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One of my problems with United States of Tara is that so far I don’t feel clued in enough yet into what life as a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is really like. Obviously, this TV comedy isn't meant to be a documentary but I think I picked up a little bit on what it takes to run a funeral home from Six Feet Under, and some of the elements of pot dealing from Weeds.


The series is still lacking some magic for me, considering the cast, concept and power behind the show but at least tonight we got on with some of the everyday aspects of Tara's life. I like the minutiae of living with personalities, like Tara having to wipe lipstick off the liquor bottles from when her retro alter Alice secretly drinks, but moreover, it was nice to actually see Tara go to therapy. We learned a little bit more about why Tara's off her halcyon—because on her medication, she couldn't eat, paint or have sex, and apparently life is better for the kids while she's off it as well. I'm still curious to see, though, if we'll ever get a glimpse into her life without the alters because right now it's being painted a little too this-or-that—you could be medicated and numb and BORING or you could be off meds and disturbed and INTERESTING.

I also liked seeing Tara actually work although her client, Tiffany St. John (played by Jessica St. Clair from Best Week Ever) stole the show. Hers was just a funny character, the woman who thinks she's totally wild because she placed a leopard-print chair in her otherwise all-white condo, because there are no stems on her wineglasses, because she calls her dogs her kids and abbreviates the names of wine. Tiffany wants to be as interesting as Tara, which is why she loves the fact that she was molested (and probably wasn't). "I know…I know! I'm stronger for it. I’m actually glad it happened in a way."

The teens in tonight's episode were also funnier and lighter to me and not so "Let me shock you with my hardcoreness." Like Katie saying, "Why are we eating these ghetto tore-up Cheerios? I mean, they come in a bag." And I was about ready to strangle Marshall's bespectacled friend, especially as she wondered why instead of Grease, the school couldn't put on something "mainstream, like Miller or god forbid Wilder" but I loved it then when Marshall asked her who she was trying out for: "Sandy." Finally I enjoyed the dialogue between Marshall and Katie after Katie's first day working at the Apple—I mean, Barnabees. "What price dignity?" he asked her (after he mildly obsessed over some guy online who kind of looks like a cross between Brendan Fraser and Tobey Maguire). "I don't know what you're talking about," she sniffed.


We'll see what happens with Marshall and the Hell House he agrees to get involved in because of his crush, but I like Gene, Katie's boss—that's an excellent dymanic to explore, of the little nobody jerk who impresses someone younger and hotter than him because he wields a little power and a non-September-11 story and the phrase "monkey fuck." It's the little deets that make the big diff.

I'm having a hard time feeling much interest in Tara's issues with her sex life with Max though, maybe because their sex life is so talked about thus far on the series and I'm already over it. On this episode alone we saw Alice try to bone Max, Max try to do Tara and fail, Max try to come on to Tara and be rebuffed, and Max come home to have sex with Tara but find her as Buck (so they watch porn together). Forget why they're not doing it, can't they just take a night off and watch TV or something?

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

—I’m happy to see that the lady who played the girlfriend who went to the insane asylum on Seinfeld get some work here as Tara’s shrink.


—Do we know what the "Gimme" written in purple on the bathroom wall was about, or will that be revealed with time?

—Best character on the series thus far? Granddog. He has a glass eye.