Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TV Tuesday: United States of Tara

Perhaps it's because, as a writer, I'm accustomed to characters talking to me.

Perhaps it's because I like to go to the next level and ask, "What if?"

Whatever the reason, I'm going to miss United States of Tara.

This three-season Showtime series features the amazingly talented Toni Collette as Tara Gregson, a thirty-something mom of two who struggles with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Her patient and hunky hubby Max is played by John Corbett. The cast is full, interesting, and believable with daughter Kate (Brie Larson), son Marshall (Keir Gilchrist), sister Charmaigne (Rosemarie DeWitt) and family friend Neil (Patton Oswalt).

Tara's primary alternate personalities are a 1950's housewife named Alice, a beer-guzzling Vietnam vet named Buck, and a trouble making teen named T. She also has pop-psychologist Shoshana, child Chicken, and in the last season, evil half-brother Bryce.

Yet, I can somehow relate to her.

She loves her family.  She wants to be a steady mom to her children, give her husband some happiness, have a normal family dinner, hold her baby niece, not meet herself coming and going, and just be able to paint.

Those are normal, sane desires, right?

Since I'm no mental health professional, I can't speak to the accuracy of the potrayal of the mental illness.

However, the show serves a positive purpose by putting it out there for people to examine in a different way. So often, people make off-the-cuff comments about someone being "bi-polar" or "schizo." This show sheds light on a family that loves each other and must cope.

And that reality happens outside the realm of TV Land every day.

 Oprah reminded me of some bits of truth in the show. From two interviews, I saw bits of Tara's character. Does anyone else remember Trudy Chase? She had 92 personalities. She wrote a book, and a movie was made.  Read about Trudy Chase here.  Kim Noble is another mother who has 20 personalities. Like Tara, she's an artist. Read about Kim Noble here.

So many people look for drama, but this show deals with drama in a (sometimes darkly) comedic way.

Check it out.


  1. Sounds peculiar, quirky, and interesting! It is hard enough to juggle family life without multiple personalities, I will try to catch a few episodes!

  2. Adding another person to the mix always presents challenges--especially if that person is in your own head!