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'United States of Tara': Getting to know you ... and you ... and you

"Oh, no, 'Juno'-speak," I thought as soon as Tara opened her mouth as teenager "T."  Though not a fan of the first 10 minutes of Diablo Cody's Oscar-winning film, after a down-to-earth, could-be-my-best-friend phone interview with Cody, I was ready to let go and move on.  But not ready for her new show to be full of the same cadences and teen-speak. 

Thankfully, after a few minutes, "United States of Tara" (or maybe me) relaxed and found its pace and voice.  Or maybe it's that Toni Collette could convince me of anything.  The pilot episode introduced us to two of the other three (known) faces of Tara.  Watching "Buck" beat up Kate's boyfriend was worth any and all teen/T discomfort.  I can already tell that I'm going to have a hard time connecting with T. 

I have no problem connecting with John Corbett's character, Max, though it's hard to separate him from Aidan Shaw in "Sex and the City." Is Tara who he married after Carrie broke his heart?  Corbett has perfected the art of the long-suffering, supportive husband.  But there's drama inherent in any marriage, and especially one where the husband never knows who he's going to get.

Could some of that drama come from Rosemarie DeWitt as Charmaine, Tara's sister?  Her back story is rife with jealousy, sibling rivalry and disbelief about Tara's DID (that's dissociative identity disorder).  And did I pick up on a flirtatious vibe with brother-in-law Max in their scene in the garage?   After seeing DeWitt in "Rachel Getting Married," I'm officially a fan and looking forward to what she'll do with her "Tara" character.

What do you think?  Did the pilot get you hooked?  Is Charmaine making a move for her sister's husband?  If you didn't catch it on Showtime, check it out online here.

-- Rebecca Snavely

Related:

Set visit: You never know which 'Tara' you're going to get

Hollywood A-Z

 
Comments () | Archives (15)

LOVE IT!!!!! I laughed and watched it twice, just to laugh again... but it also goes beyond laughter.

I am hopeful that the writer will choose to drop the overly dramatic "switches" of alters (along with wardrobe changes), and will choose to tell the REAL causes of DID. The over sexualized parts of this series are extremely inappropriate. Where are all of the child alters? That is who most of us who struggle with DID have in our systems - children - because that is when they were created as our young bodies were being sexually invaded by members of our families of origin. I hope that the coming episodes will be more accurate in DID representation.

Susa

It's UNITED STATES OF TARA. No THE.

UNWATCHABLE.

Contrived.

Seriously embarrassing.

Waste of time and $.

There are truly creative and unique talents -- Diablo Cody is just a one note hack.

Buh bye USOT.

I really enjoyed the first four eps of USOT, but I found the kids to be the show's major flaw, thus far. Maybe they'll become more rounded as the series progresses, but in the first four eps, only the talent of the actors has given them any resemblance to people [as opposed to plot devices...].

I can understand the need to give us more rounded characters in Tara and Max - and even, to some extent, the alters - but now that that's done, we'll need to see that the kids don't remain one-note characters that are getting by because Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson are so talented.

Thanks for the title correction John -- will fix the tag as well.

I heard that they had spoken with "experts" on DID yet Diabo Cody didn't want her main character to have a "mental affliction". I am very disappointed in all of the artists attached to this series. The series begins with "Tara not taking her DID medication" thus the whole platform is false, as there is no medication for DID. I think that if one studied DID, they would be more respectful to people who had their childhood stolen from them from abusers and their adulthood stolen from them from the scars of the past. I don't think a comedy full of stereotypical, overblown, misunderstood concepts would even cross a humane persons' mind.. If I were them, I would claim ignorance of the development of DID, it made me uncomfortable, feeling like the producers, crew and affiliates of this production are advocates of repetitive, on going, horrific torture of children, involving but not limited to a childhood of mental torture, years rape, group rape, involuntary isolation, molestation, penetration into the body with inanimate objects, simulated drowning, being chained, flogged, beat, lit on fire, burnt with irons; basically atrocities in the developmental years. Since obviously, they are now capitalizing upon it. I am most disappointed in Spielberg. What's next a Musical Schindler's List? Or Comedy in the Camps? Ridiculous. People do anything to make a dime.

What I saw in the first episode, is that Mr. Spielberg is using "sex, sex, and more sex", to sell a series. I hope that Ms. Cody will choose to omit the over sexualized, soap opera aspect that pervaded the first episode, and will pay more attention to the causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

At least with the massive number of anti-Tara emails that Showtime obviously has received from DID sufferers, they have included an "informative" video from Dr. Kluft; however, even in his short documentary, he did not address the magnitude of the horrific childhood sexual abuse that causes Dissociative Identity Disorder. The so called "consultant" that the writer, Diablo Cody is conferring with, had DDNOS, not DID. Apples and oranges... sigh.

Imagine for a moment, if you can: A new Showtime series called, "The Deformed State of Tara" - a COMEDY about a girl who confronts comedic situations in her every day life revolving around her dealing with her inability to climb stairs, her sexual encounters, and her comedic experiences with people staring at her scarred and deformed face and arms. (As a child, her parents had physically abused her so intensely, that her repeatedly broken bones resulted in a leg amputation, and the repeated burns the parents inflicted on her arms and face resulted in grotesque scarring which made her face appear as almost inhuman.)

This scenario is NO DIFFERENT than creating a "COMEDY" about a person who suffers from a disorder caused by repeated, early childhood RAPE AND INCEST. One might say that the results of childhood physical abuse are apparent to outsiders, but the results of childhood sexual abuse resulting in Dissociative Identity Disorder are ALSO readily apparent to others in public. Raping young children is NOT comedic.

Loved it, loved it, loved it. Rewatched the first episode twice. It is thoroughly entertaining, it's a fresh idea with a lot of potential, and Toni Collette absolutely shines.

For those who are offended by the politically incorrect portrayal of a character with Dissociative Identity Disorder, they should probably avoid watching it because I don't think it's going to become any less offensive over time, and it shouldn't have to. It's on Showtime, not The Learning Channel. It's a dark comedy, not a documentary. Television programming regularly distorts medical conditions, violent acts, forensic investigation techniques, courtroom proceedings, etc., for entertainment value. Most people understand it's dramatization, not reality. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a serious condition, but it doesn't have a magical protective shield around it. Alcoholism is serious, too, but I've laughed my ass off at Dudley Moore's Arthur for years.

If it is upsetting to you to watch United States of Tara, don't. But my family loves it and would like to see it enjoy a long run.

Thanks!

Loved it, it was funny and just plain good. I don't have an issue with the sex or the DID misgivings. Will dif watch it.

I just watched the pilot and I'm pretty torn on how I feel about it...I adore Toni Collette and there's no doubt that she's nailed the part(s) but it's always tough for me to judge a pilot episode. You can almost feel the awkwardness between the actors.
I'm also saddened a bit that they're making light of such a terrible illness, but I'll not judge too hard until I see how they expand on the show.

Oh for heaven's sake, if one more person goes on about this "horrible illness" I am going to scream.

Yes, my early life sucked. The above lists of abuse barely scratch the surface. But, I am dealing with it. I have a great T and I am slowly but surely healing. Problem is, every day I have to hide who I am because the minute people hear about DID or multiple personalities they think its either lying or I am the "no one ever suspected" serial killer.

I am a person (several of them in fact). I have pain, I have sorrow, but I also know how to laugh and love and hope. I am not only "functional" I do a pretty darn good job of living my life and I embrace how much the others inside have helped me get to this point and how much we all care about each other. We celebrate our differences and our unique contributions to our life. My family feels the same.

Yes, Tara is imperfect. The switches are over dramatic, not to mention slow, and I know my T would be sitting T down for a serious talk about the sexual acting out in front of the kids. But overall, I thought it was good. I can't help wondering how many of the people who are complaining are upset because the show suggests that they have a choice to move beyond the pain, or at least to have a laugh about it every now and then to break the tension.

I haven't watched this show yet and have been trying to if I can get Adobe downloaded properly. I did read something that really disturbed me though. They say the show is based on this person or group as I like to call them, not taking their DID medication. There is no such thing as DID medication. A multiple can be put on several medications and the meds do not work for all of the alters. My people don't even like to be called alters seeing they are their own entities. I am on a lot of meds. The main one is for sleeping and trying to get rid of the nightmares. Sleeping meds don't even work for a DID person. The folks on the inside do not know what time it is and they babble all night long even if they are arguing over the name of a song. No, everything in the life of a DID person is not always about the trauma, it is about survival. Sometimes people with DID can be a benefit in someone's life. People with DID are usually people who have genius level IQs. I can understand a documentary on DID which I would love to do so people would understand. We aren't that scary or someone that people are intrigued to know and then they are over it. People need to know the truth. But to my point again, there is no such thing as DID medication. If so, bring it on.

I love this show. I look forward to watching it every week.

So for me its all about enjoying something new rather than dissecting each part to make sure that I look as though I have an opinion about it all. Who cares if there is really no meds. for a person with DID to take but yet they lead you on to believe so. Sit back watch and enjoy! I must say that I have had the chance to see USOT from start to finish and that was all in the same night. I was like a mad man. This show is pure bliss for me and im loving every second of it. Keep it comin...I'll be watching.


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