TV grumps hold a special place in our hearts: Oscar the Grouch, Muppets Statler and Waldorf, Simon Cowell. But there are also grumps who are actually lovable.
Enter Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) of NBC's "Parks and Recreation." The actors who play those roles were both born today, so here are five of our favorite moments of the two to celebrate their birthdays (Offerman's 43rd and Plaza's 29th).
1. Real misanthropes are made, not born. Ron is the ornery, mustachioed Yoda to April's sullen, sloth-eyed Luke. Here, Ron imparts some of his hard-won wisdom on how to be antisocial. Of course, it's no fun being antisocial alone, which is what makes these two work.
2. Offerman and Plaza do wonders with body language; most of their best jokes are just quiet smiles and baleful stares. At her assistant's desk, April proves herself a master of space and time by making appointments on June 50th at o'clock while Ron watches approvingly.
3. What happens when immovable object April Ludgate meets unstoppable force Chris Traeger? That's when you bring in an even more immovable object (apologies to every philosophy 101 teacher that sentence offended). Deep in the heart of every person working in Congress is a tiny little plaque that reads, "I'd work all night if it meant nothing got done."
4. Of course, there's give-and-take between the two. Despite Ron's best efforts to conceal the effects of his hernia, April's no fool and manages to both help and hurt him in equal measure.
5. In the end, though, what makes these two characters so great and what makes them unique in the history of TV curmudgeons — a storied history that includes Gregory House, M.D.; Archie Bunker; Larry David; and Andy Rooney — is that their relationship is almost like father and daughter. Which means they care about one another and will let each other know when they're about to do something dumb. Like when April, unsure of her feelings for Andy Dwyer, tries to drive him away and Ron crafts a parable for her in his own inimitable way.
Happy birthday, my lord, my lady. Long may you reign.
- Ron Swanson
- Nick Offerman
- April Ludgate
- Aubrey Plaza
- Simon Cowell