United States of Tara – Episode 2-1 Review

United States of Tara is back after an excellent first season and the sophomore premier was…disappointing.  “Yes” feels more like a reboot than a continuation of the series – very few plot threads were picked up from last season: Marshal’s relationship with Jason: Done.  Gene stalking Kate: Done. Tara’s alters: Put on hold. In fact, the only plotline carried over from last season is Charmaine’s relationship with Nick.  But the weakest part of the episode lies with characters doing things that just serves the plot, rather than because that is what they would really do.

After Tara’s time in the psychiatric hospital and the damage to the family that lead to her stay, Tara is back at home, taking meds, and has lived an alter-free life for 3 months.  She throws away the alters’ clothes, shedding the skins of her destructive past.  While the family is now “normal”, they seem a bit awkward without the alters.  But their normal suburban life starts to break down when their neighbor kills himself.  Tara finds some solace knowing that with all the drama she caused, she was not the craziest person on the street.  It also brings Tara and Max together with their gay neighbors.

Dinner with the neighbors is probably one of the most interesting parts of the episode. Spoilers ahead:  The neighbor tells Tara how he was “fixed” by his excellent therapist, Shoshana.  Tara will create a new therapist alter, so it was interesting to see its genesis.

Max decides to buy their suicidal neighbor’s house, disregarding Tara’s thoughts on the matter.  Here’s where the story starts to fall apart: These are not rich people, there is no need for them to have 2 homes.  Is Max planning to flip the house? If so, he said that the house won’t sell, so it does not even make good business sense. It is also during Max’s genius decision to buy the house that he harmlessly flirts with their cocktail waitress in front of Tara. You know this won’t end well.

The kids’ storylines are pretty absurd.  Kate took her G.E.D. and graduated early to enter the glamorous world of debt collecting. She’s 15 years old, can you even do that? More importantly, why would Tara and Max let her?  She still lives at home and does not need money that would justify quitting school.  I guess future storylines won’t work if she’s still in school – it feels wrong for the character, but what are ya gonna do?

Marshal made some brand new stereotypical gay friends: Über effeminate guys who wear bright pastel- clothes – make no mistake, audience, they are gay.  The school has a day where you give different colored carnation to people depending on how you feel: Red for love; yellow for kinda like; and white for just take it and shut up.  Well, the stereotypes want to force the school to have a purple carnation for gay. How many openly gay students could there be in a small Kansas school that they need a designated color? And just because the show calls attention that it is a stupid idea does not make it any less stupid. Maybe it is just unfortunate timing with the current events of a Mississippi school cancelling prom because a girl wanted to take her girlfriend, but the carnation plot came off pretty trivial.

“Yes” is, obviously, the calm before the storm. United States of Tara without alters is…Rosanne.  Buck makes an appearance the last 2 minutes and starts a flirtation with the girl who flirted with Max earlier.  It’s hard to see where the season is going, but it started off pretty slow. Hopefully the silliness is just to set up future conflicts/storylines and will gel as the season progresses. As it is, “Yes” is a “Maybe.”

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