- "Is there a Tannen in every century?"
- "Tannen? That family's been ripping off people for centuries!"
The Tannen family was a long-existing line of generally deceptive individuals.
Bifficus Antanneny (100s?) | | Lord Biffingham of Tannenshire (1300s?) | | Biffando de la Tanén (1600s) | | Goodman Tannen (1692) | Mercy Tannen (1692) | | Ebiffnezer Tannen (1845) | Beauregard Tannen (1864) "Wild Bill" Tannen (1850) | +-----------------------------------+-----------------------------+ | | | Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen (1857-?) Thaddeus Tannen (1875) Hepzibah Tannen (1875) | "Mugsy" Tannen + Gertrude Tannen | Frank Tannen (1944) Diamond Jim Tannen (1891) P.T. Tannen (1904) D.W. Tannen (1926) | Biff Tannen (1937-2015) | Biff Tannen Jr. (1981-?) | Griff Tannen (1996-?) | ? | Ziff Tannen (c. 2091) | | Tannen the Barbarian (c. millions of years into the future)
Behind the scenes
One of the recurring themes in Back to the Future: The Animated Series was that no matter when or where they went, Doc and Marty would encounter a relative of Biff Tannen, or someone equally obnoxious with a similar name. The Tannens weren't necessarily ancestors of Biff, but the name itself was synonymous with a bully. Frequently, the person would use an insult similar to "butthead", and in each case, the Tannen-figure in an episode would often be foiled in some form of poetic justice. Generally, though not always, Thomas F. Wilson supplied the voice for the Tannen character.
In "Brothers", General Beauregard Tannen led troops in the Confederate army in 1864 during the American Civil War. He used the insult "buttocks brains", although Verne Brown asked, "Don't you mean 'butthead'?".
In "Forward to the Past", Doc and the boys returned to an alternate 1991, where dinosaurs had evolved into large, intelligent beings. A large red dinosaur, serving the role of a police officer and referred to in the credits as "Tannensaurus", grabbed the DeLorean and intended to sell it to a laboratory. He referred to another officer as "tailhead", and he was injured after he foolishly tried to capture the fleeing DeLorean with his lizard tongue.
In "Witchcraft", Goodman Tannen and his daughter, Mercy Tannen lived in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Together, they accused Nephew Martin (Marty in disguise) of being a witch (as well as a "fanny face"), and subjected him to the water test. Goodman Tannen later fell into the filth of a pigsty.
In "Roman Holiday", in first century Rome, a nobleman named Bifficus Antanneny was an advisor to the future Emperor Caligula. Bifficus forced Marticus (also Marty in disguise) to compete in a chariot race, then voted to have him put to death afterward. Bifficus called Marty a "tuum de gluteus maximus", and later ended up falling into a pile of "purgamentum".
In "Time Waits for No Frog", Doc and Marty encountered a 16th century Spanish conquistador who was referred to as "Biffando".
In "Gone Fishin', D.W. Tannen was an unscrupulous Hollywood movie producer in the 1920s, who tried to exploit would-be child actor "Daredevil Brown". (During the same era, "Mugsy Tannen" was a gangster in Chicago).
There was no analog to Biff in "Go Fly a Kite", "Einstein's Adventure, or "Retired". However, Biff himself would appear in cartoon form at the end of the closing credits during the first season to tell an intentionally lame joke that he alone thought was funny, and receive cartoon retribution (zapped by lightning, stomped by a dinosaur, etc.).
In the second season, the Brown family and Marty encountered Biff himself more frequently, and his son, Biff, Jr. However, they met "Farmer Tannen" in "Verne's New Friend, Thaddeus Tannen in "A Friend In Deed", Frank Tannen in "Marty McFly PFC", and P.T. Tannen in "St. Louis Blues".