‘United States of Tara’ – ‘Family Portrait’: Cheating yourself

Senior Television Writer
05.17.10 6 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “United States of Tara” coming up just as soon as I leave you there like a cone…

“Other people are real, Marshall! You can’t just fuck around! We’re all real!” -Ted

The question of who is or isn’t real becomes trickier when you’re dealing with the Gregson family, though, doesn’t it?

Max cheats on Tara, but he does it with a woman Tara’s body already had sex with, albeit while Buck was in charge. Later, Max essentially gets his wife’s permission(*) to sleep with another woman who is also herself. Kate meets a rich, seemingly nice guy while in her Princess Valhalla Hawkwind guise, though he seems more interested in her as her. Eventually, it seems, every member of the family will either have an alter ego or be tangled up with someone who does. And that makes life really damn complicated. Maybe the reason none of the family members yet have faces in Tara’s painting is because she’s waiting to see who they become next.

(*) Question: are we supposed to take Shoshana at face value and assume her motives are entirely honorable? Or is there a chance that, like Buck and Alice (who often wanted to have sex with Max but could never get him to do it), she’s trying to seize control of the body, and is just being smarter about it?

Two particularly strong scenes involved the guest stars: first Neil learning Charmaine is having a girl in the same conversation where she turns his abortion line against him and tries to use it as a wedge to keep him out of his daughter’s life forever, and second Pammy lamenting the fact that normal guys are never interested in her for very long. I’m glad to see Patton Oswalt getting more to do this year than last, and Joey Adams has been a nice addition to the bigger ensemble.

So what did everybody else think?

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