02 July 2011
As the heartfelt and offbeat Showtimes series United States of Tara closed out its final season, the fate of its central figure was in the hands on an unknown Boston doctor recommended by the wonderful and too-soon-gone Dr. Hattarras. Tara’s final independent struggle for sanity before moving to Boston for help put her family through some of their darkest times yet (in the most terrifying of ways). Sympathetic son Marshall left his mother, unable and unwilling to suffer at her hands while coping with the loss of his best friend/boyfriend/only real friend (most palpably in the truly wrenching funeral episode). Quick witted daughter Kate, the most-improved character of the series, finally grew up in her final season, getting to a place where she could take care of Marshall and face the future as the most level-headed family member. Tara’s sister Charmaine, pathetic by normal standards and superheroic for her sanity in the face of their childhood, set about the task of raising her daughter better than she was raised, the loving schlub Neil right at her side- making her breakfast, kissing her goodnight and naming their daughter “Wheels”. And, finally, dutiful husband Max (my beloved John Corbett, who will be greatly missed now that this show’s over) broke down, spoke his piece, and stuck around anyway- because he’s that guy. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful, if oft-criticized show. Kate’s final plea that the doctor not get rid of her mother’s “good parts” set the tone for exactly how I’ll remember this show: for all it’s good parts.