I have to do is remain expressionless, which is no small feat—[it's] so hard not to laugh at her. And I'm sitting there thinking, This is like I'm in a comedy museum. I can't believe I get paid to do this and I can go make a sandwich when I want to...When they handed me the Pyramid of Greatness, I fell in a heap on the floor and sobbed with pleasure
You get to go to the comedy museum every day.
Every day. And people give me compliments for it. What a lucky bastard.
The big story this season is Leslie and Ben's romance, but it's Ron and Leslie's relationship that anchors P-Rex.
It's one of the most delightful things about the show, and it came as a surprise to the writers. Ron was not intended to have that kind of affinity with Leslie—he was initially conceived to be much more of an antagonist. The lovable thing about Ron became this man who lives by a few simple rules. They couldn't help but imbue him with a great deal of respect for the character of Leslie. Even though he doesn't agree with most of her politics and he doesn't agree with her ambition to accomplish things, he has to respect that she also have a few simple set of rules when it comes to her work. They care about each other as people even though they butt heads occasionally.
So what can you tease about tonight's finale?
There is going to be an event so traumatic in our finale that there will probably be school closings on Friday and black sheets will be hung from the windows of tenement buildings across the nation. I think urban areas will shut down their transit lines at the devastating effect of what goes down in our finale. It's going to be a very special Parks and Recreation.
There are four huge cliffhangers. Mike Schur said he learned from Greg Daniels that it's really fun with a season finale to write yourself into the most incredibly tight corner that you can, because then you have the whole summer to figure out how to get out of that corner. So they are really setting themselves up for an explosive season four.
Don't miss the special two-part, hour-long finale Parks and Recreation tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC!
You too can fall in a heap on the floor and sob with pleasure with the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness!