I admit that part of me wanted to hate United States of Tara. And after watching the first episode, I was pretty much ready to write it off as another twee, precocious Diablo Cody affair, all over-wrought pop culture references and schticky, trend-conscious plots. Sure, there was some of that. But the first episode of any series is a crapshoot, and there was a lot of ground to cover in establishing the universe of Tara Gregson and her "alters," Alice, T and Buck.
When we first heard about Showtime's new series The United States of Tara back in June, I had conflicted feelings about it. On the one hand, Toni Collette playing a mother living with multiple personality disorder while trying to raise two children is undeniably intriguing. I adore Toni Collette, and have been dying to see her lead a series for a while now, not to mention the fact that Showtime makes great series. On the other hand, Diablo Cody wrote it, and she's the most annoying person on the planet. A preview of the show was released yesterday, and I'm still torn. From this brief look, Collette's performance looks really over-the-top and nowhere based in any grounded reality, and there were hints of that Diablo Cody quippy hipster lingo, which, oh God, kill me now.
Over the course of the last few years, Showtime has been working hard to shed its image as HBO's nerdy younger sibling. Like a pubescent high school girl who's evolved from tentative nerd (Angela Chase) to popular ho (Kelly Taylor) to reckless bad-ass who just don't give a fuck (Marissa Cooper), we've seen the channel blossom before our very eyes. They brought us The L Word and Queer As Folk -- because it's natural to experiment. Then came Weeds --- because everyone knows that drugs make you cooler. Then came the much-anticipated Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Because everyone loves a slut. And just yesterday it was announced that the premium channel has picked up United States of Tara, a new comedy series penned by tattooed It-screenwriter Diablo Cody about a woman with dissociative identity disorder. Because if we learned anything from Britney, it's that mental disorder is the new black.