[Spoiler Warning: If you’ve yet to watch the second season premiere of United States of Tara, continue on your own accord!]
As Toni Collette returns to her Emmy award winning roll as Tara Gregson in United States of Tara, things appear to be all too quiet in the Gregson household. With Tara on a new combination of medication, her alternative personalities have not appeared in months. A quick trip to a clothing donation box proves therapeutic as the entire family disposes of the clothing belonging to her other personalities.
When a gunshot is heard from next door, the family ventures onto the streets where they find that their neighbor, Mr. Hubbard, has committed suicide. While everyone is troubled with what just occurred, Tara sees it a victory which proves to her fellow residences that “the lady with the personalities was not the most f--ked up person on the block” and as a result the family befriends their gay neighbors, Ted (Michael Hitchcock) and Hany (Sammy Sheik).
Katie (Brie Larson), after graduating high school early, takes a job as a debt collector as her little brother, Marshall (Keir Gilchrist), contemplates the significance if sitting at the “gay-ble” (gay table) at school. Meanwhile, Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Nick (Matthew Del Negro) decide to take their relationship to the next level.
After Mr. Hubbard’s sister asks the Gregson’s to keep an eye on her brother’s house, Max contemplates purchasing the property, but as Tara and Max (John Corbett) visit a local bar that employs an attractive waitress (Joey Lauren Adams), events are set in motion that will serve as one of the story arcs for the season.
A sleepless night has Tara staring out the window where something inherently draws her to visit her recently deceased neighbor’s house. Once inside, her curiosity proves to be too much as seeing the site of Mr. Hubbard’s suicide becomes the perfect catalyst for a certain Vietnam veteran to emerge.
Review (for the purpose of this review, I’ve screened the first six episodes of the second season)
The season premiere, while providing a new start for Tara and her family, takes a slight step back in terms of storytelling as last season’s goal of finding the origin of Tara’s DID (dissociative identity disorder) momentarily takes a backseat as medication provides the means, no matter how short, to subdue her alternative personalities.
In reality, someone being able to control their mental disorder would be a good thing, but when it’s a television series that revolves around those personalities, the lack of their presence in the season premiere makes the episode feel a bit empty. No matter how wonderfully acted the show is – and it is - it’s hard to make the notion of “everything is normal” interesting.
Luckily, normalcy, especially in Tara’s life, is short lived and as the first episode comes to a close, we get a small glimpse of what’s to come as a seemingly insignificant relapse serves as an introduction to a wonderfully intriguing storyline that will prove to challenge Tara and Max’s entire relationship. Better yet, the subject of Tara’s past will return and with the help of her new personality, Shoshanna, provide something fans have been waiting for – answer!
All-in-all, the season premiere of United States of Tara is a poor representation of the quality writing that one can and will experience as the season progresses. Despite its flaws, I have no doubt that if given the chance, the second season of United States of Tara would have even the biggest Diablo Cody detractor tuning in week after week.
While it may be hard to distinguish from this episode alone, the second season of United States of Tara contains some truly wonderful storytelling and character development that should not be missed.
What did you think of the season premiere of United States of Tara? Did you agree with me when I said that a personality-less episode feels a bit lacking?
What did you think of Tara’s relapse? How do you think it will impact her relationship with Max? Will her family stand behind her on this on?
Catch United States of Tara Monday's @10:30pm on Showtime
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