“Honey, tact is for people who aren’t witty enough to be sarcastic,” Will & Grace’s Karen Walker once declared. And, boy, would she know!
Karen and the six other ladies listed here are in a league of their own when it comes to snarky one-liner.
Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women” (1986-93)
As played by the talented Dixie Carter, Julia never met a soapbox she couldn’t climb—and was often the mouthpiece for Designing Women creator and writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s progressive political stances, including standing up for HIV+ people when it was still unpopular. And, really, who could forget “the night the lights went out in Georgia?”
Wilhelmina Slater, “Ugly Betty” (2006-10)
Vanessa Williams played the menace of Mode, who ruled the fashion magazine with an iron manicure—and the help of her loyal minion Marc (Michael Urie). Wilhelmina was so iconic that some of her traits bled into Williams’ Desperate Housewives character, Renee Perry.
Maryann Thorpe, “Cybill” (1995-98)
A predecessor to Will & Grace’s Karen Walker, Christine Baranski’s Maryann was the Patsy to Cybill Shepherd’s Edina—with a little bit of Lucy and Ethel thrown in. The ladies got into all kinds of fun mischief in the cult-fave sitcom. usually with a martini in hand.
Sue Sylvester, “Glee” (2009-2014)
Mayhem in a tracksuit, thy name is Sue. Although this butch gym teacher softened in the show’s later seasons, she’s always been Glee’s chief antagonist. From calling Kurt “porcelain” to trying to get Will Schuester fired, Jane Lynch’s character would stop at nothing to be at the top of the heap at McKinley High.
Karen Walker, “Will & Grace” (1998-2006)
Delusional. Unempathic. Hilarious. Megan Mullally’s pill-popping, booze-swilling society dame was never short for a verbal slap down (and sometimes a literal one, too). The comic foil to Debra Messing’s Grace, and partner-in-crime to Sean Hayes’ Jack, Karen could insult a pregnant woman and denigrate her long-suffering maid, Rosario, with equal aplomb.
Samantha Jones, “Sex & the City” (1998-2004)
As much as she’s known for her comfort with her sexuality, Samantha was also some one who would call it like she saw it—whether that was telling a guy he had lousy taste, a small penis or even “funky spunk.”.
Dorothy Zbornak, “The Golden Girls” (1985-92)
Blanche was the sexy one and Rose was the sweet one. But Bea Arthur’s Dorothy was the wry one. Just ask her ex-husband, Stan, usually on the receiving end of her barbs. Arthur perfected her tough-broad on Maude, another show where she was known for her outspoken nature and signature slow-burn