Nick Offerman has been a hot topic since his powerful performance in episode three of The Last Of Us. Many were pleasantly surprised with his dramatic acting chops, as he’s primarily known as a comedic actor. But this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone after a quick glance at Offerman’s impressive resume. Here’s a list of Offerman’s top ten best TV roles. Why? Because the man has range, and it’s about time everyone knows.
10. Thaddeus Dowling in Good Omens
Fun fact: Nick Offerman and Neil Gaiman are both fans of each other. This became especially relevant when they were given the opportunity to work together on Gaiman’s long-awaited screen adaptation of Good Omens. The show is a fantastical comedy about an angel and a demon who team up to help raise a child together. They mistakenly believe that the baby is the antichrist, and that they need to intervene in order to stop the end times from coming.
Offerman has a small role as a government agent/ wholesome father of the child. His love of the source material shines through and he brings a good deal of charisma to the show. Offerman’s goofy signature laugh is even included in an episode, which is always a plus. It’s an ambitious and sometimes great show, and getting to see him pop up from time to time makes it even better.
9. Agent Powers in Gravity Falls
Nick Offerman is featured in a ton of offbeat, cult classic shows. So naturally, he and Gravity Falls are a match made in heaven. The Disney Plus show centers around two twins who solve a series of mysteries while spending the summer with a cast of wacky characters.
Offerman plays the role of Agent Powers, a government official with a rare disorder that makes him incapable of perceiving humor. Offerman’s deadpan delivery is a perfect fit for the character, and his instantly recognizable voice makes for a fun cameo that adds to this charming and beloved show.
8. Himself in Making It
It may seem like a bit of a cheat to include any performance as “himself” in this list, but Offerman’s turn as a host of Making It deserves to be included. Making It is an NBC reality competition show that involves several contestants creating impressive crafts. It might seem quaint compared to other titles on this list, but this show’s near-universally positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are nothing to sniff at.
Several positive reviews directly cite Nick Offerman as a reason for the show’s success. His infectious passion and knowledge carry a great deal of the show. He’s a master carpenter and woodworker, and it’s interesting to get a glimpse into this aspect of his life. His friendly chemistry with co-host and former Parks and Recreation co-star Amy Poehler just never gets old. They’re both interesting enough as is to carry the show simply as themselves. It’s a lovely low-stakes binge watch for those who are fans of The Great British Baking Show, or are looking for a similar comfort watch.
7. Murray Thompson in The Resort
Although this performance is lesser known, it still has a lot to offer. The Resort centers around a troubled married couple vacationing at a exotic resort. While on their holiday, they discover and become involved in a mystery that happened several years back. This show takes a ton of twists and turns, perhaps a bit too many. But even in the moments that are head-scratching, the deeply reflective subject matter keeps things interesting.
Nick Offerman plays the father of a girl that went missing as a result of the mystery. He does a great job of balancing the show’s dark comedy while still creating some emotionally intense scenes. His heartfelt portrayal of a grieving father doing his best to cope and move on is a highlight of the show. He also has a particularly surreal Indiana Jones moment where a grizzled version of his character goes somewhat feral while journeying through the jungle. A lot is packed into this show, and it’s quite the adventure. Those who are fans of Palm Springs should give this one a try.
6. Coach Dove Porter in A League of Their Own
Offerman does an excellent job with this TV remake of the classic film of the same name – and makes the role vastly different from Tom Hanks’s performance in the original. Hanks’s version of the coach in the original film centers around a redemption arc. His version of the character starts off as a cynical alcoholic who eventually learns to respect the team. Offerman plays a version of the coach role that strays greatly from the source material. His version of the character is revealed as an antagonist with some truly shady motives.
Offerman plays the duality of this role brilliantly. He starts off mostly fatherly and encouraging, except for a few condescending comments that are initially easy to shrug off. The girls on the team eventually discover that he’s sexist and demeaning, with vain ulterior motives. Though it’s somewhat expected, the twist reveal of his character’s nastiness feels like scandalous betrayal due to Offerman’s likeability as an actor. There’s a certain old-fashioned quality to him that works well in a period piece, and he also brings some comedy to the role by playing up the character’s egotism. His time in this show, while brief, is a great showcase for his range as an actor.
5. Uncle Miltie in Pam and Tommy
Most people will instantly know what Pam and Tommy is about solely based on the title. But for those who missed out on the nineties: it’s about Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape scandal (and the importance of consent.) Although justified, the controversy surrounding the show unfortunately overshadowed the praise that the supporting performances deserved. Although the show is titled Pam and Tommy, a surprisingly large portion of the show is devoted to the antics of Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen’s characters. With Rogen as more of a straight man, Offerman’s unapologetic sliminess steals the show.
Offerman’s performance as a shady adult film director is extremely underrated. As the sleazy shyster (his character is the one who ultimately gets the tape distributed) he’s so fun to dislike in this role. He shows his chops as a shameless character actor and walks the line between humorous and borderline sociopathic in a way that’s rare for any actor to pull off. It’s easy to wonder how this performance could possibly be based off of a real-life person, but in the best possible way.
4. Karl Weathers in Fargo
Fans of the hit show Fargo surely remember this one – for the rest of you, Fargo is a black comedy about various crimes occurring within the small midwestern town of Fargo. Each season contains its own independent story, and Offerman is quite the highlight of Season 2. He plays a drunken lawyer who is assigned a case by default, as he is the only lawyer within the small town. Although his interpretations of the law are at times bizarre, he is a surprisingly savvy con artist.
Nick Offerman’s comedic chops are a perfect match for the dry comedy and surreal nature of the show. As great as the writing is, half of what makes his performance hilarious is Offerman’s ability to make the character come across as so unwaveringly confident in all of his choices, no matter how bizarre. Both that and the chaotic way they styled his facial hair make him an absolute scene-stealer in this show.
3. Bill in The Last of Us
This episode has recently received a ton of buzz, and a lot of it is in regards to Offerman’s performance. The episode expands upon the source material from the game beautifully, properly fleshing out Bill and Frank’s story.
The episode centers around an unlikely twenty-year romance, beginning to end, that unfolds during a fungi zombie apocalypse. Offerman is perfectly cast as Bill, a grizzled loner with a penchant for crafting traps. Both he and Murray Bartlett deliver a beautiful and tragic masterclass in storytelling, and the hype surrounding it is well deserved.
2. Forest in Devs
Despite his reputation as a likable fan-favorite, Offerman is an impressively ominous villain in this underrated sci-fi show. Reviews for this showhave been mixed, with some critiquing the plot. Regardless, Offerman is captivating in this role. He stars as the founder of the mysterious and cult-like tech company, Devs. The show centers around the secret and morally reprehensible project that Forest is conducting.
This is definitely one of the meatiest and most fleshed out roles of Offerman’s career so far. He remains grounded in an occasionally messy storyline full of twists and turns. In addition to his chilling demeanor and progressively unhinged behavior, Forest is also given a complex and tragic backstory. Given the serious nature of the show, Offerman more than proves that he doesn’t have to rely on comedy to give a captivating performance. Some of his best acting in this show is entirely silent, as he tells a great deal of this story with truly unnerving glances. Fans of Annihilation and Ex Machina should check this one out.
1. Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation
Surely this is a shock to no one. After years of featured TV roles and slowly building up his resume, Nick Offerman was officially put on the map with the role of Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation. The quirky mockumentary follows a group of small town public officials as they attempt to do good through wacky antics. Offerman became an immediate fan favorite as Ron, the gruff he-man with a heart of gold.
He’s such a perfect fit in this role that it seems as if the character was specifically tailored to fit his strengths. Both he and Ron share some similarities: woodworking, saxophone playing, and a love of whiskey. They even share a love interest, seeing as Offerman’s real-life wife Megan Mullaley plays his ex-wife Tammy 2 in the show. It’s a classic example of perfect casting.
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