I remember seeing this program as a 6 year old back in 1965, and always looked forward to seeing it. On Friday nights, I would watch this, along with "The Flintstones" and "The Addams Family." For some reason, though, I did not see the shows that followed, such as "Honey West." Though my memory is hazy, I remember I enjoyed the show very much as a kid. From what I can gather, this series, based on the Debbie Reynolds film of the same name, seems to have been ABC's answer to "The Beverly Hillbillies," only that we have a teenage protagonist here. I think it reflected ABC's more youthful sensibilities.
Maybe the show might have been corny even by 1965 standards. However, I enjoyed the show very much, and was disappointed when it left the air in 1966. From the little bit I saw of it on YouTube recently, it seems like a sweet show. It certainly seems to be a very family friendly show, and Debbie Watson seems like an appealing performer, so right for such a role.
And, especially these days, there is something really nice about a show such as this one. Tammy, Tammy
Best line: "Oh mama, look at those awful people"! Pure gold in the funniest politically incorrect way. You know back when we didn't take sensitivity to absurd levels. And such was the climate that brought us The Beverly Hillbillies. It was a huge hit and naturally TV would return to the well with a slightly different wrapping. This one would meld the "fish out of water" rural lovely character previously seen in several "Tammy" films.
This show probably deserved better than the one (i.e. 26 episodes as was the time's custom) season. The cast was really good with the central character, Tammy, played by Debbie Watson. Watson might remind you of a noticeably more upwardly mobile, yet stuck in her rural verbal-isms, Ellie May Clampett (Donna Douglas). She had the ripping good looks along with the innocence for the role. Perhaps she had to try a bit too much to be "backwoods", especially compared to Donna Douglas, but she managed to overcome it with shear charisma. Great supporting cast members include Denver Pyle (Grandpa to Tammy), Frank McGrath (Uncle to Tammy), George Furth (Mr. Brent's Assistant), Dorothy Green (Socialite always chasing millionaire Brent), and Donald Woods (wise and kind millionaire Brent). The show had the "right stuff" with all of this talent no doubt.
So, the problem resulting in what would be a single season was that The Beverly Hillbillies owned the formula and the writing was never as good as that show. Call it a late entry into a pigeonhole that no longer as fresh and was consumed by a few fish out of water type superior shows. Introduced a few years earlier, and with better plot lines, this premise and cast might have carved a more memorable niche that easily could have had a five year, or so, run. Good enough however to recommend the entire single season. There is nothing like it today and in that reasoning it stands out as something fun that has some great humorous dialogue.
"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.