|Ron the Rent-a-Cop|
|Voiced by||Jamie Watson|
Ron, at the start of the series, is seen as nothing more than a mall cop who is harsh on the teens at the mall and keeps order throughout it. He is fleshed out more in "The Slow and the Even-Tempered", where he is shown to extensively test his new recruits, and a bit more in "Cecil B. Delusioned", when it's revealed exactly how tough he is on even the most minor crimes. It is also revealed in "The Swami" that he was at one time in a war (although as he also claims that he had to eat burning ladders the enemy threw at them, this is to some extent treated as false).
"Boo, Dude" is the first episode where he makes a major appearance. Here, it's revealed that the guys try and prank him every year and have been doing so since they quit trick-or-treating. He seems to be more wily then previously presumed, as he gets out of each prank with ease, including the last seemingly-foolproof one and revealed that he knew of it all along at the end of the episode. (Admittedly, the guys got him on the day after Halloween with a much simpler prank.)
His true breakout, however, was the episode "Dude of the Living Dead". Here, he only appeared for about ten minutes, but in his screen time many things were revealed about him. For one thing, he was revealed to be quite capable in combat, as he was introduced while ripping off a zombie's limbs and leaving it on the floor. He was also able to command respect from the teens and set up a semi-workable safe house that would last for a few hours. Not only this, but when on an expedition away from the base, when his cart died and he was stranded with Nikki, Wyatt, and Jonesy, he sacrificed himself to the zombies to save them. Although the episode was just a dream, this cemented both Ron's character for the rest of the series and catapulted him into a main role.
His first appearance in the second season came in "Going Underground". Here, he shut down Stick It for numerous health code violations and angrily berated Jude for letting the restaurant get into such a state. He appeared in the next episode as well, reading very powerful war poetry at Grind Me.
Ron's next large appearance was in "Career Day". There, he shared an office with Jonesy, who had gotten a job manning the PA system. Jonesy sent Ron on many wild-goose chases, and Ron was able to fire him due to the fact that Jonesy had wildly misused the public address system. After this, he didn't appear again until "In a Retail Wonderland..." where he confiscated a bunny Jude had taken from the living manger.
Soon, though, he made two large appearances in a row. In "Welcome to the Darth Side", he appeared and became addicted to some chocolate-covered jellybeans that Jen was selling. His addiction was largely due to nostalgia; it seems that when he was a child, the candies were his favorite treat, and they remind him of happier days. This is the first hint given that Ron is deeply unhappy, a theme that is expanded upon in "The New Guy". There, after Ron quits his job due to a particularly mean-spirited prank by the teens (giving it up to his assistant), he starts hanging out with them as he has no life outside of his job.
It also turns out that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of war movies, which allows him to get hired at Underground Video. This knowledge is due to both his reenacting scenes from said movies with his mother as a child and also due to his having lived through actual war and having become obsessed with it. This knowledge would also to some extent explain a few of his mannerisms, such as the tough-talking persona he has adopted in dealing with people.
In "Lights Out", Ron reappears as hardheaded and mean when he makes the teens and the goths sit by the Big Squeeze while the lights are out just to exert his power. He is also seen dragging Jude away from a pay phone and ripping it out of the wall just to stop Callie's calls in "A Ding from Down Under". Despite these actions, Ron is apparently a good negotiator and diplomat, as in "The Wedding Destroyers" he is able to make the Masterson sisters and the Garcia brothers get along so their parents can get married. He does this by working out a contract that resolves several differences and points of contention between the two sets of siblings. It is also shown in "The Lords of Malltown" that Ron has a good reason for being hardheaded and mean, as it's quite often the only way to get the teenagers to show him respect. In fact, as Jude and Wyatt prank him on their skateboards, it is heavily implied that they would mess with him even if he didn't try to exert his will on them.
Ron often does not go by-the-book. For example, in "A Crime of Fashion", he refused to pull the security tape and look it over when he caught Caitlin shoplifting, under the rationale that as she had been caught red-handed, there was nothing more the tape would reveal. This is despite the fact that, under normal regulations, he'd have had to at least glance at the tape. Also, in "Snow Job" he is seen putting teenagers in jail for no reason other than that he thinks they're about to cause trouble, and in "Mr. and Mr. Perfect" he puts Wyatt in jail in order to force Wyatt to teach him how to play the guitar.
In addition to working as a rent-a-cop, Ron also occasionally works side jobs. In "In a Retail Wonderland...", he worked as a gift wrapper for extra money. Also, in "The One with the Cold Sore" he worked as set security during the movie shoot, and in "The (Almost) Graduate", he worked security for Albatross & Finch when they held interviews for new employees. It is unknown if he got paid extra for this guarding. (Interestingly, in "The One with the Cold Sore", he was working alongside Darth.)
Ron can be bribed on occasion. In "Oops, I Dialed It Again", Wyatt blackmailed him in order to get let back into the mall. Also, in "Out Of This World", the guys trade him movie tickets to the premiere of Blue Alien Vortex so that he can take Yummy Mummy and Stanley.
There is a strong rivalry between Ron and the males of the gang. This is best expressed in "The New Jonesy", "Wrestlemania", and "Oops, I Dialed It Again", which are all third season episodes. In The New Jonesy, Ron gets angry over the popularity Jude is getting by taking the Zamboni outside the ice rink, and challenges Zamboni Dude to a race. In Wrestlemania, meanwhile, he battles Jonesy in a wrestling match; after losing, he manages to root out some gambling and attempts to shut down the matches on the basis of it being a front for illegal gambling. Also, he shows that he's not fond of Wyatt in Oops, I Dialed It Again, when he tries to get Wyatt thrown out of the mall for indecent exposure after he was pantsed by Jude.
Ron does have a strong moral code, however, and his distrust of teenagers is not without cause (as seen in several episodes, most notably "Boo, Dude"). This distrust manifests itself when, after rescuing Jen from a stopped elevator in "Labour Day - Part 2", he thanks her for being one of the few teenagers to actually tell the truth (specifically, her mother's giving birth). Not only this, but he is revealed to have a kind heart, albeit one hidden behind a gruff exterior, in both "How the Rent-A-Cop Stole Christmas" and "Bye Bye Nikki". The last one is especially notable, as he is moved by one of Jude's speeches to let him go to Nikki's going-away party.
He is currently the only known Rent-a-Cop of the Galleria Mall. However, he has hired a couple of teenagers to help him, such as Jonesy early on in the series, and Kai later on. It is also noted by Jonesy that he goes through his assistants really fast after Nikki reads him one of Ron's Help Wanted ads in the mall's want ads. He might have changed from a prankster to a Rent-a-Cop after fighting in the war.
- He is shown to be on good terms with The Clones, as they let him use the Khaki Barn's private bathrooms (the former being the effect of the latter), as shown in "Boo, Dude".
- Ron is usually the antagonist of the show.
- Ron bears a striking resemblance to Christopher Walken and his voice is similar to that of Clint Eastwood.
- In "Life Slaver", the guys discover a cache of videos hidden in the ventilation shaft that connects the male and female washrooms. They depict Ron from being a teenage rebel causing trouble for the previous Mall Cop, to present day, where he dances alone when the mall is closed.
- The dance sequence he performed is a parody of Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice, which is performed by Christopher Walken.
- During the dance, he actually flies, which astounds the observers. This means that Ron either has supernatural powers, or is a master of special effects to make the tape depict this.
- In "The New Guy", Ron mentions that he has a cat named Mr. Snuffles.
- In "All Pets Are Off", Ron also seems to have taken a liking to the ferret; he wants it to act as a security dog. It is unknown, however, whether or not he knows it is a ferret.
- Ron is shown donating blood in Waiting to Ex-Sale.
- He may be a fan of the band Led Zeppelin as he has stated that he loves the song "Stairway to Heaven".
- Given his obsession with rules and enforcing them, Ron's Stoked counterpart is Andrew Baumer.