United States of Tara (2009–2011)

TV Series  |  TV-MA  |   |  Comedy, Drama
7.9
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A woman struggles to find a balance between her dissociative identity disorder and raising a dysfunctional family.

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3   2   1  
2011   2010   2009  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Tara Gregson (36 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Max Gregson (36 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Charmaine Craine (36 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Marshall Gregson (36 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Kate Gregson (36 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Neil (21 episodes, 2009-2011)
...
 Lionel (16 episodes, 2010-2011)
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Storyline

A woman struggles to find a balance between her dissociative identity disorder and raising a dysfunctional family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Just your average mother, teenager, biker dude, housewife. See more »

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Comedy | Drama

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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

18 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Taras de Tara  »

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1.78 : 1
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Craig Wright recommended Seth Gabel for the role of Zach after working with him on Dirty sexy money (2007). See more »

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Referenced in 21 Jump Street (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not the sum of it's parts
15 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The opinion on this show seems divided, mostly because the show is extremely well done, and has stellar acting and some truly clever dialogue, but is also plagued with a self-conscious need-to-be-hip which ultimately begins to feel both preachy and forced (much as happened with Six Feet Under, another Showtime project).

Firstly, Toni Collete's acting is superb. Some people complain that it isn't an accurate portrayal of DID, and this may very well be the case; but this is a TV drama, not a documentary, and it's the depth and degree to which T.C. plays her characters that give this show so much strength. This is a show about one person's disorder and how it effects her family, not the whole community of people who suffer from DID. In this regard, the show is compelling and establishes a range of situational dramas that are much more original than any family-based drama has been in some while.

Much of the show deals with Tara trying to figure out why it is that she suffers DID in the first place, since this condition is usually premised by something traumatic in childhood (usually sexual abuse). This storyline is handled quite well, and becomes a more intriguing mystery as the show proceeds.

The other 'main' focus of the show deals with the complications arising from Tara's condition --- that her 'alters' have their own sexual libidos and desires, for instance, which strain Tara's marriage; that she may slip into another persona at critical moments (which sometimes turns out for the better, amusingly). This part of the show is also handled extremely well.

The dialogue is also notably better than the dialog in many shows as of late. There are some truly laugh-out-loud exchanges between characters, and a good deal of realistic conversation, as well. Most importantly, all the characters (even the alters) all have distinct ways of explaining, presenting, and relaying information. For the most part, it's an impressively solid bit of dialogue writing.

But alas, U.S.O.T. does suffer from some rather unfortunate indulgences, as well. Namely, it wears it's liberalism a bit too proudly on it's sleeve not to become preachy. The main place where this is evident is in the subplot through the series of Marshall (Tara's son) coming to grips with his own homosexuality as he grows up; personally, I think it's a brilliant way to toy around with the theme of identity, as it extends outside Tara's disorder. However, this subplot is handled so clumsily that it comes across as self-righteous and quite forced. It's as if Showtime decided they needed something edgy, and defaulted to 'gay teens', since that's apparently not been done enough. As more emphasis is put upon how gay Marshall is, he becomes a less and less interesting character, defined only by the fact that he's gay, rather than layered and clever as he is in the first season.

Another problem with the series is the formulas which it creates for itself with promising relationships turning bad. As new romantic interests are introduced, these new characters seem sweet and interesting, but all eventually turn out to be secretly neurotic stalkers and sociopaths. It gets a bit cliché within the small confines of the show, and sadly predictable.

Again, this show bears a lot of the same structural strengths and weaknesses of Six Feet Under (although U.S.O.T. is decidedly funnier and less bleak), so if you enjoyed Six Feet Under, you'd probably like this. If you found Six Feet Under too lacking substance for all it's provocation, then you'll find that same disappointment here, and this show's probably not for you.

Definitely worth trying, if for nothing else just to see Toni Collete's impressive acting.


17 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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