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'United States of Tara': 'Gimme' a 'T'

March 22, 2009 | 10:32 pm


You've never had mother issues like these.  Marshall may wish he could take back his earlier acceptance of Tara and her alters when he said, "We're lucky mom.  Because of you, we get to be interesting."

Things may have become a little too interesting in the "Betrayal" episode.  We were fooled into thinking the title referred simply to Dr. Ocean ending her therapy with Tara.  This act of betrayal, for those of you with a strong connection to your therapist, seemed bad enough for an entire episode.  I visited the set for this episode and watched as Toni Collette delivered her disbelieving, "You're breaking up with me?" time and again.  I wondered why the publicist was so insistent that I only see that one scene, and that we couldn't photograph the other costume changes, assured they might "confuse" the reader prior to seeing the show. 

Having watched the episode, I had my "aha!" moment. At the slightest touch of a massage therapist, all-id, prone-to-peeing-on-people Gimme came out at the spa, trounced the tranquility and was quickly replaced by T.  T, in all her glory, saw Marshall awkwardly asking Jason up to his room, and took the opportunity to capitalize on Jason's sexual confusion. Kate caught sight of the photograph her manager Gene stole from her fridge and finally saw the creep in him and the opportunity to deal with the bureaucracy of corporate HR by filing a "my manager is a freak-show" sexual harassment claim.

And if the family drama wasn't enough?  Tara admits that while she wasn't present, she was able to hear what went down at the tattoo parlor with T, and that she recently interacted with Alice while making dinner.  While this may seem terrifying to some, it's a breakthrough of co-consciousness, says her soon to be ex-Dr. Ocean.  Marshall, seemingly low-key and able to go with the flow, reaches his own boiling point when he catches T, in his mother's body, making out with his first love, Jason, and sets fire to T's lair, the freak-out shed where she's so often sent.

How did Charmaine end up the cool and collected one in the family?  After meeting Gimme at the spa ("that was really scary back there") Charmaine gives Tara a kiss on the cheek, tosses the robe T stole over her shoulder and asks Max to drive her home in time to "get her glow on" for her second date with the lawyer. 

I feel a little exhausted after this episode.  Was there ever a downbeat?  Things are definitely coming to a climax as the Showtime tease for the next episode involves a little more "commitment" on Tara's behalf.

As Billie Holiday crooned, "Good morning, heartache.  Sit down."

--Rebecca Snavely

(Photo courtesy of Showtime)