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I started watching this show not knowing anything about it, and was expecting something along the lines of a Tracy Ulman variety show. I was surprised to find something much deeper. It's not really even a comedy, though it has some comic elements. I found the characters likable, and oddly enough...believable. Someone else mentioned that this is not the typical family, but what the heck IS a typical family? As for making a joke out of rape and incest, I don't find that to be the case here at all. Being able to laugh at our reactions to these atrocities is not nearly the same as laughing at the actions themselves. I watched all 12 episodes in a marathon sitting over 2 days (I'm on vacation, what can I say). Love it, and I hope it continues.
Again. Such an unbelievable fact that my brain cannot accept. This series is better and better by episodes after episodes, seasons after seasons, weeks after weeks. And suddenly it's announced that it's over? The last episode will air on June 20. I really could cry that I have to loose this show. I think I'll do after the finale. Nowadays it's so hard to find a good series which can complete your imaginary world. Instead of the up-to-date shows on TV, I only watch series which have already been over. United States of Tara is the only I'm following. And I'm just shocked with its cancellation's announcement. I cannot believe it's over. I cannot.
I'm unsure as to why there's so much negative reaction. Perhaps people
are burnt out on the whole Sundance-is-hip thing and have form a
I'm-even-more-obscure crowd. The dialog is clever, the acting --
especially by the magnificent Toni Collette -- is surprisingly good,
the plot has been interesting so far and nothing seems forced. There
are few shows on TV nowadays -- including the ever declining Weeds --
that I think have such merits going for it.
Toni portrays her personalities wonderfully; a very broad range of personalities. There's so much articulation in the portrayal of mixed happiness and stress in her family -- portrayed wonderfully by the cast.
It's only been on for one season but I can definitely see this being a show I will hold onto.
Have to completely disagree with the last reviewer, and question what makes them so down on this show, I have now introduced 15 friends to the show, and everyone of them has become an addict. The premise is different, the questions it brings up make you think, its not your typical 'doctors n nurses/murder investigation/ in side the box' show, so I could understand why it might offend someones sensibility. Tony Collette is an amazing actress, and her supporting cast shine just enough to steal the show here and there, the biggest disappointment I have with this show was the short season, and having to wait so long for the next one. Total addict here, I totally recommend the show, but not if your fairly right wing or not prepared to be challenged by a new subject matter. LOVE IT! :)
I also don't understand the negative comments about this show, for example the fact that drugs and alcohol are present. This is what makes the show realistic (except perhaps for a subsection of the population who don't accept that alcohol and drugs are part of North American society). The characters are believable and sometimes quite funny. Some of the episodes, for example the one in which Tara's sister undergoes a second breast operation, push American obsession with perfect beauty to the limit. As others have said, Collette is outstanding as Tara but the other actors more than hold their own next to her various roles. This is a very idiosyncratic take on contemporary society.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine encouraged me to watch Showtime's
series "United States of Tara." I was unsure, as I had heard the
concept and expected something silly and outlandish, but I gave it a
shot, because I'm a fan of creator Diablo Cody's film "Juno", and I had
heard that Steven Spielberg was an executive producer. He popped in the
DVD, and we watched the pilot on his computer. The instant it ended, I
pushed him away, loaded up Amazon and ordered the first two seasons for
myself! I was that taken by the show! Within two days of the DVDs
arriving, I had watched both seasons, ran to my mothers house, hijacked
her TV (and her Showtime on Demand), and watched every single episode
available! "United States of Tara" is easily one of the best shows on
TV right now. It is an often poignant, thoroughly dramatic, and
generally hilarious look at the life of a woman suffering from
dissociative identity disorder, and how she tries to hold her family
together through her struggles.
Toni Collette easily earns her Emmy Award as Tara, the star of the show, and her (thus far) seven "alters" (her alternate personalities) who take over when Tara cannot deal with reality. The performance Collette gives is incredible, because Tara and each of the alters is it's own "being", with its own style, voice and traits. For all intent and purpose, Collette has played eight characters on the show, often switching between 2-4 per episode.
John Corbett, Keir Gilchrist, Brie Larson and Rosemarie DeWitt round out the cast as Tara's supportive (almost to the point of breaking) husband, her kind-hearted son (who happens to be gay), her sometimes troubled teenaged daughter, and her somewhat self-absorbed sister, respectively. This is one of those rare casts that perfectly "gels", and there is no sore thumb in sight!
The show itself is well structured. While I had heard it was comedic, it is actually more often a very serious drama, with comedy thrown in. While you will laugh at it, and with it, you will also often find yourself ready to shed a tear for the characters. Cody and the other writers prove themselves, establishing and paying off characters masterfully, in ways that most shows could only dream of. Story lines also draw you in, and you will feel a very human suspense. This is a show that feels real, feels edgy, feels funny... It just works.
Thus far, the show is comprised of three seasons (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a fourth, despite season 3's lower ratings). This is why the show didn't get a perfect 10 from me- a slight inconsistency with the second season's quality. The first season was outstanding. It truly was one of a kind. It tugged at my heart, and made me laugh. The second season was at times just a bit too... "blah." It was occasionally too dark (more than once forcing story lines and images that felt just too darned uncomfortable, and derivative of the first season), and it felt like there wasn't as much happening. It was still good, but it wasn't as fresh. There wasn't quite the sense of urgency that season one seemed to ooze. It felt like, for lack of better word, an unneeded movie sequel- sure, it's fun to catch up with the characters, but it's not quite as fresh. Thankfully, it did finally get back on track as the season wrapped up, and the finale was heartfelt and worth the "wonky" earlier episodes. And I'm happy to report that Season Three (the current season) is arguably just as good, it not better, than the first season! It was quite a comeback, and I'm glad the show found its legs again.
All-in-all, I highly recommend "United States of Tara" to all open-minded people who want a touching, thought-provoking and smart comedy-drama to follow. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a phenomenal show overall, despite an only so-so second season. I give it a near-perfect 9 out of 10!
I watched 'Tara' after a recommendation from a friend and I enjoyed it
so much that I watched the whole first season in less than 24 hours. I
love the characters and can see myself being friends with everyone in
Tara's family on the show (though probably not the alters
individually!). It's refreshing to see a female protagonist and even
more so to see one so flawed and still so relate-able.
I think Toni Collette is brilliant and utterly convincing as each of her personalities. Brie Larson is beautiful as Kate and I've loved the progression of her character throughout the first season. I've always been a fan of John Corbett but I am, even more so, after seeing him in this role. His character is so calm and strong throughout it all, just trying to love each of his family members and give them what they need. Keir Gilchrist is a new face for me but I thought he was excellent as Marshall and can't wait to see where they take his character in the second season.
All in all I think this show is a must see and I hope it will be on for a good many seasons yet!
I had heard about this show but didn't think it was for me. The first to episodes were bonus featured on Dexter's Third Season, so I watched out of boredom. I loved it! I think you might have to have a twisted sense of humor to enjoy this show, thankfully i do. It was funny and entertaining. Toni Colletti is fantastic in this role and who doesn't want to eat John Corbit up with a spoon? Great cast, fun writing, new story that keeps me coming back for more!! I LOVE Tara! I LOVE T! I LOVE Buck! I LOVE Alice! The kids are fantastic in their respective roles. You won't be disappointed with this Showtime Hit. I would be shocked if they didn't have more seasons.
Despite I am from Brazil, I can understand the middle class American
family and, I must say, has a lot of similitude with the middle class
Brazilian family. The point that make they different is the history of
The American culture is formed by the problems in the middle class of the United States. United States of Tara has a plot, in my personal opinion, that shows the problems, desires and frustrations through the relationship of a family which has a mom suffering from personality disturb, played by Toni Collette. Each personality shows a piece of the middle class family.
Until this sitcom I have never saw Toni Collette as a great actress, since I saw her interpretation in United States of Tara, I must say that I'm in love for her work. She gave so much life for the personalities inside the character, that until now I am very impregnated.
Hence, this is a must see show. My only doubt here is if Diablo Cody will have the ability to continuous to write for several seasons without destroy the idea and keeping the viewers attention.
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.
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