Why Are All the Mean Ladies on TV Named Tammy?


Folks, we’ve realized a silly trend in recent comedy TV — the minor bitch characters are always named Tammy. Now, before you get your Dillon Panthers jerseys in a bundle, we’re not counting Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights; she’s a “Tami,” not a “Tammy,” and guidance counselors named Tami are clearly sweethearts. Anyway, we came to this revelation while watching an episode of Parks and Recreation (featuring Tammy Two) and mumbling to ourselves, “This is classic Tammy,” appropriating Charlie Kelly’s short-lived catchphrase from season one of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Do you know a girl named Tammy? Is she “the eye of Satan’s butthole” like the second Tammy Swanson? Or is she “the cold, distant mother [April] never had” like the first? Does she exploit gangly bartenders like the teenage Tammy of Paddy’s Pub? As it turns out, Ron Swanson and Dennis Reynolds aren’t the only suckers to have coped with saucy Tammys — check out our gatherings after the jump. We call this “The Tammy Theory,” or a roundup of coincidentally treacherous TV Tammys. P.S. If your name is Tammy, we’re sure you’re a very, very nice person.

Tammy Zero, Tammy One, and Tammy Two, Parks and Recreation

“My first ex-wife’s name is Tammy, my second ex-wife’s name is Tammy. My mom’s name is Tamara… she goes by Tammy.”

— Ron Swanson

Here we have a flawless triumvirate of terrible Tammys, otherwise known as the ladies of Ron Swanson’s past and occasional present. First, there’s Tammy Zero (Paula Pell), Ron’s mom, whose brief debut in “Ron & Tammys” revealed her sassy side. As soon as the eldest Tammy barked, “I don’t have to answer stupid questions while standing on my own property” in response to Leslie’s question about guns, we knew she meant business. Then, of course, there’s Tammy One (Patricia Clarkson), who is harsh to the point that she somehow gains the respect of a generally disrespectful April. Last but not least, there’s Tammy Two (Megan Mullally), who, according to Leslie, “seems scary, but really she’s just a manipulative, psychotic, library-book-peddling, sex-crazed she-demon.” Ah, the Tammys. Whenever they’re around, we know there’s an incredible Ron-filled episode in store.

Tammy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

“That’s Tammy, Trey’s ex-girlfriend. This is classic Tammy. Trey broke up with Tammy because Maureen Kanallen said that she saw Tammy flirting with Walt Timny at a party, but she was only doing it to make Trey jealous because you know, she thought that Trey secretly liked Erin Henebry, but he doesn’t like Erin Henebry, it was all a bunch of bull.”

— Charlie Kelly

Once upon a time in an episode called “Underage Drinking: A National Concern,” the Paddy’s Pub gang decided to knowingly serve alcohol to teens. As per usual, things are taken way too far, and the guys and Dee are invited to a high school prom. Tammy, the token popular girl, asks Dennis as her date, but only to make her boyfriend jealous. Classic Tammy.

Tammy Powers, Eastbound and Down

In a recent episode of Eastbound and Down, we finally got to meet Tammy Powers, the woman who gave birth to the almighty Kenny. This Tammy is more of a badass bitch than a malicious bitch, although she can get pretty feisty at the bowling alley.

Tammy, The Simpsons

It’s always a little heart-breaking when someone exploits Marge Simpson’s naive kindness, and in a Season 17 episode of The Simpsons called “The Last of the Red Hat Mamas,” a woman named Tammy does just that. Voiced by Lily Tomlin, Tammy invites Marge to join her women’s group, the Cheery Red Tomatoes. Marge, of course, is super excited to have her first real friend, and obliges when she’s asked to crawl through Mr. Burns’ pipes to help steal Faberge eggs for the group. At the end of the episode, Tammy makes it clear that their friendship meant nothing, and that the two should never see each other again.

Tammy, The Amanda Show

Do any of you ’90s Nickelodeon fiends remember this Tammy from Amanda Bynes’ reoccurring bathroom skit, “The Girls’ Room”? She’d brag about being an exchange student from Tennessee, then she’d sass everyone out with phrases like, “Oh for the love of fried pickles.” And, of course, she would laugh as that other girl flushed heads down the toilet. What a bully!

Tammy, South Park

“That bitch! Kenny gave his heart to her, and she’s just gonna throw it in his face!”

— Eric Cartman

Tammy Warner, Kenny’s older girlfriend in “The Ring,” was mostly known throughout the school for being a “slut” in the T.G.I. Friday’s parking lot. Upon hearing this rumor, the South Park kids assumed the worst — that Tammy would cheat on Kenny and break his muffled little heart — so she’s pegged as a “bitch.” Tammy, however, explains that she was, at one time, promiscuous solely because her overwhelming love for the Jonas Brothers gave her tingly feelings. Kids these days.

Tammy, Malcolm in the Middle

When Malcolm’s and Stevie’s families take a vacation on a houseboat, the boys are suddenly presented with three “bad cheerleaders” who stole a boat from spirit camp in order to escape and buy some cigarettes. The naughtiest of the girls, Tammy (in the blue), unties her friend’s bikini top while she’s talking to Reese. How rude!