Parks and Recreation Exclusive: Patricia Clarkson to Raise Hell as Tammy 1

That noise you hear is the sound of Ron Swanson’s trademark mustache wilting.

Sources close to Parks and Recreation confirm to TVLine exclusively that Oscar-nominated actress (and Andy Samberg’s Motherlover) Patricia Clarkson has nabbed the coveted role of Tammy 1, the much-feared first ex-wife of Nick Offerman’s Ron.

The character was seen from behind in the May finale, triggering a mountain of speculation as to who would play the predecessor to Megan Mullally’s hilariously unhinged Tammy 2. TVLine even jumped into the fray, offering a litany of suggestions including Lucy Lawless and Kirstie Alley.

And although the sublime Clarkson was not on our short list, she will do very nicely. (Clarkson’s last significant sitcom gig was a decade ago when she appeared in a five-episode arc on Frasier as a love interest for Kelsey Grammer’s titular shrink.)

Exec producer Michael Schur says viewers should not expect Tammy 1 to be a retread of Tammy 2. “We talked about pretty much every possible iteration of who she is and what her backstory is and all we knew is that we didn’t want to do the same thing we did with Tammy 2,” the boss recently told TVGuide.com. “Tammy 1 is her own specific brand of demon. I think we came up with backstory for her that’s both funny and illuminating and also answers all of the questions that you would have when seeing people’s reactions to her presence in the finale.”

Clarkson is expected to appear in two episodes, beginning with Parks‘ Sept. 22 season premiere.

Thoughts? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Thumbs sideways? Hit the comments!

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  1. Kristen says:

    Not who I was expecting, but can’t say I’m disappointed by the choice.

  2. Dominique says:

    HELL. YES.

  3. LOL says:

    THUMBS UP! Parks and Rec effin’ rocks! Can’t wait to see Ron and Tammy 1 lock horns.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Thumbs up. Way up.

    (Bonus points if she somehow has a liason with Andy Samberg’s Park Ranger.)

  5. Mikaylah says:

    I LOVE Patricia Clarkson! So excited to see how they do this. :)

  6. stephag says:

    Brilliant! I can’t think of anyone who could play an ice queen able to scare even Tammy 2 better than PC! Parks &Rec just keeps raising the bar…

  7. HI says:

    Hell yes indeed. Superb casting. Glad to see her back in the small screen.

  8. Kenbud says:

    Hells. Yes.

  9. Raquel says:

    Wow, I did not expect this casting choice at all but I can’t say I’m upset! Patricia Clarkson is so brilliant—my favorite role of hers is as the hippy flowerchild sister Sarah of neurotic and uptight Ruth Fisher on Six Feet Under.

    One complaint—only two episodes? Really?

  10. nessie says:

    LOVE IT but it also makes me mad about nick offerman lack of emmy nom

  11. jrs says:

    Wow, would not have been my prediction, but I LOVE Patricia Clarkson! She’s just wonderful. She’ll rock and really bring her special touch to this. I cannot wait.

  12. ER says:

    This is AMAZING casting! Cannot wait to see Tammy 1 in action. Parks & Rec can really do no wrong these days.

  13. Amy says:

    This is fantastic! I know she is going to be awesomesauce!

  14. Josh says:

    Love love love this casting! She is going to be amazing.

  15. Natalie says:

    Oh my gosh this is just too awesome for words! LOVE HER!

  16. jeff says:

    Ehhh she plays the same role everytime

  17. Logistics says:

    I was secretly hoping that they’d cast Molly Shannon. This was a desire that had no foundation behind it whatsoever…. but once I thought it, I wanted it so badly.

  18. Em says:

    I love it too! Way to think outside of the box P&R!!!

  19. Aaron says:

    This made my day. Now I’m even more excited about Tammy 1.

  20. ryanandhobbes says:

    Best. Decision. Ever.

  21. Teresa says:


  22. mandy says:

    Excellent choice!

  23. Myra says:

    wow this is PERFECT!!

  24. Sam says:

    She has to be brunette though! Remember Ron saying that he liked brown-haired women? Otherwise, I love this choice.

    • Late Party says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing. I din’t expect to have to go so far down into the comments to find it.

      I really hope there’s some backstory about Ron liking blondes…and her scaring him off them etc. Obviously not scaring, because it’s Ron Swanson, but I used an ellipsis up there, so clearly my brain isn’t working in the right way.

  25. Lorie says:

    Awesome choice!

  26. Justin says:

    Love the choice!

  27. Mal says:

    YESSS! Awesome! Great get!

  28. laylagalise says:

    Like the casting, love the actress, but I still wish it was Jennifer Coolidge.

  29. John says:

    Much like everything with Parks and Rec, I didn’t see it coming and yet it makes perfect sense! This show is too smart to “stunt cast,” so instead we get a great actress, pretty well known, very funny, and just famous enough to be a big deal without her name drawing attention away from her character.

    My one question though – a blonde? Could we see the origin of Ron’s preference of pretty brunettes?

  30. Parks and Rec and Community seem to be doing the best casting at the moment. Like everyone else I didn’t expect this at all, but I’m beyond pleased with this choice.

  31. S. from A. says:

    Tis is going to be epic : D

  32. awesomesauce says:

    this is going to be so good! also, while everyone is saying she has to be brunette, maybe it was tammy’s 1’s evil-ness that turned him off blondes? just a thought. but not really importnant, it’s still going to be amazing.can’t wait for sept. 22!

  33. Barbra says:

    Can’t wait to see Karen Walker again. I hope they give a large part in the show.

  34. Jason r says:

    Holy shizballs!!! This is the best decision ever. Not what I was expecting, but just after seeing her two recent Momturns (Easy A and FWP), she’ll be great. Add that to her stronger work (Pieces of April anyone?!?) and we know she’ll act the crap out of that role. Sooo excited.

  35. Dan W says:

    I just hope there’s a confrontation between the two Tammys!

  36. kelly b says:

    Loved her in “Lars and the Real Girl” She can do anything. Good choice.

    • Marissa says:

      “Lars and the Real Girl” is one of my favorite movies of all time. She was amazing in it, and she’ll be amazing on P&R.

  37. JCF says:

    Great casting choice. From High Art to The Station Agent PC I have almost always enjoyed her performances.

  38. Stu says:

    “titular shrink”. hahaha

  39. Kristine says:

    Nice choice! Great actress!

  40. Alisa says:

    Patricia Clarkson is slowly but most surely becoming one of my absolute favorite actresses ever. She never fails me in anything she does.

  41. KeShawn says:

    Too old for the part and she’s not dark haired. Is she going to wear a wig?
    If not are we all ignoring Ron’s fetishes that the show’s already established?
    I think Kirstie Alley would have been a better choice.