While strolling on the ocean floor in our personalized diving suits today (we would never be foolish enough to let the other construct our own suit, of course), Maryann and I came to realize the tenuous, fragile line keeping us from killing each other at that moment. This, of course, led us to discuss which television character would have the best chance of surviving when stuck on a deserted island.
At first, we debated all television character, before deciding to narrow it down. I posited, “How about medical drama characters?” and Maryann quickly flicked that idea away. After throwing around a few genres — including characters on dramas like Felicity — with Maryann saying, “They’d all just die instantly” — we landed on sitcoms.
My choice was almost instantaneous: Avery Jessup. Avery Jessup is Elizabeth Banks‘ character on 30 Rock who is known for being sexy, determined, and unstoppable. It was a perfect fit. Maryann thought for a moment, worried she had met her match before the challenge had even begun when she shouted, “Ron Swanson!” in triumph. Ron Swanson is Nick Offerman’s cult hit character on Parks and Recreation famous for being ultra manly, completely self reliant, and meat loving.
We had our contenders.
The problem we encountered after choosing our team is that we believed both characters would actually be able to survive indefinitely on the island because they are so skilled, and so we changed the parameters of this debate from simply existing on an island with scant resources to having the two characters inhabit one island, lined with traps, and the condition for victory is whoever could traverse the harsh terrain and kill the other first. So now we present to you: Celebrity Deathmatch Island: Ron Swanson vs. Avery Jessup.
Maryann’s take: I’ll admit that it was a challenge to top Greg’s pick for this debate. After much consideration, however, I believe I found a more than suitable contender in Ron Swanson: a man who would thrive in a solitary outdoor environment riddled with danger.
He would succeed in both major components of this challenge, even over Avery Jessup. First, he would traverse the island with ease; then he would seduce Avery Jessup with his masculine prowess until he murdered her in cold blood, all while keeping his mustache pristine.
First, I’ll address the survival portion of the challenge. On the island Greg and I have devised (from our dream journals), we included a number of obstacles to make traversing it next to impossible for an ordinary human being (but Greg and I have completed the exact obstacle course numerous times–I’m always two-tenths of a second faster). Ron Swanson, however, is no ordinary human being. He would meet each challenge with ease. As an outdoor enthusiast and expert whittler, he would be able to navigate his way around the avoidable dangers without fail. Even if he were to run into an obstacle, fighting his way through it would be simple.
Swanson is an avid hunter and has spent copious amounts of time in the Indianan woods. Granted, that’s not a tropical jungle full of tigers, but it has unspeakable dangers of its own. He’s had to lead Boy Scout troops, and the sometimes incompetent Parks Department employees, on survival trips in the woods. Tigers are nothing compared to Boy Scouts. Hunting the striped beasts would be simple, even fun, for Swanson. I imagine he would celebrate his kill by stopping to roast them and eat tiger steak wrapped in tiger bacon with a hearty serving of tiger blood. He may even eat all his tiger steaks raw; it’s likely that he would be able to survive on nothing but raw animal carcass and whiskey, if need be.
Next, he would have the land mines to navigate. If his awesome mustache wasn’t enough to guide him around the land mines, he could certainly whittle himself a slingshot to use to uncover the mines and safely cross the field. He could also probably survive a few land mine blasts. After all, he once sat in his office overnight without moving when he had a hernia. Ron Swanson is no stranger to pain and he refuses to let physical injury win.
The other obstacles are no trouble for someone who spends as much time outside as Swanson does. He’s an expert camper, which would serve him well on a two day trek across an (evil) island. Food would be no challenge (he ate the tigers after all) and crossing a river is a laughable obstacle for a man with his woodworking skills.
Finally, the death portion. Because Ron Swanson would naturally have no difficulty tracking Avery Jessup’s every move (with all the hunting and outdoors-y skills–I’ve said this already), he’d be able to find her after crossing the river and wait for her to come to him. He would craft himself an exquisite rocking chair to sit in while he waits patiently for his prey. Pipe in hand (he carved it after he finished the rocking chair), Avery Jessup would stumble upon him and be in awe of his exuberant masculinity.
Ron Swanson has a way with the ladies; he particularly likes “strong, self-possessed women at the top of their fields.” Sound like Avery Jessup? (It does.) He would begin to fight her, as the challenge calls for, but he would slowly wear her down with his masculine charm. Because he’s built such an incredible tolerance to alcohol, as well as the ability to meditate for hours, he must have an unyielding stamina, which would serve him well if it were to come to fisticuffs. Ron Swanson’s pure manliness would be enough to defeat Avery in fight, plus he’s still got that awesome sling shot he made. It would not, however, get to that point.
After a bit of wordplay and slap fighting, Swanson would use his wiles to seduce Avery, who would be unable to resist. Perhaps he’d play some smooth jazz for her or show off his ability to eat all the bacon and eggs in a diner; how he does it is irrelevant. After making love to her in the sand, he would fashion a murder weapon from a coconut and FINISH HER.
Greg’s take: When Maryann and I began this debate, I almost instantly picked Avery Jessup. Elizabeth Banks herself said that she envisioned Avery Jessup as being the ultimate contender in another recent movie she was in, The Hunger Games, saying, “… [She] would kill everyone in that arena. She would run and, like, just murder everyone.”
We know a few things about Avery that would give her the edge in this scenario. Firstly, she takes great care to master her physical condition, running on a regular basis, as well as breaking bricks with her hands, which we learn when she says they make her do that in North Korea as punishment but she paid her personal trainer in America to do the same thing.
Her physical prowess makes her a force to be reckoned with in this situation. She could go far longer than Ron Swanson when it comes to running across the island and, despite what you may think, she probably also has the same upper body strength as Ron, allowing her to easily chop down any trees with ease and cracking coconuts with a single blow. She is an efficient powerhouse of a human being.
Secondly, Avery is superior because, while Ron has a tranquility to him that may help him act under such extreme pressure, Avery has an unyielding personality. She never gives up, no matter how stupid the argument. She would do anything necessary to win, and this strict Ethic of Victory also allows her to push herself far past a normal human being — I mean, what other woman would try to travel hundreds of miles while in labor so her baby is born on American, rather than Canadian, soil? I would say, “Few women.” It is this fortitude that allowed her to stay sane during her year-long captivity in North Korea and forced marriage to Kim Jong-un.
Finally, Avery Jessup is quite intelligent, as we discovered in both the first episode we meet her in, where she is able to immediately see through a lie because she has memorized Geneva time, or the last episode she was in, where we discover she had in under a year constructed her own form of communication through finger taps. More importantly, she’s a master tactician, having studied the strategies of such famous warriors as Napoleon and Fabian.
These three things — body of steel, will of steel, and mind of steel — come together to form a woman who is practically a cyborg. Avery Jessup could replace Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator and the film would have lasted 12 minutes because she would have killed Sarah Connor no matter who had come to save her because she is unrivaled in her awesomeness.
Also, I think it’s important to note that Ron Swanson has showed he can’t resist feminine wiles all too well, and Avery Jessup has never disappointed when it comes to looks.
The story of how she survives is simple: She can harvest coconuts and subsist simply off them, needing no other tools to help her besides her bare hands. She’s also used to running marathons on nothing but coconut water so she’d actually be eating better than normal if she also had the coconut meat.
She’d proceed to use these coconuts in order to set off the shorter section of mines and venturing into the den of the tigers, where she would stealthily elude them thanks to her noted quietness and speed. If need be, she’d punch them in the face.
Next, she swims across the river, even though it is roughly two miles across, which is easy for someone with the physical talents she possesses.
She would, however, avoid the mountains. This is important to note. She’d venture to the other den of tigers and repeat her earlier way to deal with them, because unlike stocky, hairy Ron Swanson, she would not do well at great heights if it got too cold.
Finally, she would swim around the shallow currents past the mine field and stalk Ron from the side, while he is obliviously doing something like making a raft or gun or something, right Maryann? She throws a coconut or two to distract him, and he takes the bait just long enough for her to sneak behind him and break his kidneys with her fists.
Prepare to die, Ron Swanson.
Maryann’s final take: Or, more realistically, the two would end up falling in love and neither one would kill the other. They’d live their lives out on the sandy beaches with piranha infested waters.