Monday, January 12, 2009

VIDEO: Watch Showtime's "United States of Tara" Pilot

Toni Collette (In Her Shoes and Little Miss Sunshine) works overtime in this Showtime series as four characters. It premiers this Sunday the 18th, but you can watch it for FREE (just today I believe) on Youtube or go to Showtime's website. It's in the right column of the homepage. Enjoy!

The Verdict: It was pretty funny. I do wish I had Showtime now. If you weren't in love with John Corbett (Aidan) after seeing him on "Sex and the City"--I wasn't really that impressed--you will be now. His character Max has spent 17 years tolerating the four personalities that erupt from his depressed wife whenever she can't handle her hectic life, like her daughter's (Brie Larson from "Hope & Faith") sudden need for a steady supply of morning-after pills. While the woman Max fell in love with is her default setting, he manages to find ways to tolerate the others. T is the slutty, drug-using, thieving teenager who gets his mojo going and parties with their daughter Katie. Buck is the beer-chugging, gun-toting male ego who handles situations like beating the crap out of Katie's semi-abusive boyfriend and going to the gun range with Max. The third alter ego--or "alter" as they call it--Paula Dean wasn't introduced in the pilot, but she was mentioned with reverence by her son Marshall (newcomer Keir Gilchrist). She's apparently Stepford Wive-ish, a real baking aficionado.

What's most interesting isn't even how naturally Toni Collette manages to transition into a different character. It's how each personality has an affect on everyone else. Buck may hurl homophobic slurs at Marshall (calling him Marsha), despite the fact that there's been no confirmation of his sexuality, but he's also the only one that brings out the masculinity in him. Around his mom and T, he acts as the studious, baking-savvy angel, but I sense it was Buck's influence that inspired him to join in on defending his sister's honor by tackling the prick to the ground. And if it wasn't for T, Katie would probably be pregnant. Buck even capped that little sex talk off with a "fatherly" warning not to get pregnant until she was old enough to support it, like 16. (lol) I'm actually interested in seeing how Paula Dean fits into the mix. She seems so pristine in the promo images and their house isn't exactly a palace.

A few things concern me though. First off, it's sort of odd that Tara can't remember what she does when she's not herself, but her alters remember what she does. Then there's the fact that her sister, Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt from Rachel Getting Married), behaves like she's trying to steal Max away. And worst of all, Charmaine has some whacked--even more whacked than this premise--theory that Tara's just pretending to have all of these alter egos to get away with stuff. I understand that it might be difficult to tolerate this behavior for more than thirty years and live in your sister's crazy shadow, so she might just be venting, but it does sound like a pretty funny thought. What better way to get your daughter to listen to you than to behave like a teenager? How else are you going to get away with assaulting a teenage boy than by acting like you're a guy? Genius! Of course, that's not what's happening, but still. Genius!

I'll be tuning in (on or How about you?

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