2. Tammy Lynn Michaels/Nicole Julian
This is the series that introduced Tammy Lynn to the world (before she became famous for dating/marrying rock star Melissa Etheridge). If you've only heard of her as Mrs. Etheridge, this is your chance to see Michaels in action — and she delivers, in spades. Nicole Julian exemplifies the character you love to hate, as she veers between backstabbing bitch to, well, a little less bitchy.
Alone or with sidekick Mary Cherry (see reason No. 3), the hilarious barbs fly so fast and furious you'll barely have time to catch your breath between fits of laughter.
Some of Nicole's more memorable lines in the first season:
"Sugar D., stop staring at Mary Cherry like she's a Hot Pocket!"
"You'll play right into Sam's cold, unmoisturized hands."
"Sure, I'll put Carm on the squad…when hell freezes over and/or Melissa Joan Hart gets nominated for an Oscar."
"Brooke and Spam cannot be officially bonded as stepsisters as it would upset the natural order. As ringleaders of both the popular and the unloved alternate groups, a merging would muddy the lines, causing both teen girls to wonder: Who am I? Where do I fit in? In short, 'We Are Family' is a disco tune we ain't gonna be singing at this school, kids. Got it?"
Even the funniest lines would be nothing without Micheals's delivery, however, which is spot-on every time.
Nicole (Tammy Lynn Michaels) and Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman)
Nicole is also one of the few teen roles on TV played by an out lesbian, even if she wasn't out at the time (Michaels came out in real life after the second season).
3. Mary Cherry
The character of neurotic Glamazon Mary Cherry truly has to be experienced; words can't do her character — or Leslie Grossman's excellent performance — justice. A sample of her lines in the first season:
"This is worse than Kathy Lee Gifford singing cabaret!"
"Now that I'm blonde again and glamorously hard as nails, I won't be falling for your sob story, Sid Vicious."
"For the first time, my sense of style has to override my Christian convictions. I would be betraying my oath as a Glamazon if I let you walk out of here looking like ten miles of bad road."
[To a classmate known as Exquisite Woo] "Let's get one thing straight, China girl, the only thing exquisite at this school is my ass."
Here’s a scene with Mary Cherry causing trouble while she’s trapped in a locked rest room with the other girls:
The episodes in which Delta Burke (Designing Women) guest-stars as Mary Cherry's domineering mother, Cherry Cherry, are comedy gold. She plays her role to the hilt, a grown-up version of Mary Cherry who most often turns her barbs on her own daughter ("Mary Cherry, the wedding's off. Also, drop ten pounds.")