But what can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment, and I kept watching, if only for the vindication of yelling at the TV every time a character spouted some smart-ass quip about vaginas or meatloaf (ew, bad juxtaposition there. My apologies). So it's with a mouthful of crow that I must admit the damned show has really grown on me. So much so that I wasn't even pissed when Showtime announced that it's ordering up twelve new episodes for a second season. I know, right? Look how evolved I've become, admitting I was wrong about something! Lemme break it down for you.
1) Toni Collette is freakin' fantastic, and anything that serves as a forum for her spectacular and wide-ranging acting chops can't be all bad. Seeing her inhabit not one, not two but four roles at a go is positively awesome. Sure, not all of them are that complex. Save for Tara herself, they all serve as sorta one-dimensional archetypes (Buck the redneck, Alice the fifties housewife, T the brash teenaged slut). But that's the point. And watching Colette manage them all in the guise of the smart, conflicted and layered Tara is pure goodness.
2) Rosemarie Dewitt as Tara's shady, jealous wannabe New Age-y sister Charmaine is a total score. Dewitt was transfixing as Midge on Mad Men, stellar as the titular Rachel in Rachel Getting Married, and with any luck, the show's renewal means we'll be getting to see a lot more of her biting wit and unexpected warmth.
3) At first, all the "look at me, I'm gay!" tropes that were used in fleshing out Tara's son Marshall were just plain maddening. He loves George Cukor and Louise Brooks and Thelonious Monk! Why don't you clobber me over the head with some Judy Garland vinyl while you're at it? But the emerging story arc involving the beefy, potentially closeted evangelist's son is both totally doomed and totally great.
4) Holy shit, Patton Oswalt's in this! Only for a couple seconds every few episodes as Tara's husband Max's partner, but still!
5) Personally I find the character of Tara's teenage daughter Katie completely annoying -- sort of like the emo cheerleader version of Juno. But both of her love interests thus far have been majorly hilarious. Her Japanophile ex-boyfriend Ben, with his copious guyliner and sumo knots and skeevy demeanor, is exactly like this kid Chris I knew in high school who insisted on wearing skirts so everyone knew how "different" he was. And Gene, the equally skeevy manager of the Applebee's-style restaurant where Katie works, is so believable in his dork-ocity that I squeal with joy whenever he's on-screen. Yay sweater-vests and pederasty!
Personally, I'm outright psyched to see where this show goes. What about you?
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