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When "United States of Tara" premiered on Showtime in 2009, its creator Diablo Cody was still riding high from her Oscar win as the writer of "Juno." It's clear that she wanted to establish an eccentric and complicated comedy that spoke to serious issues in an outrageous way. I mean the idea of tackling a multiple personality disorder within a robust family sitcom is certainly an unconventional notion. And her muse seemed to be the energetic Toni Collette who brought numerous dimensions to the multifaceted lead character. As a suburban wife and mother in Overland Park, Kansas--Tara, with her built in plethora of alters, provided Collette with endless acting possibilities. And who doesn't love showy performances? Winning both an Emmy and a Golden Globe, Collette embraced the show's lunacy while finding true heart and pain when appropriate. For me, she has always been the primary reason to watch this chaotic program and the show excelled in the quieter, more realistic, moments showcasing the family dynamic.

I have watched "Tara" for its entire three season run and have not always embraced the over-the-top antics of the supporting cast. Tara's daughter and sister, in particular, have struggled to find an easy balance as real characters. Their wackiness has somehow always felt false and distracted me from the genuineness of the central theme. Rosemarie DeWitt, a fine actress in every respect, could be undeniably grating as sister Charmaine while Brie Larson has been saddled with some of the series' most unfortunate plot lines (an awkward harassment case at work in Season One, a ludicrous Internet story in Season Two) as a daughter moving into adulthood. I mention this at length because the show could have too much eccentricity for its own good. Thankfully Collette and a understated John Corbett (as Tara's husband) kept things grounded.

Season Three (Tara's final), for me, began as one of the strongest. Suddenly the show became much more focused with a central story line involving Tara returning to school. With an invaluable assist from Eddie Izzard as a psychology professor that helps Tara finally deal with her emotional issues--many of the more contrived subplots concerning the peripheral characters fell away. Everyone seemed to have purpose again and the attention returned to our heroine. As secrets were revealed, deals were struck, and calm was devastated by the emergence of a new and dangerous alter--the show had a renewed vigor. But at its best, the program pushed too far for my taste. For the second half of the season, Tara becomes a clear and obvious danger to herself and her loved ones (setting fire in the truck of a car, cutting her flesh, poisoning someone, ransacking the house, threatening). At any one of these signs, hospitalization would have been indicated--but the family acted as if it were no big deal for weeks! Eventually, hard decisions had to be made, but I never believed that Tara's loved ones would have left her at risk for such a long period. And make no mistake, this is some serious stuff regardless of it being played irreverently. It all became a bit implausible and disconcerting.

All in all, "Tara" was a unique and interesting addition to the Showtime comedy line-up. Sometimes inconsistent, generally chaotic, the program was always fascinating. Collette deserves a big cheer for a top notch performance. May she see its like again. KGHarris, 6/11.
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on January 11, 2012
Tara and her alters had me laughing over and over again. Most rock solid, loving, dysfuntional family ever. Each season was better than the last. Season three did get a little dark, but it is all part of Tara's process to get better. I can hardley wait until the next season comes out. If you loved the family dynamics of SIX FEET UNDER, you will want to be sure and watch this show. The 3 season pack came on time and in great shape.
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on March 5, 2013
Loved United States of Tara was hooked when on ABC though then it was cancelled in Australia as people were concerned about the way it made a laugh out of a serious mental health issue.
I thought it was a very real protray of the mental health issues and how a family supported each other to no end.
very disappointed that they have cancelled season 4.
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on December 8, 2011
This series really is the most clever series I've ever seen. So much talent and such an amazing story line that never gets dull. Always suprises me with each new episode!
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on October 5, 2015
(Warning: may contain spoilers) I have mixed feelings about this show. The story is compelling and the writing and acting are top-notch. But I seriously want to slap most of the characters. Tara and her husband are so consumed with her illness that they are completely clueless about anything else. They have no idea what their kids are up to, and when they do find out, they don't get upset and they rarely punish them. Even when some of Tara's alters become violent, her husband barely reacts to it, and neither of them ever voice any concern that she may harm their children (even after she hits her daughter, it's like it didn't even happen). Tara's sister Charmaine...really, I don't have the words for this woman. I find it difficult to watch a show where most of the people are not likeable.
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on March 22, 2014
I am very glad I purchased this as I was wanting to learn more about multiple personalities. It is both entertaining and educational. I liked that the family is portrayed as being supportive of Tara as she changes into one personality and then another. Toni Collette won an award for her performance of Tara and is well deserved. Comic relief is interwoven with dark material throughout the series. I believe it gives a fairly accurate picture of the struggles someone with dissociative identity disorder could go through. Tara's case is an extreme case in any event. A very well done production IMO.
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on September 22, 2014
I Love This Show and its a good inside look at people who suffer from D.I.D (Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and it gives a real look at how it can affect others. Its entertaining and deep at the same time. I wish it lasted longer, but now I can enjoy the show for all its worth again and again forever.
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on January 9, 2015
My Abnormal Psych teacher actually showed us this tv show when we studied Dissociated disorders. Loved an episode so much I bought all 3 seasons and do not regret it!
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on May 30, 2015
I can so relate to this series I am so sorry the series couldn't continue. I'd like to see more of this kind of show since this is a real disorder.
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on May 1, 2014
Exactly what I ordered and brand new in plastic wrap! Came within a decent amount of time! I would deffinately recommend this to a friend!
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