Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson character from NBC’s Parks and Recreation is one of the most beloved TV characters of the past few decades. And depending on your personal views on people in general and the government, he might be one of the most relatable. But Parks and Recreation went off the air nearly eight years ago. So, why was Ron Swanson trending on Twitter this morning?
Well, last night Nick Offerman played a character named Bill on the new HBO series The Last Of Us, based on the video game of the same name. The show takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, not unlike The Walking Dead. The series just aired it’s third episode which was highly regarded by critics and fans. And if you’re considering giving the series a try, we’ll advise you to bookmark this story and stop reading here. We don’t want to spoil anything.
Offerman’s Bill character was a doomsday prepper before the world turned upside down, thanks to a mysterious plague. Yes, it’s a bit on the nose, but the video game premiered in 2013. Anyway, Bill is uniquely suited to solitary life, post-apocalypse. As many on Twitter pointed out, the character was basically “Ron Swanson 2.0.” He lives in a town protected by a lethal fence and other traps that prevent almost anyone else from entering. He lives alone and seems to like it that way.
But, one day a guy named Frank (Murray Barlett, a cast member on The White Lotus) falls into one of Bill’s traps – a covered ditch – and Frank decides to help him out. What results is a love story that some compared to the 2009 Pixar film Up. We don’t want to give too much away (even though we warned about spoilers earlier); just watch the show.
The series has made interesting use of music as well. This episode put a spotlight on Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” (which was also the title of the episode). On the day that they met, Bill invited Frank into his house for a meal. Frank notices Bill’s piano and goes through his sheet music. He then starts to play “Long, Long Time.” Then Bill plays it. It’s a great bit of foreshadowing and Ronstadt’s version plays at the end of the episode. We’ll just say that it was one of the more moving hours of TV in recent memory.