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The Ron Swanson Scene That Parks And Recreation Fans Agree Is The Most Heartbreaking

Despite the fact that Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) of "Parks and Recreation" constantly reminds the audience just how much he despises feelings, he is not infrequently at the center of some of the most emotionally poignant moments in the entire series. For a man who (by his own admission) hates thoughtful gifts, personal conversations, and the act of crying itself, Ron manages to pull on the audience's heartstrings dozens of times throughout the show.

A few notable examples include the time he walked Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) down the aisle at her wedding, as well as the moment when he reads a Robert Burns poem on top of a Scottish cliffside and almost starts crying. Indeed, as the series goes on, Ron slowly learns to embrace his emotions, especially when he starts a family with Diane Lewis (Lucy Lawless). Although by the end of the series Ron is much less standoffish than when we first meet him (and has accepted most of his "work proximity associates" as true friends), he still prefers to keep most of his feelings to himself. That is perhaps why it is so heartbreaking to watch his emotional confession to Leslie in the Season 7 episode "Leslie and Ron."

Fans say Ron's confession to Leslie is heartbreaking and relatable

At the start of Season 7, we quickly learn that Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope have somehow had a falling out that has turned them from close friends to bitter enemies. It isn't until Episode 4, "Leslie and Ron," that we learn exactly where the crack in their relationship came from. In a rare display of emotion, Ron confesses that, when Leslie and the rest of their colleagues left to continue their careers elsewhere, he began to feel very lonely working without his friends. "One day I looked up ... just didn't recognize anyone," he says.

"The most heartbreaking scene in the series," wrote u/TheChlorideThief in a thread on Reddit. They also included a screencap of Ron looking at the new, unrecognizable Parks department, which was too much for some commenters. "Just looking at this meme hurts," said another user. 

Although much of the scene's emotional gravitas comes from seeing the normally stoic Swanson acting so emotional, many users also said they find the scene heartbreaking because of how relatable it is. "This happened to me in real life at various points of my life, and yeah, it sucks," wrote one user. "As you get older, you collect more and more of these painful reminders that a good [part] of your life is gone and you can never get it back," echoed u/m333t.

All told, it's clear that fans consider this scene, in particular, to be the most heartbreaking Ron Swanson moment ever — not only because it shows one of the series' most guarded characters in a state of emotional vulnerability, but also because his pain is extremely relatable.