Tuesday, June 01, 2010

United States of Tara and the Deceitful Netflix Envelope

I just received the second disc of Showtime's United States of Tara in the mail (I know, I know. Shut up. Better late than never) and noticed an odd bit of ad copy.

"Steven Spielberg created this wry cable series that follows Tara (Toni Collette)..."
Er... I know Ol' Spielberg is a beloved household name and all but bad form, Netflix copy editor types, bad form! While Spielberg's name is attached (Executive Producer), Tara is the brainchild of Oscar-winning Diablo Cody (Juno) and one ought to give credit where it's due.

P.S. I like the series so far with "Alice" being my favorite of Tara's alters -- is this because it reminds me of her slam dunk cameo in The Hours (2002)? -- and her son Marshall's "Hell House" experience being my favorite subplot. I'm enjoying the way Toni plays her multiples in a performative rather than strictly naturalistic way. This adds a nice layer to the larger thematic questions of identity building / role playing that the show appears to be building towards. I could be wrong, though. Just halfway through.

P.P.S. I find it unfortunate that after the one-two punch of Rachel Getting Married and this series that Rosemarie DeWitt may be forever typecast as The Female Protagonist's Resentful Sister Who Craves the Familial Attention That the Protagonist Wins via the Sheer Enormity of Her Mental Problems. I mean... that is a microscopic niche. That's even more problematic than Jodie Foster's narrow 'Female Protagonist Trapped In Confined Spaces' phase from a decade back. Good luck finding your next role, Rosemarie!

P.P.P.S. Now that I've seen 8 or so episodes, I'm dying to discuss it. Travel back in time a couple of years and discuss with me. Do you love it?

17 comments:

Deus Ex Machina said...

Those damned Netflix envelopes! When I rented Darling in the description it mentioned "Darling" as being the name of the character played by Julie Christie and not Diana Scott. It completely messes the whole meaning of the movie!

City_Of_Lights said...

Every once in a while you can find an annoying error like that on an envelope or on the website. I rented a Danish film that was a romantic drama and they had it listed as a foreign comedy and foreign romance. Looking at the categories you'd think it could be a rom com!

Volvagia said...

Here's an example of a potential review in regards to her next: Studio execs have butchered a first time director's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac adaptation by necessittating an origin. Nny (The overly square-faced Ryan Gosling) is a weak role here, with his fear of all bodily functions and fluid reduced to just a fear of blood. DeWitt isn't given a much better role as the sister character, who is continually, and in the final scenes, ridiculously, more concerned with the attention he's getting than with his threats on her life. I guess they wanted to introduce the characters in a way that gripped you for a sequel that would actually adapt the source. But this bout of casting for type, as opposed to face, was awful. (Michael Cera would have looked more like the comics edition of Nny, without being an utter carbon copy and would have also been a refreshingly against type character.)

There. A mock review of a potential bad movie idea featuring the talented Rosemarie DeWitt.

Alex said...

...and that's why I have Blockbuster.

I'm desperately hoping that Rosemarie DeWitt lands the role of Harper Pitt in the new mounting of Angels in America going up at the Signature Off-Broadway. Wishful thinking also goes out to a Mandy Patinkin (Roy Cohn) and Julie White (Hannah Pitt).

Dylan said...

I absolutely ADORE this show! Toni Collette totally deserved her Emmy, though my favorite performance on the show is Keir Gilchrist as Marshall...though that may be because I have a total crush on him?

The second season IS a little weaker than the first, but it is still excellent.

Alice is my favorite alter as well.

Glenn said...

It's the kids that impress me most of all, specifically Brie Larson. She is so good on this show.

So many great things about it though, true. Still haven't seen season 2 yet though.

Liv. said...

USofTara is great. Season two gets a little bit lulled in the middle but now it's as strong as ever.

Hilary_Swank said...

The first season was quite amazing, and Toni deserved every win she got, but....season 2 is really not all that great. Very watchable, but the show has kind of become cartoonish?

Denzel Hawke said...

So I think Steven Spielberg is the actual creator. I had heard, after Juno, Spielberg had an idea for a show about a housewife with multiple personalities and had pegged Diablo Cody to write it. Since he came up with the concept, he can still legitimately be the creator.

Robert William Berg said...

I loved the first season, but for me, the second is far more complex and twisty, on every level. The way they've expanded the metaphor of Tara's search for identity to each character is just beautiful writing, brilliantly played by the cast. The show plays with so many different levels that I can't discuss without spoiling. Suffice it to say that the question of who is Tara, and are her alters legitimate people as well gets some rather fascinating exploration in the second season.

Kimberly said...

I'm desperately in love with this show (a close second to my Mad Men obsession). Have been a fan of Toni Collette since Muriel's Wedding and I'm surprised to find her so well suited to series TV. John Corbet I'll take any way I can get him. I can only stand Charmaine because of Rosemarie DeWitt, and even that's pushing it.
I don't know that I could pick a favorite alter - Buck perhaps, he really cares for the family in a way only he knows how. T is a selfish teen and Alice (who I also love - probably because of The Hours similarity) is intense!
8 Episodes in, eh? You have a lot of great stuff waiting for you!! Topped off with Viola Davis in S2. Love her!

NATHANIEL R said...

Denzel -- i've never heard that before. i've only ever heard of Diablo Cody creating it. But if it is true (the general concept) it's interesting that Spielberg would've thought up something so outside of his range in every way.

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Alex said...

I love Toni Collette. I'm glad you're taking the time to catch up on her.


SHE BETTER MAKE SOME FILMS SOON OR I WILL GO MAD.

bubba said...

Rosemarie DeWitt is lovely here, and though you point out the similarities with her role in RGM, I find her absorbing in Tara for altogether different reasons. I find DeWitt more childlike and playful here (she does play the younger sister), and her comedic touches to her own character's pathos are spot on. And is it just me or is DeWitt more watchable than her onscreen sisters?

But like Glenn, it's the kids that impress me most.

Great show.

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