‘Parks and Recreation’: Ron Swanson’s Iconic Drunk Dance Came From a Bet

In Parks and Recreation Season 3, the whole parks crew ended the night at the Snakehole Lounge to promote Tom Haverford’s (Aziz Ansari) new drink Snake Juice. When everyone has a little too much of the juice, drunken antics led to asinine fights. However, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) had the time of his life — and the scene came from a real-life bet.

Aubrey Plaza called the ‘Parks and Recreation’ episode ‘The Fight’ a ‘very fun selfish exercise’

Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson drinks his coffee from behind his desk with a scowl on his face.
Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson | Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Season 3 of Parks and Recreation offered a little more inhibition from the gang. Star Amy Poehler (who also played leading lady Leslie Knope) wrote and directed the episode “The Fight.” It became synonymous with Parks and Rec history, mostly because everyone gets blitzed.

“It came at a time when it was like, everybody knew their characters so well,” Aubrey Plaza told Too Fab in 2020. “The part of your personality that comes out [when you’re drunk] is like the deep, deep one that’s been buried inside,” she continued. “With those characters, it was such a fun game to decide, if Jerry was drunk, what is his deep personality behavior that’s gonna come out?”

Plaza described being around “such incredible actors” an amazing experience. She noted it was “just so fun to see” how Poehler put the episode together.

“Basically, it was like a very selfish fun exercise for Amy where she was like, ‘I’m just going to write my ideal thing I want to see these people do and then they’ll have to do it because it’s in the script,'” she said. “And she knows us all so well, so I think she wrote to our strengths and it was like, let loose and have fun. It was really, really … it was a very special time.”

Nick Offerman’s drunk dance came from a bet

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Offerman’s character Ron Swanson can only be seen truly drunk one time throughout the series. However, it’s by far one of his most memorable moments. In “The Fight,” the characters get drunker by the moment leading to an iconic series of improvised scenes from the stars.

According to Screen Rant and Twitter, the cast bet on who could make Poehler laugh the most. That’s where Offerman’s drunk dance came about. The site also revealed that each of the cast filmed their drunk scene over the span of two days — alone — so no one would know what they did until later.

Poehler said it was “the most fun I’ve ever had.”

Plaza agreed, saying, “It was like a weird acting challenge and [Nick Offerman] putting that stupid hat on and actually smiling, dancing, you would never expected to even see him happy,” she said. “It was fun to come up with those choices.”

Offerman also nailed another scene from ‘The Fight’ in one take

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The cast of Parks and Rec is notoriously funny with or without a script. Many parts of the series were improvised or caught just right in one take.

Such is the case for Offerman when he states: “I won’t publicly endorse a product unless I use it exclusively and I really believe in it. My only official recommendations are US Army issued mustache trimmers, Morton’s Salt, and the C.R. Lawrence fine two-inch style oscillating knife blade.”

Is there anything Offerman can’t do?