Before Patricia Clarkson’s arrival on “Parks and Recreation,” fans could only imagine what Ron Swanson’s chilling, manipulative ex-wife was like. The mere thought of Tammy One returning sends Ron running for cover. But over a two-episode arc, Clarkson perfectly embodied the role of Tammy One, giving a cold-hearted face to the show’s most-feared character.
Tammy One’s arrival in Pawnee, Indiana, was bone-chilling and left fans crossing their fingers that Swanson would get out alive. That memorable introduction also helped her to place a solid #29 on MTV News’ list of Top 2011 TV Characters .
We got on the phone with Clarkson on Tuesday, and she opened up about getting the chance to play the scariest woman in the “Parks and Rec” universe.
MTV: What was your reaction when you first read this character? She’s the only person that seems to really get under Ron Swanson’s skin. It takes a lot to get under his skin.Jimmy Fallon, one Pretty Little Liar and more also make our TV Top 50!
Patricia Clarkson: Oh, yes it does! Well when I first read it I thought, “Oh my.” You know I’m friends with Nick [Offerman] and Megan [Mullally] and they came to me urging me. And I thought, “Why do you think I’m this [character]? … First of all, let’s deal with that.”
You know, I’m quite goofy, but I like doing characters that are a little bit of a stretch for me, and I do have a frightening aspect, and I think we all do as people. I think we can all summon the devils and the demons when we want. I am so thrilled I did this.
MTV: We had heard a lot about Ron Swanson’s various Tammys, and you sort of embodied everything “Parks and Rec” fans had wanted to see for so long.
Clarkson: The lore that this character carries, the backstory — that was also intimidating, very intimidating to walk into that situation. That also was what made me hesitant, but then I said, “What the hell?” It was beautifully written and funny and perfectly etched. And I do really believe that this is one of the greatest shows ever. I do think it’s an indelible cast of characters. It’s just a superb show.
MTV: Are we going to see, maybe, the Tammys teaming up at all?
Clarkson: We’re in the dark. Will Megan and I square off? … Will we all come back and have a weenie roast? I don’t know. First of all, the ceiling would have to be quite high, literally and figuratively.
MTV: Have you heard if you’ll be back at all?
Clarkson: I don’t know. I think they want the element of surprise, whether she does or doesn’t. It’s up to the writers and what they have in store for this season. We’ll see; it would be a blast.
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