U.S. of Tara is by far my favorite show on television.
Tara's personalities from left: Buck, Alice, Tara and T
I’m not a huge TV person, so that statement might not carry a lot of clout, but take my word for it. It’s awesome. Written and created by Diablo Cody, the creator of Juno, U.S. of Tara is extremely well-written and much deeper than her previous work. Now in its second season, the show airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. on Showtime. But no worries, if you’re poor like me, you can watch it for free online here, but you didn’t hear it from me.
Tara (played by Toni Collette) is a woman and mother of two with dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The subject matter is very similar to the made-for-television movie Sybil (1976).
Buck is Tara’s gun-loving, beer-chugging, redneck alter personality. He plays a huge, plot-changing role in the second season.
Alice is a parody of Bree from Desperate Housewives. She bakes non-stop, interferes with her kids’ school lives, and even washes her daughter’s mouth out with soap.
And finally we have T. This is Tara’s teenage gum-chewing, thong-wearing alter.
Tara’s personalities are all very different, but somehow strangely relatable.
If you’re new to the show, I strongly recommend starting from the beginning. Since the show is only in its second season, it won’t be hard to catch up.
Although Tara’s alters are fairly one-dimensional, that’s O.K., because the rest of the characters on the show are very complex. Episode four of the new season shows a whole new side of Max, Tara’s husband (played by John Corbett).
As with any Showtime series, there is a lot of stuff going on, many plot lines interwoven, but they’re all so interesting and subversive, it’s easy to catch on.
Labeled by critics as a “dark comedy”, Tara is completely original in that it picks up where other movies like Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve leave off.
Those movies end with the patient being diagnosed and struggling to cope. Tara, however, opens with the fact that she’s already been diagnosed and is living happily. Happily until she goes off of her meds.
The second season is just as awesome as the first, especially the most recent: episode four. It had my stomach flip-flopping and caused me to bite off all of my barely-there nails. I won’t give away any details, but there are some major plot twists in that episode. I mean, wow.
United States of Tara is like no other show I’ve ever seen. With all the remakes and cover songs being produced today, it’s nice to know that there is still original content being written.
Well done, Diablo Cody.