United States of Tara

Daniella Appolonia

Showtime recently aired the pilot for its new show, “United States of Tara” on Jan. 18-a dramatic portrayal of a dysfunctional suburban family juggled by a middle-aged wife with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Tara Gregson, played by Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) delivers a realistic and heart-felt performance, allowing the audience to easily sympathize with her situation.

According to psychologytoday.com, DID “is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in-and alternately take control of-an individual. The alters’ characteristics-including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood-contrast with those of the primary identity. Certain circumstances or stressors can cause a particular alter to emerge.”

During the first episode, the audience is introduced to two of Tara’s alter egos. One of them is a 15-year-old girl, T, who dresses in her teenage daughter’s clothes, and the other, a man named Buck, wears sports combat boots while smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

The episode begins with Tara confessing into a video camera her reasons for being under such pressure – a result of familial issues and her inability to control her teenage daughter, Kate (Brie Larson). In a matter of seconds, Tara goes from having an emotional breakdown to raiding her daughter’s closet for trendy clothes, while listening to music with a smile on her face. Upon Kate’s return home, she heads upstairs to see her mother in her room as T, one of the alter egos. She plays along with the situation, enjoying this side to her mother. As T, Tara even steals her own credit cards to take Kate shopping.

Collette acts alongside John Corbett, who plays her husband Max Gregson, and Keir Gilchrist, who plays her son Marshall. In future episodes, the audience will to learn more about her alter-ego’s, including the third alter-ego, named Alice, who is briefly mentioned in the pilot. Collette’s immense talent as an actress truly emerges in this enticing production. Steven Spielberg executive produces this highly addicting series along with “Juno” scribe, Diablo Cody. “United States of Tara” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.