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.
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.
MTV will reveal the best artists, songs and movies of the year. Come to MTV News each day to see more big reveals and check out more of MTV's Best of 2011 music, TV, movies and news coverage.