‘United States of Tara’ – ‘From This Day Forward’: Charmaine getting married

Senior Television Writer
06.07.10 47 Comments


A review of the “United States of Tara” season two finale coming up just as soon as I take leggings for granted…

“Let’s plow.” -Charmaine

“From This Day Forward” ended this confident second season on a very strong note. Some stories never quite worked (specifically, anything to do with Kate, including what turned out to be underuse of Viola Davis), and others are left to be dealt with next season (the mystery of Hubbard’s relationship to Tara, the half-brother that Tara and Charmaine will now likely want to track down), but Diablo Cody and company wrapped up most of what they needed to, and did it in the show’s usual mix of the poignant and the ridiculous.

In particular, the finale was a wonderful showcase for Rosemarie DeWitt as Charmaine. Charmaine began the series as the broadest, most extraneous character, but as she’s come to (mostly) accept the reality of her sister’s condition, Charmaine’s emotional story has become just as important and powerful as Tara’s or Max’s or Marshall’s. Here, even though she was rushing into marriage with great-on-paper Nick while carrying the baby of better-for-her-in-reality Neil, I felt for her as that wedding was upstaged and eventually wrecked by Tara’s issues. And then I laughed at the slap fight with Chicken, and then felt for both sisters when their parents revealed the truth about their half-brother and the molestation that led to Tara’s DID. And if Charmaine didn’t get the trophy husband(*), she does get the guy she clearly liked better (even if she treated him awfully at times), and I liked the 21st century Miss Havisham quality of her going to the bar with him without taking off the wedding dress.

(*) Interestingly, Tara’s alters generally come out when she’s under attack in some way, but here Chicken (whose role is to protect Charmaine) emerges, I suspect, because Tara realizes on some level that Charmaine doesn’t really want to marry Nick – who turns out to be no prize with the rough way he handles Charmaine outside the kitchen – and uses Chicken to do the dirty work. Once the wedding is over, Tara returns.

And now that we have a clearer sense of what caused Tara’s DID, I’ll be curious to see what next season’s stories might be. This information won’t cure her, and she still probably has to find Brice and find out more about Hubbard, but now we’re worrying about the margins of the bigger picture. The Gregson marriage has survived distractions by Pammy and Lynda and then Pammy again, the kids are (for now) back on their mom’s side again, and Shoshanah is still around to offer advice. What conflict comes next? Other than, of course, the never-ending battle to give Kate something to do that makes sense, is interesting and in any way has something to do with the rest of the family?

Where would you like to see “Tara” go next season? And what did you think of how season two wrapped up?

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