Designing Women S4 E12 Extra Sugar - ALL ABOUT ANNIE!
Updated: May 9
It’s time! The women. The myth. The legend. From Pretty in Pink to Ghostbusters to Designing Women to The Big Bang Theory universe, Annie Potts has established an incredible career in movies and on TV. And we’re excited to give her the Extra Sugar treatment in this week’s episode.
If you’re interested in reading some of the things we found, check these things out:
GMA transcript, where Annie talks about the origin of her voicing the role of Bo Peep in Toy Story
Carroll County Times article where Annie talks about her excitement playing MeeMaw on Young Sheldon
Come on y’all, let’s get into it!
Or listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music.
Nikki: Hey, Salina.
Salina: Hey, Nikki.
Nikki: Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.
Nikki: So, to this point, we've done deep dives into almost most I feel pretty confident saying all of the Designing Women characters.
Nikki: Is that right?
Salina: I think there's a couple, like, in retrospect, now that we're further in, that I would probably go back and be more diving.
Nikki: We have to do a deeper one on Misha Taylor, right.
Nikki: Because we just briefly breeze through him.
Salina: Yeah, we hit on some things, but not nearly enough.
Nikki: So we've done everyone, more or less, except Annie Potts, which totally surprised me earlier this season.
Nikki: I didn't realize we had never talked about her before, which goes back to me needing a better system than my brain.
Nikki: But since this episode was kind of all about her, it felt like the right time.
Nikki: I was massively intimidated to take this one on because I feel like I'm stealing it from you.
Nikki: I don't know why.
Nikki: In my head, you are, like, the biggest Annie Potts fan, the biggest Mary Joe fan, and I felt like I was really stepping on your toes.
Salina: I love her.
Salina: But, I mean, it's all good.
Nikki: It's teamwork.
Nikki: Okay, fine.
Nikki: So if I don't do this well or to your expectations, feel free to do another one some other time.
Nikki: It's our show.
Nikki: We can just do whatever we want.
Salina: Sounds perfect.
Nikki: So, as always, don't feel like you have to sit over there silent.
Nikki: If you have something productive and useful to add to the conversation, jump on in.
Salina: So don't just, like, come around and.
Nikki: Go, I got the mute button over here.
Nikki: I'll just mute you.
Nikki: That would have been a good time for it.
Nikki: So Annie Potts was born on October 28, 1952, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nikki: She was the third child of Dorothy and Powell, and she has two older sisters.
Nikki: All three girls grew up in Franklin, Kentucky, which is just 45 minutes from Nashville.
Nikki: I looked that up because I was like, Kentucky?
Nikki: That feels so far.
Nikki: But I'm just really bad with geography.
Nikki: She graduated from Franklin Simpson High School in 1970 and attended Stevens College in Missouri, getting a degree in theater, the Fine Theatre.
Nikki: I found a recent Glamour article where she said all she ever wanted to do was act the entire time she was growing up.
Nikki: She said, quote, there was no plan B.
Nikki: I have no other skills.
Nikki: Luckily, that worked out.
Salina: Got to really admire someone who knows and just goes for it, knows, goes for it, all of that.
Nikki: Believes in themselves.
Salina: I feel like every other day I was like, I want to be this, I want to be that.
Nikki: I want to be this.
Salina: I still do that.
Nikki: There's value in that, too.
Salina: I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
Nikki: There's value in that, too.
Nikki: When she was in college, Annie married her first husband, Stephen.
Nikki: They were married about five years.
Nikki: Right around the time they were married they were in a really traumatic car accident when their car was demolished by two cars that were street racing.
Nikki: Details on it are kind of sketchy for reasons she addresses in that Glamour article.
Nikki: She said, I never really talk about it because I don't want people to think I'm less able than I am.
Nikki: But she has also shared that the accident broke nearly every bone below her waist.
Nikki: And I've read in a couple of places she also lost the heel to one of her feet.
Nikki: I don't quite know what that means or how that translates to real life but that does not sound pleasant.
Nikki: Her husband, Stephen, lost a leg.
Nikki: Again, details are kind of sketchy but she said it hasn't impacted her much physically, like, in her acting and whatever.
Nikki: I never saw an actual specific reference to the mental impact but I feel like that would be tremendous.
Nikki: But it feels like a really big moment in her pre acting life.
Nikki: So I just kind of wanted to mention it.
Nikki: It comes up, like, in every bio about her so I felt like I needed to mention it.
Nikki: It seems like she divorced Steven or they divorced one another.
Nikki: However that works.
Nikki: The year she got her big Hollywood break, which was 1978.
Nikki: That year she starred in Corvette Summer with Mark Hamill of Star Wars Fame.
Nikki: I think it's worth mentioning that her very first role is characterized in reviews of the movie as quote unquote quirky.
Nikki: So they call her this quirky whatever character.
Nikki: I feel like that's sort of a niche she's carved out for herself in Hollywood is a little bit of a quirky person.
Nikki: Even Mary Joe is, like, sometimes a little quirky.
Nikki: So we can talk about that more as we go along.
Nikki: At any rate, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this role, her first major Hollywood role.
Nikki: She was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Nikki: After that, she had a couple more roles before she landed the role of Janine Melnitz in the Ghostbuster series.
Nikki: The first film was released in 1984, the next in 1989.
Nikki: By the time she had achieved success in Designing Women you doing the song?
Salina: Yeah, as soon as you say it, it's just right there.
Nikki: So for that role, she adopted a New York accent which she said was based on a friend's accent.
Salina: Really good.
Nikki: It is very good.
Salina: She's very good with accents.
Nikki: She is, yeah.
Nikki: To go back to the point I made earlier about her playing quirky roles I actually remembered her being kind of quirky in Ghostbusters.
Nikki: Like, I thought Janine was quirky, but maybe I'm misremembering.
Nikki: I'm thinking of the whole movie as quirky because everything I read about that role categorized her as, like, one of the more serious ones.
Nikki: Amidst this cast of characters, eccentric characters.
Salina: I think that's true.
Salina: But, like, in a quirky way.
Salina: It's been a while since I've seen these movies, but I think even at some point, maybe she has, like, a love affair with egon or something.
Nikki: And so she's in love with him for sure.
Salina: It's definitely, like, one of those things.
Salina: It's deadpan.
Nikki: Okay, so you don't completely disagree with me if I think she's kind of quirky in that role?
Salina: No, not at all.
Nikki: Okay, good.
Salina: Would it matter if I did?
Nikki: I don't know.
Salina: How dare you?
Nikki: I might start questioning myself even more.
Nikki: Anyway, between that first Ghostbusters film and Designing Women, though, she also played what I think for some of us is an iconic role.
Nikki: I'm pointing at you along with me in Pretty and Pink.
Salina: Applause, applause, applause.
Nikki: She played record store manager and Molly Ringwald's boss, Iona.
Salina: I missed my eye by an inch.
Salina: Half an inch.
Nikki: So that character is definitely quirky, right?
Nikki: Definitely sort of a character's character, like quirky.
Nikki: She's everything you'd expect, like, a big city record store manager to be just, like, different and hip and cool, but also kind of weird.
Salina: So good.
Nikki: So I mentioned this happened kind of between ghostbusters and designing women.
Nikki: So speaking of Designing Women, she held the role of Mary Joe Shively from 1986 to 1993, and I think we know a lot about her work on that show.
Nikki: Tell me more about this show, Designing Women.
Nikki: I also think, like I said before, of Mary Joe as a little bit quirky, at least as quirky as, like, a person working in an uppity design firm can be.
Nikki: I will say I was a little surprised that she was never nominated for any awards that I could find for her work on Designing Women.
Nikki: I know we've talked before about how the show was sort of under recognized by award shows.
Nikki: I think I was surprised she was never nominated for one because she's like I don't know.
Salina: Let me ask you a question.
Salina: In your research, did you read anything where she talked about her experience on the show?
Nikki: Yes and no.
Nikki: Tell me what you're thinking specifically.
Salina: Because what I didn't want to do was still anything that you it's fine.
Nikki: We do it to each other all.
Salina: Day long in the most compassionate way.
Salina: So I think I may have read one of the articles that you used, that Glamour article, if I recall.
Salina: She talks a little bit about how she just felt like she was less and less in the show as the seasons went on.
Salina: And much in the way that I think Designing Women was under recognized, I think that Annie Potts was underutilized.
Salina: And because of that and probably some of this spins around the Delta Burke drama and things like that, I think there were a lot of very big personalities on that show.
Salina: I think she just got tucked away, and I think it hid some of what she could do.
Salina: And I think there's been several episodes, I would just say personally where I'm looking through and I'm like, why aren't we doing more with her?
Nikki: I did read that.
Nikki: That's not in the segment.
Nikki: And I will say sort of a caveat to all of this is I had a lot of trouble finding her own words.
Nikki: Like, I didn't find very many interviews of her.
Nikki: I think she keeps a low profile.
Nikki: I think she keeps the character's actor profile.
Nikki: I did see some and she's always super positive in her comments about things.
Nikki: I did see some slight illusions in places or very careful comments she made to that point.
Nikki: So that's a good point.
Nikki: I probably should have thought of it.
Salina: Well, that's a great way to frame it.
Salina: I do think.
Salina: She didn't come in guns blazing.
Salina: It was like I was reading between.
Nikki: The lines for sure.
Nikki: Yeah, I think it's there, though.
Nikki: So even while she was on Designing Women, she was working steadily.
Nikki: Like I said, the second Ghostbusters movie came out in 1989.
Nikki: She also starred in Who's Harry Crumb?
Nikki: A John Candy movie.
Nikki: And following her Designing Women segment of her career, the rest of her career didn't really slow down at all.
Nikki: She was nominated for a primetime Emmy award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 1994 for a role that she had in the series Love and War.
Nikki: So this was literally one season after leaving Designing Women.
Nikki: I don't know this show.
Nikki: The look on your face is telling me you don't either.
Nikki: It was on CBS from 1992 to 1995 and Annie was brought in after the show was retooled.
Nikki: After the first season, she replaced Susan Day, who was the previous main character.
Nikki: For anyone who doesn't know, Susan Day is from the Partridge Family.
Nikki: For what it's worth, almost everything I know about Susan Day is from VH one behind the Music episode.
Nikki: She had a relationship with David Cassidy.
Nikki: She had an eating disorder.
Nikki: It was like a really rough time for her.
Nikki: But this segment is not about her, so I won't go there.
Nikki: But Love and War was a pretty big chapter for Annie Potts after Design Women, certainly a successful one in terms of her acting recognition.
Nikki: After Love and War, Annie became part of another critical piece of Hollywood history, I would argue the Toy Story franchise.
Nikki: Oh, yeah.
Nikki: In 1995, she voiced Bo Peep in the first Toy Story film.
Nikki: That's a role that she would take back up three more times, possibly a fourth time with the recent announcement of a possible next chapter in that series in a GMA transcript.
Nikki: So Good Morning America interview transcript, I found, she said she really only did the role.
Nikki: This is such a cute anecdote.
Nikki: Her toddler son.
Nikki: They had come after her a couple of times like, can you please do this?
Nikki: Can you please do this?
Nikki: She's like, I don't really want to do kids movies.
Nikki: I don't really want to do that.
Nikki: Her toddler son found like a package with some raw footage they had sent her just to kind of see the character and see what they were asking her to do.
Nikki: Her little boy ripped it open and he had, I guess, played it and told her, like, mommy, you have to do this.
Nikki: So she had, to that point, been very like, no thank you.
Nikki: No thank you.
Nikki: And then he asked her and she's like, well, crap, now I got to do this thing I thought was really cute.
Nikki: It's also worth noting that in the first two films, I don't know how many people are super into Toy Story, I love them all.
Nikki: And I also have small children, so I watch them a lot.
Nikki: Beau Peep is a porcelain character, and she was really presented as frail and fragile.
Nikki: In the fourth film, she reemerges as a much stronger character, even taking the lead as one of the heroes in addition to Woody and Buzz.
Nikki: I think it was the filmmaker's way of sort of like modernizing the character and bringing a woman to the front.
Nikki: But I think it's also probably a little bit on Annie that that's a role that she would have wanted to take.
Nikki: And she's always kind of been pushing, pushing, pushing, trying to take these progressive roles.
Nikki: So I think it's not surprising that that was a really good fit for her.
Nikki: So after the first Toy Story came Any Day Now, a Lifetime show in which she starred from 1998 to 2002.
Nikki: She was nominated for two SAG Awards for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series for that role.
Nikki: So I am sure I've seen an episode of this show, but I've certainly not watched it.
Salina: You I think it was on Lifetime.
Salina: I definitely remember it.
Salina: I probably had the most social life I've ever had in between those years.
Salina: Good for you.
Salina: It wasn't a big TV watching time for me.
Salina: I'm like, now I watch every episode and analyze it.
Nikki: So I was going to say, I think 1998 to 2002 may be peak Lifetime watching for me.
Nikki: So it's surprising that I haven't, like I don't register a lot about this show.
Nikki: I'm sure I've seen an episode.
Nikki: It sounds right up our alley as a show, but also possibly our listeners.
Nikki: It was based in Birmingham, Alabama.
Nikki: It followed Annie and actor Lorraine Tussant throughout their lifelong friendship.
Nikki: It's worth noting, of course, Annie is white, but Lorraine is black.
Nikki: So the show explored a lot of racial subplots as well.
Nikki: So again, like Annie pushing roles that were a little bit more progressive.
Nikki: I read that on this show, at least 50% of the writers were people of color, mostly black.
Nikki: So those racial plotlines weren't like whitewashed racial plotlines.
Nikki: They had elements of sort of the things we almost sort of expect these days in television but don't always get.
Salina: I think that's a big deal, too, for the late ninety s to the.
Nikki: Early 2000s, after Any Day Now through the early aughts, she did like sort of more short lived roles is kind of what I would call them.
Nikki: So from her Wikipedia page, it says she guest starred in roles on Magnum Pi.
Nikki: Jonah Varcadia, Close to Home, Two and a Half Men, ABC's Men in Trees, Ugly Betty in Boston Legal, and she played a recurring role as Sophie de Vere in NBC's Law and Order special victim units from 2005 to 2009.
Nikki: Okay, so I don't remember this show either, but in 2012, she starred in the ABC comedy drama series GCB alongside Leslie Bibb, Kristen Chennawith and Madison Nichols.
Nikki: She said of this role that she based her portrayal of the character on Dixie Carter, adding, were she still alive, the role would have been hers and should have been hers.
Nikki: It's based in Texas, also sort of like a Southern show, but I think it was only on one season, right?
Salina: I don't think it made it a season.
Salina: Well, I really liked it, actually.
Salina: I thought it was funny.
Nikki: So in late 2013, it was announced that Potts would join Diane Polis's critically acclaimed revival of Pippin.
Nikki: Beginning January 21, 2014, she replaced Tony Award nominee tova Feldsha in the role of Pippin's grandmother, Berta.
Nikki: This was her first appearance in a Broadway musical.
Nikki: I'm pretty sure I pronounced that a weird way.
Nikki: Berta bertha I'm not sure.
Nikki: Yeah, I've never seen Pippin.
Salina: Yeah, I'm going to level with you.
Salina: I have, but you know that one.
Salina: Sorry, Pippin.
Salina: Oh, and also, it was a high school performance.
Salina: It was amazing.
Nikki: So to bring us as up to date as possible, breezing past that bring us as up to date as possible.
Nikki: Starring in 2017, she became starting in 2017, she became a series regular on the CBS sitcom Young Sheldon as Connie, quote, Mima is what they call her.
Nikki: Tucker, I need to get my life together and start watching that show, but I've never seen it.
Nikki: Have you seen it?
Nikki: I like Big Bang Theory.
Nikki: I like the first few seasons, and then I got to be too much and then like, new TV I just don't really watch.
Salina: So CBS is tough because they're really tight on their content and so you either get it or you don't, and I don't even know.
Salina: I think they have weird rules set up and they're so far into Young Sheldon now that I just feel super behind.
Salina: For me, she's probably the draw.
Salina: I did watch a lot of Big Bang Theory.
Salina: I think we watched it all the way through.
Salina: It was definitely a show I had to warm up to, but once I did, I was into it.
Salina: But, yeah, she's the draw for me.
Salina: And the grandfather, too, which I'm blanking.
Nikki: On his oh, I don't know who that is.
Salina: It's Craig T.
Nikki: Oh, I love him.
Nikki: He's like the consummate grandfather.
Salina: I would like to see them as a pair.
Nikki: So all that being said, obviously, hopefully, it's clear that Young Sheldon is this spinoff prequel of The Big Bang Theory, following the character Sheldon in a massive hit, and she is his grandmother who showed up on Big Bang Theory on the original series at least one time, but a totally different character playing her.
Salina: Oh, did she remember that?
Nikki: So did you know I didn't know this that Zoe Perry, who plays little Sheldon's mom in Young Sheldon, is Lori Metcalf's real daughter, and Lori played Sheldon's mom on Big Bang Theory.
Salina: I knew half of that.
Nikki: I thought that was such a cool tie in.
Salina: Yeah, that's interesting.
Nikki: So she's very comfortable on young Sheldon.
Nikki: During her time on young Sheldon.
Nikki: She also co starred in Ghostbusters Afterlife, which I have to admit I haven't seen, which is kind of surprising because I love Ghostbusters.
Salina: I'm going to have to real life amend myself.
Salina: Craig T.
Salina: Nelson is on the show, but he's not a grandfather.
Salina: He's like some coach or something.
Nikki: Oh, I love Craig T.
Nikki: He's also the consummate coach.
Salina: He's really good at that, I hear.
Nikki: So Annie's done other things throughout her career, but those were sort of the high points.
Nikki: I don't want to jump out of this segment without at least talking about her personal life.
Nikki: So, as I mentioned at the top of the segment, she married early in life to Stephen.
Nikki: They divorced in 1978, and she married Greg Antonacci, but she divorced him shortly thereafter.
Nikki: And then she was married to B.
Nikki: Scott Seneshall from 1981 to 1989.
Nikki: So, like, the really early days of her time on Designing Women, and then she married James Haman in 1990, to whom she's still married.
Nikki: She has three sons one son, Clay Seneshall, who was born in 1981 with her third husband Scott, and two sons, James Haman, who they called Doc, he was born in 1992, and Harry Haman, who was born in 1996.
Nikki: Those are both with her current husband, James Haman.
Nikki: I read in at least one place that she refers to her days as a single mom for a bit on Designing Women, she refers to, like, single momming Clay in those early days.
Nikki: So I imagine that was like, a little bit of inspiration on the show.
Nikki: I also know firsthand from her instagram, she has, I think, at least two grandchildren.
Nikki: She's very proud of them.
Nikki: I also read and I didn't write this down, so maybe I shouldn't say it, but I found this one random headline from, like, 2005 that her son Clay went missing while hiking, just, like, disappeared.
Nikki: And they ultimately, I guess, found him, but I couldn't find that headline.
Nikki: But I found the one where he went missing in that wild yeah, it was just this one random headline.
Nikki: I was like, what?
Nikki: That seems like traumatic and seminal.
Salina: Anyhow and no follow up no follow up.
Nikki: That's what really bothered me.
Nikki: And I really worked for that one.
Nikki: I just couldn't find it.
Salina: It's not out there.
Nikki: I'm getting close to the end.
Nikki: I promise.
Nikki: I have a couple of pieces of fun trivia about her that I wanted to share.
Nikki: Stevens College in Missouri, which is where she went, is the same one Joan Crawford attended in the 1920s before beginning her career as an actress.
Salina: That's interesting.
Nikki: Annie Potts was the original choice for Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, but dropped out to star in the TV series Designing Women.
Nikki: So Glenn Close took that role.
Nikki: That's wild, right?
Salina: I have a really hard time imagining wait, hold on.
Salina: Is that the Glenn Close role?
Salina: Okay, because I was like I could see the wife maybe I'm not trying to say, like, she can't stretch, but that was have you seen that movie?
Nikki: I haven't seen it, no.
Nikki: But I know all about it.
Salina: Its reputation precedes it.
Salina: But the way that Glenn Close plays that role, I got a hard time seeing Annie Potts play that, like, unhinged.
Nikki: Well, that's two things.
Nikki: One, assume IMDb got that right.
Nikki: And two, at least we got Designing Women out of it, I guess.
Nikki: She has appeared in two films that have been this is part three, my Three fingers.
Nikki: She's appeared in two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.
Nikki: Ghostbusters and Toy Story.
Nikki: And then one more that I found in my research.
Nikki: I found an article in Southern Voice that says Annie's sister Dolly ran a design firm in Atlanta.
Nikki: So she was able to mine her for inspiration during Designing Women.
Salina: That's close to home.
Nikki: So I'm going to start closing us down with that.
Nikki: I think it's interesting that we talk a lot about the genusance, which you talked about before, jean Smart's recent career comeback, but I didn't find any of that about Annie Potts, and I'm not sure what to make of that.
Nikki: She's worked pretty consistently throughout the years, so maybe it's not much of a comeback.
Nikki: I guess she did Toy Story, which is like voice acting, but I feel like there was a period where she wasn't doing quite as much in your face work as much.
Nikki: Annie Potts is the star work, but maybe that's it.
Nikki: Maybe it's just she tends to play more character roles versus main character roles like Gene Smart does.
Nikki: So it was more noticeable when Jean Smart really had huge career success.
Nikki: Because I think the whole point is that young Sheldon is very successful right now for CBS.
Nikki: Please don't mishear this as, like, a comparison between the two women.
Nikki: I'm not trying to compare that at all.
Nikki: It's just an observation.
Nikki: We have these two main characters from Designing Women.
Nikki: One we've named an entire renaissance around and the other one we're like.
Nikki: And then there's annie Potts on young children.
Nikki: You know what I mean?
Salina: Oh, I do, actually.
Salina: I don't know if this is the right time to bring it up or not.
Salina: And now I'm like, oh, why wouldn't you just be quiet?
Salina: You could have said this afterwards, but someone actually has come on that follows us, has shared in a message to us before.
Salina: They feel like Annie Potts doesn't again get the recognition she deserves.
Salina: And I think it's like we have posted something about Jean Smart or something.
Salina: And I agree.
Salina: I think she's a knockout performer.
Nikki: I don't know why it took us so long to get to this segment.
Nikki: I think it's because I thought we had already done it.
Nikki: To be honest, I have a bad memory.
Nikki: With that said, I want to share one recent quote from Annie about her time on Young Sheldon.
Nikki: She said, these days, for a woman to be working in this field at 65, I feel I have landed in a honey pot.
Nikki: She's a delight.
Nikki: I'm so glad she's found a role that she's happy in in young Sheldon.
Nikki: And I'm glad she's getting even more sort of like series TV series role, because I feel like that's where she seems to have found her happy place.
Nikki: As always, please remember you can follow along with us and engage Instagram and Facebook at sweettv tiktoksweetvpod.
Nikki: Our email address is email@example.com and our website is www.sweettv.com.
Nikki: Come back next week for a brand new sweet tea and TV take on designing women.
Nikki: And this has been this week's extra sugar.