United States of Tara: review

July 30, 2009 at 2:38 am (TV/movie review)

United States of Tara is a comedy drama about a family dealing with the fact that the mum (Tara) has multiple personality disorder (it has a completely different name now, but I just can’t remember it).

Yes, it’s a real illness. It just SEEMS made up.

In the first episode, two of Tara’s other personalities emerge – “T” who is incredibly skanky (and her daughter’s best friend) and “Buck” who is a redneck male and utterly selfish (or is he?)

All of Tara’s personalities are played by Toni Colette. Every bit of acting is brilliant from beginning to end (not just Toni – but it can’t be easy to play so many people who are all fully realised characters inhabiting one mind).

The first scene both impressed and scared me – Tara is making a video diary, and from the first second she looks like someone struggling with a mental illness (which makes me cringe because I am one). The show is incredibly tragic – can you imagine having such little control over your own actions? – but also utterly hilarious. The last two lines are:

Tara’s daughter: Buck’s left handed, even though none of the others are. Isn’t that strange?

Tara’s husband: Yep. That is the one strange thing.


The two things that blew me away about this show:

-Tara’s multiple personalities make her own character deeper. The weirder they are, the more we relate to the “real” Tara.

-The family dpes actually function – they’re used to all the Taras, and they love all of them (for different reasons – they even have a special boys’ activity for when Buck shows up). So there’s an infusion of hope that lifts this above almost every comedy (especially those set in families) ever written.

It’s on ABC at 9:30 (definitely not for kids) on Wednesdays.

Watch it if you like laughter, hope, or gaining an understanding of mental illness. It is VERY funny – the funniest show on TV, I think.

PS I reported on today’s classroom adventure in my other blog, twittertales.wordpress.com


1 Comment

  1. Ben (Crispin) said,

    Yes, it is pretty good.
    It’s written by Diablo Cody, better known as the author of the movie ‘Juno’.
    (Oh, and by the way, the current name for her condition is ‘Dissociative Identity Disorder’ or DID – a very weird, complicated, and almost completely untreatable disorder)

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