Sunday, January 18, 2009

United States Of Tara

Last evening after a very long yet fun Friday evening, my best friend and I spent a lazy evening having drinks and watching TV. Towards the end of the evening she put the premiere episode of United States of Tara on demand. It is a new cable series, from Dream Works and created / produced (?) by Steven Spielberg that actually premieres this evening (1/18/09) but has been available On Demand since at least yesterday and believe since 1/5/09. The story line of this well promoted series revolves around a the ongoing lives of an middle class couple with two kids living in suburbia. The wife suffers from a type of multi personality disorder known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). These alter personalities manifest themselves whenever the mother, Tara, suffers some stressful moment in her life. We actually watched the first two episodes and I do not know just how many "alters" are present, but there are a few compelling characters and the husband and the two children both know them all by name. The show looks like it may be a successful cable series just as Californication, Mad Men, Big Love and even to a degree, the Sopranos and Sex and the City have been.
However, there is something mildly troubling about this show for me. The daughter Kate, is played brilliantly by Brie Larson an accomplished nineteen year old actress / singer who has been successful in her young career in both movies and music. She plays a convincing fifteen year old, strong willed, sexually promiscuous girl with an apparent voracious appetite for sex and is not embarrassed to say so to her mother, the "alters" and her father. The scenes where she describes her desires are somewhat sizzling, but are disturbingly unnerving in that that these words are being said by a fifteen year character. To paraphrase as best as I remember, she says "I like to fuck, I like to suck and I am not backdoor un-friendly." Watching her undress, and in a later scene have her mother help her remove her boots from her long and very spread legs showing her tight panties, I could not help but think of the men who we see occasionally on Dateline. Comparing these scenes to a later scene in the premiere episode where Kate performs in a school dance recital only reinforces my initial reaction to this character. This morning I asked Ally what she thought in this regard and she too noted the disturbingly sexual nature of this character.
I was troubled by my own reaction to this most taboo character. I was relieved to learn today that the actress is nineteen, but the character is fifteen. And in my upbringing, fifteen has been off limits since I was sixteen. So having one fifteen year old be so sexually open in a series is troubling to me, even as open and tolerant as I may be. And if her words and body movements can stir this illicit this mild reaction, I can only imagine what reaction this character will create for the mainstream pedophile. Most troubling. But then, good shows and other forms of entertainment often are.
The father, Max is well played by John Corbett (I think from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Tara is played by Toni Collette. She is a most believable in her performance of the "alters" and I suspect will lead this cast to a memorable season. I know Ally and I will be watching. Although I may need to close my eyes the next time this nineteen year old hottie peels off her jeans.


JFBreak said...

I'm not sure I can watch that one. I get all queasy in that same Oh, God! I'm a pervert! way just recalling the times I watched the Britney Spears video where she wears that school girl outfit.

It isn't that there aren't real 15 year old girls who are promiscuous; just come to San Antonio with all the teenage pregnancies and you can see there are. But to have it portrayed toward an adult audience kinda blurs the lines of, well, where the line is.

And the fact that a 19 year old actress can so easily pass for a 15 year old is proof that many 15 year olds can pass for 19.

relevent married guy said...

Hey you get it! I am so glad that you did. I didn't want to come across as some book burning sort of guy or some pervert either. I watched part of the show again last night. And I will probably watch the rest. But like I said, I may have to look away.

Anonymous said...

I think the purpose of this television program is to demonstrate how our culture promotes this type of behaivour by young teens and the "unstable & broken family." We brush it off by saying that it's part of being an American teenager to be promiscuous and reality is that many teenage females these days appear much older with the aid of cosmetics etc. I don't think you are the perv because you acknowledged the issue.

Sexy at Forty said...

This is a GREAT show! My daughter and I love it!