Annie Potts was known in the 1990s for her role in Designing Women. Over the years, she's appeared in several successful series. Most recently, she's had a career resurgence on Young Sheldonas Sheldon Cooper's sassy grandmother, Connie 'Meemaw' Tucker. Potts has never shied away from talking about the role, and in one interview, she revealed exactly who influenced Meemaw's look and style. Potts said that she took inspiration from Dolly Parton's Steel Magnolias character while figuring out her character's style.
By the time Annie Potts was cast as Meemaw in Young Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory fans were already well acquainted with the character. Meemaw had been discussed regularly in the original series and even appeared in a 2016 episode. June Squibb played present-day Meemaw in The Big Bang Theory. Still, Potts was determined to make the character her own on Young Sheldon.
She had inspiration when she was dreaming about Meemaw's style, though. In an interview with Gold Derby, Potts said she thought Meemaw would be styled like Dolly Parton. Specifically, she imagined Meemaw would have styled herself like Parton's Steel Magnolias character, Truvy Jones. Steel Magnolias was released in 1989, the same time period Young Sheldon is set in.
In the movie, Truvy Jones is often seen wearing straight-leg jeans and longer tunic tops. Pott's Young Sheldon character is often seen in the same general style, often wearing jeans and button-down shirts or sweaters while dealing with her family. Meemaw's teased hair, while different from Parton's long style in Steel Magnolias, still feels similar.
Potts had plenty of time to give the style of Meemaw some thought. She told the publication that she was vacationing when she received a call about Young Sheldon. After viewing the pilot, Potts was sold on the role and began working from the outside in to come up with her vision of Meemaw.
Potts wasn't just basing her look on what she had seen of Parton on screen, either. The Young Sheldon star worked with Parton around the time Young Sheldon was set. Parton made a guest appearance onDesigning Women in 1990. Potts portrayed Mary Jo Shively in the series.
In the season 4 episode, "The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire Twentieth Century," Parton comes to Charlene Frazier Stillfield in a dream. In the episode, Charlene, portrayed by Jean Smart, was pregnant with her daughter, Olivia, and anxiously awaiting her birth. Smart was pregnant with her son during the season, and Charlene's pregnancy was written into the series to accommodate the actor's real-life pregnancy.