A Brief Post and the United States of Tara

Ok, this week definitely got away from me. I have an ARC to finish and review for Criminal Element, a review on Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig and a How To for Pen&Muse to write, my revisions to get crackin’ on, and Wednesday… sorta happened without me.

That’s not even counting Day Job stuff.

So naturally, I did what I always do: I started a new television series and binge-watched the hell out of it.

In my last post, I talked about mental illness and my fear that I won’t or can’t portray it and villagers with pitchforks and torches and blah blah blah. I think I have a vague memory of hearing about United States of Tara, but it never pinged on my radar. I knew it was about a housewife with multiple personalities and that it was a comedy. Meh.

Curiosity got the better of me through, and I’m glad it did: United States of Tara is wonderful.

Yes, it’s a dramatic comedy. Yes, it is funny, but the writers made damned sure that the humor was never about Tara’s illness. The DID diagnosis wasn’t the comedy. Though the alters are a teenager (T), a 1950’s housewife (Alice), and a beer-chugging VET (Buck), who all do admittedly hilarious things on occasion, the characters take Tara’s state seriously. They acknowledge her inability to control it and they help her as best they can.

Stephen Spielberg and Diablo Cody worked on this show, and I think that’s part of the reason it’s so well-written. Not to mention Toni Collette’s portrayal of Tara being spot-on to the mannerisms exhibited by people with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly Multiple Personality Disorder.)

Even freaking Eddie Izzard is in this show! That’s always a nice discovery. Though there are only three season (and how I wish there were a fourth), United States of Tara was perhaps the best example of storytelling involving mental illness that I’ve seen, from the supportive husband who struggles with how much he has to handle, to the skeptical sister and therapist who help initiate major breakthroughs and help Tara understand, accept, and heal.

I’m not telling you to binge-watch this show and shirk your responsibilities like I did, but if you want to, I certainly won’t stop you.

I’m off now to finish a review and chapter three of The Killing Type before yet another day at The Day Job. I finally had a narrative revelation, and I think I’m really on to something this time. Here’s hoping I can hash things out before June (self-imposed deadline. Hold me to it!)

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