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State of Mind

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Jaimie Trueblood

Lifetime’s two new Sunday dramas — Side Order of Life and State of Mind — both feature complicated women searching for love (Ally) while balancing careers (McBeal) and suffering intermittent bouts of psychosis (no danc- ing babies, please!). State of Mind, the better of the two, stars Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under) as Dr. Ann Bellowes, a psychiatrist who shares office space in a Victorian house with peculiar fellow therapists. The drama kicks off with an egregious dream sequence involving a teddy bear, a tea kettle, and a fridge full of green slime, but it improves from there — and, boy, does it cover a lot of ground. Before the end of the first episode, Dr. Bellowes has caught her husband cheating, hit him with a car, and come to an earnest realization that he may not be the love of her life. She also manages to fit in a few off-kilter daydreams, like pretending to murder an annoying woman and envisioning her husband feeling up a patient. (We haven’t even touched on the troubled Russian adoptee or the squirrel puppet who quotes Henry James.) State of Mind is filled with grand, unearned speeches. But they are so nicely written — about the camaraderie of a good marriage or the bitterness of a bad one — it’s difficult to begrudge them. And cheers to Taylor, a fine actress who has had a fine career playing misfits, for trying out a new kind of role as a bright, confident (occasionally hallucinating) woman. B-

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