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United States of Tara
United States of Tara title.png
A promotional image for the series, with Toni Collette as (left to right) Buck, Alice, Tara and T.
Genre Comedy-drama[1]
Created by Diablo Cody
Starring Toni Collette
John Corbett
Brie Larson
Keir Gilchrist
Rosemarie DeWitt
Patton Oswalt
Theme music composer Tim DeLaughter
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1 aired
(season 2 in production)[2]
No. of episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Steven Spielberg
Diablo Cody
Alexa Junge (season 1)
Jill Soloway (season 2-)
Darryl Frank
Justin Falvey
Eduardo Peixoto
Producer(s) Dan Kaplow
Location(s) Overland Park, Kansas (setting)
Los Angeles, California (actual filming location)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time approx. 30 min.
Original channel Showtime
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Original run January 18, 2009 – present
External links
Official website

United States of Tara is a television series created by Diablo Cody. Broadcast in the United States on the premium channel Showtime, the series follows the life of a suburban housewife with dissociative identity disorder. The series' first season aired in 2009; the second season will premiere on March 22, 2010.

Toni Collette won the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award and 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role, while the opening title sequence also won an Emmy.



Tara Gregson is a wife and mother of two children. Tara has dissociative identity disorder (DID). Whenever she is stressed, she transforms into one of her alternate personalities: wild and flirty teenager T; old-fashioned housewife Alice; and male, loud, beer-drinking Vietnam vet Buck. A fifth personality, infantile Gimme, is introduced later in the first season. Tara is supported by her husband Max, her somewhat troubled teenage daughter Kate and quirky, good-hearted gay son Marshall. Her sister, Charmaine, is not so supportive, often expressing her doubt about the validity of Tara's disorder. The show is set in Overland Park, Kansas.



  • Toni Collette as Tara Gregson, is a wife/mother who works as a mural painter. She loves her family and often feels guilty for the bizarre events she puts them through. Tara is only somewhat co-conscious with the alter-egos in her system: she has no recollection of anything they do when they are out, but they know all about what she does. Though Tara's personalities re-emerge because she goes off her medication, Cody has stated that Tara isn't being irresponsible by not taking the medication, but rather "wants a chance to try living with her condition, instead of smothering it with drugs" because it is "clear ... that she is not receiving proper treatment for her dissociative identity disorder".[3] Collette has said that she is "excited" and "absolutely in love" with the project.[4]
  • John Corbett as Max Gregson, Tara's husband. He is calm and level-headed when it comes to Tara's disorder; The New Yorker called him "a member of that strange breed of TV husband that exhibits infinite patience".[5] After being married to Tara for 17 years, "it's no longer a shock to [Max] when he comes home and finds Buck in the kitchen drinking a beer".[3] Max searches for Tripp Johanson, the man he believes victimized Tara in boarding school. Initially Tara opposes this but in episode 11 decides she too wants to find Tripp. Max runs a landscape business called Four Winds Landscaping in Overland Park.
  • Brie Larson as Kate Gregson, Tara's troubled 15-year-old daughter. Kate works in a local outlet of a chain family restaurant. She briefly enters into a casual relationship with her manager, Gene, but grows uncomfortable with his advances and initiates a sexual harassment complaint against him.
  • Keir Gilchrist as Marshall Gregson, (or as Kate calls him, "Moosh") Tara and Max's sensitive, old-fashioned and good-natured 14-year-old son who loves classic films and wants to be a director. Marshall is gay and has a crush on a boy in his film class, though writer Diablo Cody has said that Marshall's sexuality is "just matter-of-fact" and "definitely wasn't intended as any sort of plot point."[1] Though the family is supportive of Marshall, Buck is slightly homophobic and often makes disparaging remarks; Cody thought "it would be really fun" to have the dichotomy of Tara being "incredibly supportive" while Buck is "kind of a homophobe", though "he actually does love Marshall."[1] Gilchrist was praised for his portrayal,[6] and another saying that he was "the real breakout star ... [his] expressive, trusting face will definitely break your heart in some scenes".[7]
  • Rosemarie DeWitt as Charmaine Craine, Tara's younger sister. She resents Tara for always being the center of attention and accuses her of only acting out her personalities. Cody wrote Charmaine as an antagonist because she wanted "a voice for the skeptics".[1] She worked for a mail-order vitamin company before an incident involving one of Tara's alters caused her to lose her job. Her first husband pressured her into getting breast augmentation surgery, which resulted in deformed, lopsided breasts. She undergoes corrective surgery, and starts to bond with Buck, who takes care of her while she recovers.
  • Pamela Reed as Beverly and Fred Ward as Frank: Tara and Charmaine's parents, who visit in episode 6 and suggest that Marshall and Kate move in with them because of Tara's condition. Tara and Max reject their idea, subsequently asking them to leave.


  • Patton Oswalt as Neil, Max's co-worker at Four Winds Lanscaping dot net and friend who once had a fling with Charmaine.
  • Nathan Corddry as Gene Stuart, Kate's boss at the restaurant who is in his early 20's, and whom Kate starts a casual relationship with. He becomes increasingly obsessed with her and wants more out of their relationship, despite her not feeling the same way. In episode 10, Kate files a sexual harassment claim against him, since he abuses his power with Kate and often makes inappropriate remarks and gets too touchy-feely with the other teenage girls at the restaurant. In the season finale, he was fired, but continued his unwanted advances towards Kate. In the Season 1 finale he breaks into the Greggson household, after being fired from Barnabeez. He waits for Kate on the couch, and when she arrives he expresses his obsessive love for her. Fearing for her safety, Kate steals her mother's car, running into several small objects as she flees.
  • Hayley McFarland as Petula, Marshall's best friend, who dresses very conservatively but isn't afraid to speak her mind.
  • Andrew Lawrence as Jason, Marshall's potential love interest and friend. Jason is the son of a local pastor. He is confused about his sexuality. In episode 9, when Marshall kisses him, Jason kisses him back. T lures Jason into the shed in episode 10, where she asks him if he likes boys and if he likes girls. Jason's response is the same to both, "maybe". Marshall discovers the pair kissing, prompting him to burn down the shed. In episode 11, Jason "breaks up" with Marshall because he thinks Marshall will never forgive him for making out with T. Kate later tries to make Marshall feel better by saying Jason is a "bi-curious church monkey" and claims that a relationship between Marshall and Jason will never work because Jason is only experimenting and will end up marrying a woman as an adult. Petula texts Marshall in episode 12 to say she saw Jason at Starbucks on a date with a female classmate.
  • Jessica St. Clair as Tiffany, a woman who worked with Charmaine and who hired Tara to paint a mural. The mural is later defaced by one of the alters (Gimme), possibly because it felt that she was being disrespectful toward Tara and her DID by asking Tara to "show" her one of the alters. Tiffany later takes out a restraining order against Tara and gets Charmaine fired from her job.
  • James McCauley as Tripp Johansson In the middle of the season, Charmaine told Max (and Tiffany) that he was the man whose rape of Tara in boarding school caused her DID. He finally appears in the season 1 finale in a confrontation with Tara and Max at the DID clinic, revealing that the rape was not the origin of the disorder.
  • Michael Hitchcock as Ted Mayo and Sammy Sheik as Hany are the gay neighbors who befriend Tara and the family at the beginning of season 2.


  • Valerie Mahaffey as Dr. Ocean, Tara's therapist. In episode 10, Dr. Ocean suggested that Tara should instead see a therapist that specializes in DID.
  • Joel Gretsch as Dr. Holden, the therapist at the DID clinic.

The Alters

Toni Collette plays Tara's four known alters, which she transforms into when she becomes too stressed or has strong emotions and can't handle the intense situations which arise.

  • T is a girl who is the same age as Kate. She smokes pot and is wild and flirty. She is provocative in her mannerisms and style of dress. She relates well with Kate, providing her with the morning-after pill and frequently attempting to take her on shopping sprees with Tara's credit cards. She often tries to seduce Max. He refuses her since he and Tara have an agreement that it would be messy to have sex with any of the alters (although under their previous agreement, Max and T did have sex). Her actions often disrupt Tara's life.
  • Alice is a "June Cleaver-esque"[3] housewife. Alice often bakes for the family and labels herself as old-fashioned. She claims to have attended the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her strongest bond is with Marshall. Alice has an extremely domineering personality; she believes herself to be the true personality rather than Tara and wants 24/7 control of her body, and stated that she is the "keeper" for all of Tara's other alter-egos. Alice is a very strong Christian and she prays every night for herself and all of Tara's other alter egos including Gimme (though she has hesitated to say its name). Alice will often try to have sex with Max because she wants to have her own baby (she views Kate and Marshall as only Tara's children, not her own). In episode 12, when confronted by Dr. Holden, Alice says that Tara is weak, and that she needs her (Alice).
  • Buck is the only male personality we have seen. He is a loud and profane troublemaker, characterized by Collette as "the aggressive protector type, a man's man".[3] He explains his lack of a penis by claiming that it was blown off in the Vietnam War.[5] Buck has a gun named Persephone and sometimes goes to the shooting range with Max and Marshall. Collette said that Buck is her favorite of the original four personalities "just because he's most challenging", though she has to "always be careful not to make him a stereotype."[3] Unlike Tara and other alters, Buck is left-handed. He is a heavy drinker and smoker. He wears large glasses and a trucker hat. Buck is loudly attracted to women, hitting on Kate's friends and claiming to have had sex with a waitress at the local bowling alley, who gave him crabs.
  • Gimme first appeared at the end of episode six although in episode three, Alice finds "GIMME" scrawled on the wall of the bathroom in crayon, which she quickly erases before transitioning back to Tara. Max refers to Gimme as "some kind of... poncho-goblin" and an expression of pure id. Initially, this alter-ego has no discernible human personality, adopting an animal-like behavioral pattern (e.g., urinating on people). In episode eight, Alice reveals that she has known about Gimme for a long time. Thus far, the only time Gimme has appeared during daylight is in episode 10. Tara mentions before receiving a massage at a spa that being touched (except by Max) makes her uncomfortable, and during the massage she transitions to Gimme.
  • Shoshana is a new alter added in the second season, first appearing in the fourth episode. She is a hippie who also happens to be a therapist that is able to directly communicate with Tara and her other alters. She will be a resource, hoping to bring balance to the system.


Broadcasting information and initial reception

The series premiered on the US network Showtime at 10 p.m. on January 18, premiering before the second season of ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The season aired 12 episodes. In Canada, it debuted on The Movie Network on January 19, 2009, at 9 p.m.

In late December 2008, Showtime offered free viewing on its website for the pilot of United States of Tara. Reaction to the pilot was positive; Variety magazine was the first to review it and gave it a very positive review. After averaging over a dozen reviews of the series, Metacritic concluded that Tara has received "generally favorable reviews."[8]

Customers of cable and satellite services that offer On Demand who subscribe to Showtime get the episode one week early via On Demand.


  • 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
  • 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design.
  • 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy


International syndication

Country Broadcasters Notes
 US Showtime Premiered January 18, 2009
 Canada The Movie Network Premiered January 19, 2009
 South Africa M-Net Premiered April 10, 2009
 Spain Paramount Comedy Premiered April 27, 2009
 Australia ABC1 Premiered July 29, 2009
Republic of Ireland Ireland RTÉ Two Premiered September 3, 2009
Portugal Portugal Fox Life Premiered September 6, 2009
Argentina Argentina Fox Premiered September 22, 2009
Colombia Colombia Fox Premiered September 22, 2009
Sweden Sweden Kanal 9 Premiered September 24, 2009
Iceland Iceland SkjárEinn Premiered October 23, 2009
New Zealand New Zealand TV3 Premiered December 1, 2009
Italy Italy Mya Premiered December 2, 2009
 Brazil Fox Premiered February 8, 2010
Poland Poland TVN, TVN HD Premiered February 11, 2010
Netherlands The Netherlands RTL5 Premiered April, 2010
Czech Republic Czech Republic HBO
Hungary Hungary HBO
Romania Romania HBO
Slovakia Slovakia HBO
Venezuela Venezuela Fox
Mexico Mexico Fox
Guatemala Guatemala Fox
Turkey Turkey Fox Life
Slovenia Slovenia Kanal A Premiered March 23, 2010

DVD releases

Season 1 was released on DVD in region 1 on December 29, 2009.[9] The box set contains one episode of the Showtime series The Tudors. The Best Buy version comes with a bonus disc with 2 episodes of Nurse Jackie.

Episodes 1 and 2 were also available as bonus features on DVD Disc 4 (of 4) of Dexter, Season 3.


On February 10, 2009, after only four episodes were aired, Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt announced that United States of Tara has been renewed for a second season, which will consist of twelve episodes and air in early 2010. He said the early renewal decision came after the show averaged 2.67 million viewers per week, giving the network its highest ratings since 2004, when Nielsen Media Research began counting original shows on premium channels in its primetime ratings.[2] Season two will premiere on March 22, 2010.[10]


External links

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