The Showtime site has a free sneak preview of the first episode of the highly anticipated new series The United States of Tara. Highly anticipated by me and any other giant Toni Collette fans. Check it out -- the password is "tara" -- and then writhe in frustration that you don't have Showtime.
As for my take on it: it's a Diablo Cody brainchild, and it manages to follow extremely closely to the Juno template. What that means is that the first fifteen minutes contain the same kind of overstuffed, effort-laden, thoroughly irritating teenspeak that made the first half-hour of Juno such a chore. And like in Juno, the acting holds it together. And like in Juno, the verbal ADD ultimately gives way to a sweet, smart story with well-defined characters. I came away liking it very much, but I actually pulled up Blogger halfway through and started to write a negative review because those early minutes were so painful. Is this how it's gonna be, Diablo Cody? The constant push-pull? What happens when I forget to stick around for the good parts?
Anyway, Toni Collette is predictably awesome. Her physicality as Tara's teenaged alter, "T," was there for the character when the dialogue threatened to drown her, and she was a scream as Buck, the redneck gun-enthusiast (with an odd yen for ballet). We also got word of "Alice," a seemingly Suzy Homemaker-esque alter.
Anyway, Rosemarie DeWitt was great (even though her character is a less nuanced version of her character in Rachel Getting Married), John Corbett does that thing he does where he's the guy, and I lovelovelove Marshall and his muffins of triumph. Tara reminds me of shows like Ugly Betty, Friday Night Lights, and Weeds, in the way that it presents relationships that you're not really going to find in other TV shows at the moment. I'm definitely going to have to employ back channels and unscrupulous means to catch the rest of the first season once it airs.