Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in "Parks and Recreation.” Colleen Hayes/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ron Swanson was inspired by a California bureaucrat who didn’t believe in her job

The Ron Swanson character in “Parks and Recreation” was inspired in part by a libertarian working in government in Burbank.

To research the oddball world of government portrayed on the NBC sitcom, the creators interviewed actual government officials. They had the idea to create a boss for Leslie Knope — an upbeat, crusading bureaucrat — whose political philosophy was the polar opposite of hers.

In Burbank, they found their real-world basis for Swanson. Executive producers Greg Daniel and Michael Schur recounted the story for the L.A. Times.

“We were talking to one official about wanting to make Leslie’s boss opposed to government,” Daniels said. “Like, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if she’s trying so hard to get stuff accomplished but her boss was like one of those Bush appointees who doesn’t believe in the mission of the branch of government he’s supposed to be overseeing?’ And she looks at us and goes, ‘Well, I’m a libertarian, so I don’t really believe in the mission of my job.'”

“That was an amazing response,” Schur added. “We went, ‘Really?’ and she goes, ‘Yes, I’m aware of the irony.'”

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