Thursday, June 10, 2010

The United States of Tara is held together by love

     Showtime's United States of Tara ended their second season with "From This Day Forward" this week.  If I can some up the change from season one to two it is this: the second season focused more on Tara (Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine)  than her personalities.  This was a good thing.  Season one was lots of fun, watching the crazy woman who could turn into Alice, Buck, T, or even Gimme at any time.  And sure, there was some delving into her past to discover how she got the way she is.  But now the focus is on Tara's growth and acceptance, and why certain personalities are.  Adding Chicken and Shoshanna, two new alters, into the mix, revealed more about the woman than the new characters.  And we got a lot more background on how Tara grew up.

     That wasn't the only thing that was different, though.  Tara's family got much more interesting.  Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) accepted who he was, and figured out just what kind of gay he was going to be.  Max (John Corbett, Sex and the City) cheated on his wife, and had to figure out all over again how he fit in with the alters.  Kate (Brie Larson) had her own awakening, and was once again unlucky in love, despite her sincere efforts and hopes.  And my favorite of the bunch, sister Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married) was left at the altar by her fiance, who just wasn't right for her, allowing her to stop trying to be normal and follow her heart back into the arms of true love and father of her unborn child, Neil (the incredibly talented and sweet Patton Oswalt).  Or so it appeared.

     The season ended with many more questions than it began with.  Who was Tara and Charmaine's half brother?  What exactly did he do to them?  Why is Tara the only one with split personality?  What effect did it have on Charmaine?  It may be too late to get all the answers, with their mother still being defiant, and their father slipping into Alzheimer's.  Will Tara begin getting better as more is revealed, or will she keep splitting into more people?

      One thing was not left up in the air though.  The series is about a devoted family who love each other very much.  Whatever issues they go through, they will support each other, and come through them.  Not in a soap-opera cheesy way, but in an authentic, caring way.  The show is realistic, despite being about an unusual topic, and sheds light on well defined characters, played by an amazing cast.  I look forward to season three next late winter / early spring.

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