United States of Tara: And About Time, Too

By
Photo: Courtesy of Showtime
Episode Title
Betrayal
Season
1
Episode
10

You know all that hooey we’ve been spewing about how United States of Tara has been taking too long to give us too little? The show has made up for lost time by presenting a major turning point in every story line — including some major testicle-growing on the part of a certain doormat husband — and even mustered some full-fledged LOLing from us. We should’ve known things were going to get good when Tara’s bratty sister summed up Tara’s mode of interpersonal connection: “It’s not a relationship, it’s an orgy.”

The Unaltered Tara
After Tara gets dumped by her Glinda the Good Witch therapist, her sister drags her to a spa for some massage therapy. Though Tara’s presumed date rape has made her averse to the touch of a stranger’s hand, Charmaine is set on getting all limbered up for her sex date with an environmental lawyer.

And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the kindly old-lady masseuse lays her hands on Tara’s tense, rippling back muscles, Tara freaks the fuck out and enters the animalistic altered state of Gimme. The goblin personality runs hog wild through the spa, tearing down curtains and scaring the bejeezus out of everyone in the place — then immediately transitions into the cool-cucumber teenage alter, T.

Another Altered State
Marshall, his gay romance now in full bloom, gets all decked out for the first day back at school since his big kiss with his Christian lover, Jason. Though Jason blows … off Marshall at school, the two go on a bike-riding date, at which point Marshall nearly gets Jason to commit to being his “BF.”

After Marshall is called into a family meeting, T lures Jason into her lair — a backyard shed to which she is often banished when she gets too mouthy. Soon enough, T puts the moves on the sexually confused bible thumper. He relents; Marshall walks in on them. It’s not pretty.

Things also get ugly with Kate when she finds a picture of herself stashed in the desk drawer of her onetime makeout partner and current creepy boss. A co-worker encourages Kate to sue for sexual discrimination because, hilariously, her winnings could get her both a “white Lexus and Invisaligns” — or so she hears from her sister’s best friend’s cousin.

Pause for Pop-Culture-Reference Comment
We’ve whined about U.S. of T.’s barrage of incongruous pop-culture references before. This episode, Marshall and his fag-hag friend share the most unlikely exchange between two TV teenagers, which, over the course of about three minutes, includes mentions of From Here to Eternity, Montgomery Clift, and A Place in the Sun. We don’t care how cool you were in high school, you that weren’t conversant in Old Hollywood.

Back at the Tara Plantation
The episode closes with the show’s most climactic moment yet: Totally ticked-off Marshall goes firebug on T’s backyard shed, and the show closes with him smugly reclining on a lawn chair as his family frantically douses the flames with garden hoses. It’s beautifully effective, and, for the first time, we’re truly, madly, deeply eager to see what’s next.