“United States of Tara”: Pick a favorite

Tara 2 Think of the publicity opportunities for “United States of Tara.”

Showtime could run a poll: Name your favorite alter (the term used for Toni Collette’s multiple personalities). Would it be T, the 16-year-old girl who dresses trashy and wants to party all night long? How about Buck, the beer-swiging trucker who isn’t afraid to get into a bar fight? There’s also Alice, a ’50s homemaker out of a Douglas Sirk film that still thinks baking a cake is the remedy for everything that ails? Or just Tara, a wife and mom who’s constantly trying to get a handle on her life that’s constantly being affected by her Disassociative Identity Disorder.

 

“I can’t make a decision who I like most,” Collette said. “I would be like a bad parent choosing a favorite kid. Getting into costume, hair, makeup all helps, but it’s about empathy and what I read on the page that make the characters as real as possible.”

 

Creator-writer Diablo Cody discussed a question as to whether Tara is doing the viewing public a disservice by going off her medication, which would help control her DID.

 

“I don’t want to portray Tara as irresponsible,” Cody said. “I want to make clear that she had not been receiving proper medical treatment. Her medication had made her feel completely numb and she wanted one chance to reconcile. She’s living with her disorder and not muting it.”

 

Series, which begins Sunday at 10 p.m. and co-stars John Corbett and Rosemarie DeWitt, could

easily be the next hit for Showtime. Early reviews and buzz have been excellent.

 

— Stuart Levine

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