United States of Tara season one review
Sometimes a name is all you need. Written by Joss Whedon, directed by Martin Scorsese, honey roast ham crisps by Marks & Spencer’s – you just know what you’ll be getting. So when you see United States of Tara, created by Diablo Cody, you instinctively shudder. You know everyone is going to talk like they’re in a script. You know you’ll want to punch out one of the characters before the show is through. This is, after all, the woman responsible for one of the worst 45 minutes ever put to celluloid. The opening skirmishes of Juno. And the director? Craig Gillespie, responsible for Lars and the Real Girl, a film that has a lot in common with this show. An attention seeking ‘tard is tolerated, nay, celebrated for their ‘tard qualities. Tara ( Toni Collette) suffers from multiple personality disorder , now rebranded as dissociative identity disorder. And when she suffers, everyone suffers.
"The director isCraig Gillespie, responsible for Lars and the Real Girl, a film that has a lot in common with this show. An attention seeking ‘tard is tolerated, nay, celebrated for their ‘tard qualities."
Because Tara has decided to come off her medication and allow her alters (that’s cuntspeak for her multiple personalities) to come visit as they please. John Corbett plays her totally dickless husband Max who goes along with the plan because he ruv her so very much.
Tara and Dickless Cage have a 15-year-old daughter Kate (Brie Larson). Her mother discovers the morning after pill in her backpack and this sends her into the first of her personalities T, a sassy, brassy teenage girl. Her husband can’t fuck Tara while she’s T because that would mean he had a dick and I’d have to come up with a new nickname for him.
“He doesn’t wank over nude photos of his mother because she’s not sexually attractive. And because he’s gay. But mainly because she’s not sexually attractive.”
Meanwhile, their son, 14-year-old Marshall (Keir Gilchrist), is an attempt to replicate Shane Botwin from Weeds. He’s wise beyond his years or a gobby prick with a smart mouth on him if you prefer. Unlike Shane, he doesn’t wank over nude photos of his mother because she’s not sexually attractive. And because he’s gay. But mainly because she’s not sexually attractive.
But what she is is hella stressed and that stress inevitably brings out one of the other Taras. Witnessing an altercation between her daughter and her loser borefriend calls forth Buck, a male redneck alter who will end up punching borefriend in a totally predictable climax.
"Collette’s performance ain’t all that. It’s really obvious drama school improv stuff with T chewing gum and talking like a cunt, Buck sitting with his legs about 7 yards apart as women imitating men always do."
Borefriend is totally having sex with Kate of course, hence the contraception. "I guess I should have let that fertilized egg implant itself in my uterus," says Kate when Dickless confronts her about the morning after pill. Dude – you just totally ragged on your ‘rents! You sound a lot like Juno, history’s smuggest cunt. Could you kindly drown yourself?
The show wants to be the new Weeds. It wants to have a fascinating, conflicted female lead dealing with extraordinary circumstances in a spunky, sparky way. Of course, it’s achieves none of the above. Collette has received many plaudits for her performance but, seriously, it ain’t all that. It’s really obvious drama school improv stuff with T chewing gum and talking like a cunt, Buck sitting with his legs about 7 yards apart as women imitating men always do (Ok, we get it – men and women sit differently. Well observed)
I don’t imagine it’s much fun having dissociative identity disorder. It’s certainly no fun watching a show about it. Ignore all other reviews. The show is just annoying.
The best thing about it: It could have been a lot worse.
The worst thing about it: It’s so desperately pleased with itself.
The verdict on United States of Tara: Showtime slipping up after a good run of form.
Marks out of 10: 5