‘United States Of Tara’ Recap: Bryce Will Play

S03E09: Well, this is grim. After yesterday’s less than stellar news about the fate of United States of Tara, each new episode comes with the rather bittersweet reminder in the back of our minds that this is the end. Each new episode brings us one step closer to the finale that, rather than being a cliffhanger that we’re expecting, is the actual no-more-after-this series finale. It sucks doesn’t it? Especially considering the whole season has been completed for months with the hope that they would be coming back. So, it’s definitely not going to end on a conclusive final moment. Fantastic.

Oh well though. No use crying over spilled mimosas. We have three really great seasons of Tara, which is more than a lot of other great shows had, so let’s count our blessings while we can. Everyone involved with the show is extremely talented and will work again; we’ll see them soon. Besides, we still have three episodes left and if this episode is any indication, things are about to get weird. How excellent is that? Not as excellent as a fourth season but DAMMIT I’M TRYING TO REMAIN POSITIVE.

“Same film, over and over again. Minimal plotting, funereal pacing. Hardly American stuff.” – Hataras

I’ll gloss over Kate and Char’s story if only because the rest of the family had so much more an interesting time this week. Char discovered that you can drink and take care of a baby at the park. Good for her. Kate realized that dating a father is kind of hellish when the kid is the spawn of Satan. Good for her. Not saying they weren’t important but Marshall and Max’s story was so much more interesting!

So, Marshall and Max finally get to New York for the film festival and Max finally sees Marshall’s film. It turns out, the film is mostly about him and Max finally sees what Marshall thinks of him. Finally. Now I’d like to imagine the whole film and Max’s reaction to it is a meta-metaphor for Max’s portrayal on the show. Marshall tried to boil down the extremely complex psyche of his father into a short film. Considering how weird this family is, you can’t do that and Max takes offense to it. What he said about how there were so many unspoken moments that weren’t captured that fleshed out his reasons really spoke to the character of the show. For those who might have criticized/questioned Max in the past (like Marshall did earlier this season), we’re watching a TV. We get to see the most interesting 30 minutes of these character’s lives but in their world they have full weeks to live their lives. If these characters are real (which the best television creates real characters that exist even when we’re not watching) they have lives beyond what we see. And those are the moments that keep Max around. Whether you agree with that sentiment is up to you. I think the show is well-written enough that I can believe Max sticking with Tara and that there’s more to them than we’re shown. Marshall and Max’s stories have been suffering lately, but I really think that scene on the sidewalk made up for it. This is a female-centric show, but there is a strong male presence as well that finally got to voice its frustrations. It worked quite well for me.

So that’s that. Three more episodes to go and then bye-bye Tara. I feel a little bit like a dead man walking. I can see the end and no that it couldn’t possibly answer or fulfill all my questions. But oh well, it’s just a TV show. A damn good one though and we’re sorry to see it go.