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The story of Tammy Tarleton, an 18-year-old country girl who moves back and forth between her "country" family, who live on a bayou houseboat, and the wealthy Brent's, who own a plantation.Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
"Tammy" is a rural sitcom that ran on ABC for one season from 1965-66. The series was inspired by three previous "Tammy" films: "Tammy and the Bachelor" starring Debbie Reynolds and "Tammy Tell Me True" and "Tammy and the Doctor", both starring Sandra Dee. The show follows 18-year-old country girl Tammy Tarelton (Debbie Watson) living between her family's bayou houseboat and her wealthy, down-to-earth industrial employer's plantation where she works as a secretary. A high society woman interferes, as she wants to marry Mr. Brent and continually schemes to destroy Tammy. The style is essentially is a blend of the film series with the successful "The Beverly Hillbillies" with Tammy's character being a little similar to the innocent, cheerful Ellie Mae Clampett. The lovestruck character of Cletus Tarleton is similar to that of Jethro Bodine mixed with the schemes of Mr. Haney from "Green Acres".
Reflecting upon the series, "Tammy" had a unique bayou setting despite clearly being in the mold of rural sitcoms. Debbie Watson's Tammy had a charming, wholesome character, but as I've seen with other series that were canceled after one season, the star was not a source of comedy in their sitcom. The show really revolved around Dorothy Green's well-played Lavinia Tate and her schemes against Tammy and her family. Denver Pyle's Grandpa had dependable comedic lines much like his Briscoe Darling character from "The Andy Griffith Show". Frank McGrath's Uncle Lucius really fit the part and was a nice, energetic, comedic supporting player until he disappeared only to return at the very end. After a few episodes it seems the producers felt the absence of his character and turned to a younger figure in Dennis Robertson's Cletus. In a backwoods comedy that takes lead from the far superior "The Beverly Hillbillies", you can see parallels to Jethro Bodine as well as Mr. Haney from "Green Acres".
As the series progressed, Tammy's character diminished with less focus. Her screen time was reduced upon the introduction of Cletus' character with his schemes and attempts to romance Linda Marshall's Gloria. As such, the screen time for Gloria steadily increased. The main focus, however, was established early on as being Lavinia's character, and in whole, the series should have been more appropriately titled "Lavinia". Her schemes were the central story. Aside from Pyle's country wisecracks, the comedy that worked mainly stemmed from the society types having to be "countryfied" and situational misunderstandings. Many episodes were lacking but there's still enough to warrant a look from classic TV/rural comedy fans. However, I'd personally rather re-watch the far superior "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres", "Petticoat Junction", etc.
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