Duels, or “classy showdowns” as they are often called by no one, have been solving hot debates for ages. Duels have played a major part in American history. Little known fact? The Lincoln-Douglas debates, The Bush-Gore election and The Thomas Crown Affair were all settled via a duel. So were the last three American Gladiators championships, and some of the most famous arguments between banjos.
Duels are useful for delivering crowds a champion, through often unpredictable means (just ask Alexander Hamilton). Television loves a surprise, so what better way to measure and battle elements of TV than with a duel? Here, we will battle two characters in an imaginary contest of wills. Sometimes a winner will be crowned because of pertinent facts, and sometimes in spite of them.
This week: Ron Swanson v. Liz Lemon in an eating contest.
You’ll recall Elizabeth M. “Lesbian Sourfruit” Lemon born October 14, 1970 and weighing in at “none of your business probably” once ate a 54 dollar steak while her boss, Jack Donaghy spoke a fifty-second monologue. However, Ron “F-ing” Swanson born [redacted] and weighing in at “Why are you asking?”, recently thanked a plateful of ribs for joining him at a department meeting. For Lemon, food is a sort of religion, second only to whatever Oprah tells her to do. For Swanson, food is a (medium) rare freedom in these days of big government.
Lemon has cheese for different times of day, including “night cheese” and its theme song of the same name. Swanson refuses to comb his moustache, so that he can eat pieces of steak out it days after a favorite meal. An eating contest between the two would be the stuff of legend. Let’s break it down.
Both characters have co-workers who can backup them up, at least for a little while. Leslie Knope could easily assist Swanson in the waffles or whipped cream rounds — but once we step into calzone territory, Swanson is on his own. Similarly, Jack Donaghy, a known stress-eater, could help Lemon pound some cheese balls or chug a McFlurry — but his heart health would prevent him from fully supporting his mentee much further. Point: Swanson
Displays of Food-love
Ron Swanson has staged several food-related temper fits that show he would be a terrifying opponent. The man has a photo album dedicated to steaks he ate at Charles Mulligan’s Steakhouse. When he discovered “the most special place on earth” was closed by the health department, Swanson cried almost as hard as when he ate all of his trail-snack bacon in the woods. His loyalty to food is impressive, however one must remember that Liz Lemon ate so many Sabor de Soledad cheese curls that she experienced a false pregnancy — and then she continued to eat them. Neither of these people are amateurs, but Lemon once ate a ham sandwich out of the garbage. Point: Lemon
A technician at handling food — even if it’s merely to throw out sample vegan bacon one slice at a time — Ron Swanson knows how to cook a burger. Using ground beef from Food and Stuff, he prepared one so well that it turned even the most discriminating health nut into a ravenous carnivore. So, if the eating contest is one in which the competitors cook their own meals, Swanson would definitely have the upper hand. Even though Lemon watches copious amounts of the Food Network, despite its lack of a news program, she only uses her oven to warm her jeans. Point: Swanson
Swanson once spent an entire day hunting down a steak. Even after being thwarted several times, by things like Portobello mushrooms and idiots, he continued to fight. Finally, he was able to order “all the bacon and eggs you have,” to fill his steak-less void. While this kind of consuming drive is impressive, never forget that his competitor once pooped her pants a little bit at a Country Steaks all-you-can-eat buffet and didn't leave until she finished her second plate of shrimp. Point: Lemon
Swanson is willing to go to events purely based on the fact that his second favorite food will make an appearance wrapped around his first favorite food. This is an unpredictable man. Lemon infamously threatened her staff with faces cut up so bad they’d have chins when her sandwich went missing. She is volatile but not very unpredictable, considering she believes that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich. Swanson both figuratively and literally bobs and weaves (even when he’s not sleep-fighting), so he’d likely knock over a dazed, sleep-eating Lemon. Point: Swanson
The Swanson v. Lemon eating contest would be extremely close, but it would not impossible to call. In the end, Ron would ultimately lose after refusing to eat any vegetables because “he is not a rabbit.” Though likely unbeknownst to her, and in a similar fashion to the way a pet eats medicine coated with peanut butter, Lemon would nonetheless eat the veggies emerging victorious. After a few rage filled table punches Swanson would accept defeat gracefully like a real man, while Lemon would likely attempt a victory dance of some kind.
Winner: Lemon (Shut it down.)
Laura Jayne Martin lives and writes in New York City. She is not available for children's birthday parties.