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'United States of Tara': Come out, come out wherever you are

February 9, 2009 |  6:56 am

Charmaine_tara_showtime_300_2 Was Tara's friendship with vivacious Vita-seller Tiffany ever believable?  Maybe Tara is hiding more from herself than what her alters are trying to protect, because she certainly seemed excited to have a shiny new girlfriend.  As she tells her therapist, she never had a friend like this, and she's nervous. 

It seems she has reason to be. Though the mural Tiffany commissioned is allowing Tara to explore her artistic side, the woman has a bowl full of inspirational rocks; Tara takes home "believe" when Tiffany tells her people always pick the rocks they need. 

Their girl talk moves from Tara and Max, sex and the alters to drinks with Tara's sister, Charmaine.  Charmaine tosses back a few drinks and watches her friend and Vita-sell mentor, Tiffany, give all her attention to Tara.  Tiffany is dying to meet one of the alters.  Drunk on cocktails and a lifetime of jealousy, Charmaine admits that she doesn't believe the reality of DID.  Tara looks caught in the cross-fire as Tiffany teases her alters, "Come out, come out wherever you are!"

And apparently one of the alters is listening.

The next morning, when Tara lets herself into Tiffany's house, she sees the work of one angry alter, offensive graffiti painted over the beautiful mural.  In one swipe of the paintbrush, Tara loses her job and her new friendship and gains a restraining order. 

And here's where I most connected to the characters. I grew up fighting, challenging and wanting to be nothing like my older sister yet mimicked everything she did, now my best friend.  Some of my favorite films explore that complex relationship.  In fact, Toni Collette and Rosemarie DeWitt both have been in great sister flicks, "In Her Shoes" and "Rachel Getting Married."  Charmaine, who is now banned from selling Vita-sell products, finds Tara outside.  "You just ruin everything, don't you?" she accuses Tara but, in the next moment, sits down next to her sister.   They revisit one of the memories Tara has from childhood, a sing-song hand game. They mess up, pause, grab hands, then start again.  And you realize, here's one friendship that will not be destroyed.

-- Rebecca Snavely

(Photo: Rosemarie DeWitt and Toni Collette. Credit: Showtime)