Why Sweet Magnolias’ Mary Vaughn Is So Hated, According To The Actress

mary vaughn allison gabriel sweet magnolias netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Even if you’ve only made your way through one season of the romantic Netflix hit, Sweet Magnolias, you’ll know that not all of Serenity, South Carolina’s residents get along like gangbusters. While Dana Sue, Helen, and Maddie are beloved by many of the townsfolk (complicated romances notwithstanding), their problems with the mayor's wife, Mary Vaughn (played by Allison Gabriel), only grew in Sweet Magnolias Season 2. And, Gabriel knows exactly why Mary Vaughn is so hated by viewers.

In the first season of Sweet Magnolias, Mary Vaughn mostly made a nuisance of herself when it came to wanting her son, Jackson, to be starting pitcher on his high school’s baseball team, as opposed to Ty, who is Maddie’s son. But, that tension spread in the most recent set of episodes, when the Magnolias worked to have Mary’s husband, Trent, recalled as mayor, leading to some big finale questions that will need answering if the show gets a third season. 

While speaking with TVLine, Allison Gabriel opened up about why fans hate Mary Vaughn so much, and said:

Mary Vaughn is not a likable person, I get it. The fans want to kill me...She’s someone who doesn’t give a crap. She has no filter, no problem pushing people’s buttons. She’s also very self-interested. She’s someone who always needs to win, and she doesn’t care whose feet she has step on. It all comes down to something as simple and mundane as self-interest.

Gabriel went on to say that, like any good villain, Mary doesn’t at all see herself as the bad guy, but that is, indeed, what viewers see when watching the character scheme, lie, and manipulate her way around Serenity with a smile on her face. Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t finished the new season yet! Ready? Here we go…

Not only did the Magnolias realize in Season 2 that Mary and Trent were covertly squeezing small business owners around town (through some parking lot machinations) so that they could make extra money off of them (leading the ladies to get the signatures needed to recall Trent), but Mary took her dislike of Maddie to new heights.

Mary has always been annoyed that Ty seemed to be getting favoritism from the team’s coach, Cal, because of him dating Maddie. So, after the team lost at the state championship, she dug up dirt on Cal that revealed his problems with anger management and got him fired. This, in turn, led to Cal’s anger blowing up in the Sweet Magnolias Season 2 ending, and him attacking an unstable fan in public, probably leading to his arrest. End spoilers!

Gabriel believes that Mary has always had a problem with the Magnolias because she’s never gotten why everyone seems to adore them, with her thinking that “she sees the real them, and they have everybody else fooled,” and being jealous because they can sway town opinion even though they don’t have any real power. It seems clear that, should Sweet Magnolias get a third season, the problems with Mary Vaughn will continue (though a surprising new character will also cause some trouble), and Allison Gabriel has hopes that we’ll see her character’s “hard shell cracking open” if the series continues:

When I watch the show, I feel like Mary Vaughn looks so different from the rest of the characters — the way they designed her hair and makeup and everything. I’m a woman who lives in her pajamas, so when I see someone who’s that put together and tightly wound and concerned with her exterior, all I can wonder is, ‘What’s going on underneath that?'

You can catch up on both seasons of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, but until we hear about Season 3, be sure to look into other upcoming romantic TV shows, see what else is coming to the 2022 Netflix TV schedule, and look at all of the 2022 TV premiere dates we have so far! 

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.