Good news: Ron Swanson is ready to love again! Better news: Her name is not Tammy 3! Lucy Lawless will guest-star in multiple episodes of NBC’s Parks and Recreation as Diane Lewis, a middle school vice principal who becomes the object of Ron’s affection (he’d probably hate that expression), and you can get your first look at this coupling in the photos below. When the city starts a 311-type community hotline, “Diane is ringing up about a pothole in her driveway, and Ron (Nick Offerman) finally takes it upon himself to go and fix the hole because of course he’s such a man, he can fix anything,” says Lawless. “So he’s going to fill my pothole, if you know what I mean.” (He might like that expression a little better.)
What does Ron see in Diane? “She’s tough, funny, and shops at Food and Stuff,” says the actress, who was pursued by producers for an earlier conception of Tammy 1 last year but was tied up filming Spartacus overseas. “She’s the perfect woman.” Well, almost perfect. There are several hurdles for him, and two in particular: Diane has a pair of young daughters who enjoy dressing up as little princesses. “You want to see Ron in terrible pain and this is it,” says Lawless with a laugh. “They’re not terrible kids, they’re just all wrong for him. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and that’s how it’s going to be for Ron, I’m afraid.” But don’t think that Diane wields the same frightening power over Pawnee’s Parks director that the two Tammys did. “This is his first mature relationship — she doesn’t pervert his nature in any way,” she says. “This is the sort of woman that you might want to see him with, and yet it’s going to be damn near impossible for him to stay in it.”
Lawless will make her debut in the Oct. 4 episode, while the season 5 premiere of Parks airs tonight at 9:30 p.m.
For more on Lawless’ guest spot, pick up the new issue of EW on Friday.