‘United States of Tara’ – ‘…youwillnotwin…’: Welcome back, Buck

A quick review of the “United States of Tara” season 3 premiere coming up just as soon as I go through life without the world’s most misleading Pictionary artist…

“I’m just sick of disappearing, and being the least interesting person inside me.” -Tara

I published a long (spoiler-minimal) review of the entire season this morning, praising the show for being willing to go deeper and darker into Tara’s psyche, and into the affect living with Tara has on the rest of her family (including Charmaine and now, apparently, Neil). But it’s a bit of a slow build till we get to that point. And given that I’ve seen the entire season already(*), I may either be a bit more sporadic in my reviews, or I may take the “Big Love”/”True Blood” approach of making sure there’s a post each week to allow for reader discussion, but only offer full-length reviews of episodes I found particularly noteworthy. We’re gonna play it by ear.

(*) As I’ve discussed in the past, I go back and forth on how far to go with available screeners before a season of a cable show begins. With “Lights Out,” for instance, I chose to stop after 5 episodes because I felt like I had a sense of the show’s strengths, weaknesses and direction and didn’t want to be writing my later reviews months after I’d initially seen those episodes. With this show, I just kept going, at first because I was waiting for something to really impress me, then because things started to get so good that I couldn’t resist popping in one episode after the next. I’m glad I did, because my advance review would have been far less glowing if I had stopped around the point I did with “Lights Out,” but it does then complicate the whole episode-by-episode issue.

Diablo Cody was on maternity leave for a lot of this season, and her script here is largely just about putting various pieces in place, like Kate living with Charmaine and Neil, and the introduction of Eddie Izzard as Dr. Jack Hatteras. The alters don’t turn up until the end – including T, who was largely absent from season 2 – and there’s that very dark moment in that scene where Tara appears to shift into yet another identity, one that curses and tries to injure her before Buck and Alice can step in to stop things. Hmm…

There was also some good funny stuff from the kids – Marshall and Kate dueting on “MMMBop,” and Marshall watching the humiliating Neil video over and over again – and while I won’t spoil anything beyond what I mentioned this morning, this is the season where eventually they come up with a Kate storyline that doesn’t just feel like the writers want to do something with Brie Larson but can’t figure out anything that fits with the rest of the show. So you have that to look forward to.

But that’s down the road, and I shall do my best in future posts – however long, short or sporadic they may be – to focus on the content of that episode and only that episode.

So what did everybody else think of the premiere? Will you miss the main title sequence, or do you feel like the show has outgrown it?