The Parks and Recreation series finale failed Ron Swanson significantly. In a comedy series filled with career-making performances, Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson consistently stands out as a fan favorite. Strangely, Ron was the only one who didn't seem to have a complete ending.
This isn't to say that Ron Swanson happily canoeing alone on a lake wasn't one of the most poignant ways to close a beloved television dramedy. In the end, Ron was practically in his own personal slice of heaven, carved out for Ron by his closest workplace proximity acquaintance, former Indiana governor Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). However, a crucial piece was missing in Ron's new beginning as the superintendent for the National Park Service.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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Though the Parks and Recreation finale saw Ron showing Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott) a picture of him and Diane's (Lucy Lawless) kids - the eldest of which is going to Stanford University - neither Diane nor their two daughters and son appear in the ending. This hurts the character more than any Parks and Rec plothole. Apart from serving as the show's satirical sounding board for libertarian politics, Ron's journey was also about him learning to become an empathic - and not just useful - person. In Parks and Recreation season 5, Diane became one of the handful of people to actually break through Ron's barriers after Diane called the local government hotline for help. Audiences already knew that Ron would be a great father thanks to his relationship with Andy (Chris Pratt), but it was Diane and her kids who showed Ron that having his own family would make him happy. Considering their impact on Ron's life, Parks and Recreation could've done a lot better than just having Ron show a picture of the kids in the ending.
Ron's Park & Rec Ending Should've Been Much Better
The Parks and Recreation finale should have included Ron Swanson actually showing his kids around the Pawnee National Park - before he rows off alone in a canoe. Lucy Lawless' Diane couldn't be in the ending due to scheduling conflicts with another show, but Parks and Recreation casting Ron and Diane's kids for the final episode would've made up for the glaring absence of the woman Ron chose to spend his life with. The Pawnee National Park represents everything that Leslie and the crew have ever accomplished - the realization of their collective dream of providing a public service that even distant future generations can benefit from. It doesn't make sense that Ron didn't at least show his kids - especially Ivy who's going to college - what hard work and dedication can accomplish.
Throughout Parks and Recreation, it's established that Ron is a great teacher and father figure. Diane or her kids not appearing in the final scenes simply don't do justice to the Ron Swanson that audiences have come to know and love. The final scenes of Ron Swanson in the Parks and Recreation ending were fine, but upon closer inspection, it only barely holds up to the Swanson standard.