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The One Episode Of Parks And Rec That Doesn't Feature Ron Swanson

If Nick Offerman hadn't been cast on the NBC sitcom, "Parks & Recreation" would have still been a pretty good show about plucky city government officials, but it wouldn't have had the surly greatness of Ron Swanson. A traditionally masculine libertarian who enjoys hunting and a good Scotch whiskey, Ron (Offerman) is the head of the Pawnee Parks & Recreation Department, despite believing the government shouldn't really exist. The laconic conservative often clashes with his deputy director Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) over department spending but also respects Leslie's skills and determination. Their unlikely friendship eventually becomes one of the touchstones of the series.

Offerman's casting originally met resistance from NBC executives when the creators wanted him for Ron (via The AV Club). But his baritone, deadpan delivery of lines like "Child labor laws are ruining this country" quickly made Ron Swanson a breakout character. He remained one of the most beloved figures of the sitcom until it ended in 2015.

Fans likely can't picture a version of "Parks & Recreation" without the presence of Ron, but there is one episode of the series that he doesn't make an appearance in.

Ron is out of commission in Beauty Pageant

The one episode out of 126 installments of "Parks & Rec" that Ron Swanson doesn't show up for is the early Season 2 episode "Beauty Pageant." It's explained in passing by Leslie that Ron is recovering from hernia surgery.

This was actually established in the previous airing "The Stakeout," as Ron, in extreme pain from the hernia, literally doesn't move from his chair all day. Not wanting to deal with the problem or let his co-workers know, Swanson is locked in a ludicrous position. The stubborn government employee doesn't even shift when the lights in the building shut off for the night.

Only April (Aubrey Plaza), who is just as cynical as Ron, notices something is wrong and returns to the office later to take him to the hospital. Ron being wheeled out of the department in his office chair isn't exactly dignified, but he does get to respond to April's "You ready?" with "I was born ready. I'm Ron f****** Swanson." It's a hilarious, genuinely cool line, and it quickly became a meme and a defining moment for the character and the show. His absence from "Beauty Pageant" is well worth it for that scene alone.