In case you haven’t heard, The United States of Tara is a comedy pilot that Showtime just picked up for a full season. And no, it’s not the long-awaited sequel to Tara Reid’s Taradise, but rather a scripted series focusing on a woman who has severe dissociative identity disorder (commonly known as multiple personalities). Sound like something you’d check out? Hold on, don’t answer yet! Did I mention that this series is created by Steven Spielberg, exec-produced and written by Diablo Cody, and starring Toni Collette (pictured)?
Tara‘s premise is obviously way, way out there. Mental illness is a very tricky subject to handle well, and this particular disorder is pretty controversial in the medical community. So I’m a little nervous about a Showtime exec’s promise in that Hollywood Reporter story that the show will feature “a combination of humor and real drama.” Does that make this, like, A Beautiful Mind with sex jokes? I feel like it would be pretty awkward to fit a serious exploration of dissociative identity disorder into a sea of LOL-worthy punchlines. And much though I loved Cody’s Oscar-winning Juno script (and her regular EW column!), I’m not sure her rapid-fire, super-snarky style would necessarily be a good match for this material — or for Spielberg’s sentimental tendencies.
But enough preemptive second guessing. Everything else aside, Cody, Spielberg, and Collette are three hugely talented people. And the pay-cable nets have long since demonstrated their ability to make good, smart TV about majorly complicated themes. So I’m willing to give The United States of Tara the benefit of the doubt, at least until I see a couple episodes. How about you?