Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The United States of Tara: Toni Collette's New Playground to Score

I like Toni Collette. Even though star power isn't why I watch certain films and programming, Toni Collette is one of the very few performers I will watch in everything.
The saying in Hollywood is that respectable actors don't do TV. One, apparently, does not go from the movies to TV. To me that thinking sounds too 20-th century. Many actors have made a smart move to TV, per me. Think Harvey Keitel, Glenn Close, Timothy Hutton.... I think these performers, well, their agents at least, understand the market and the psychology of the modern, busy person.

Many of us don't have the extra time to go to the movies. I find myself agreeing to watching very few theater movies and the real reason is time. I don't want to sacrifice time that way. Plus, the internet, OnDemand features on cable and access to only a handful number of relevant cable channels, allow me to pick and choose what I, well, choose to view that won't be too time-consuming. I can get informed politically, artistically, and pop culturally while working on my own projects. Isn't it all about maximizing one's time?
I think so.

So, in modernity, a good artist is not only one who gets the true nature of his/her craft but also one who knows how to work the market so that people can be aware of them and see them as relevant. Think, the Rolling Stones and how they reinvented themselves by virtue of a basic understanding of markets. They're relevant for a very important reason: visibility.

So, Toni Collette is now on TV.
Not the annoying, commercial-laden kind, though. The kind that I do not watch.
Collette's new show, The Unites States of Tara is on Showtime. The show is exec produced by Steven Spielberg and its premise is serious, yet entertaining. I can see why someone with Collette's abilities would want to do a challenging show like this.

First, the show is about Dissociative Identity Disorder which means the performer, Toni Collette, would be portraying FOUR different charters. First, she plays a housewife in middle America. She has two teenage children and a loving husband played by John Corbett. Her 'alters' are T., an out-of-control teenager, Alice, a prudish housewife a-la-50's, and Buck, a macho, heavy smoker of a male. Her portrayal of Buck is what sold me on the show. I think Toni and I think there is an actor who can play it all.

The only reason for me to watch the 27-minute episodes is to see Toni Collette's unique abilities to portray vastly different characters so convincingly well. To me, the viewing experience is one of education. Being aware of someone's talent, I think, feeds well our own talents. Uniquely talented people ooze a sense of possibility that is contagious. And Collette is one of these people.

Here is the first episode of the show which currently airs on Showtime every Sunday night.

I give this show a well-deserved thumbs up.

Showtime is making the first episode available online commercial-free.

subscribe Subscribe to HetPer

subscribe Subscribe to Gendering the Media Podcast


Sra said...

I remember reading about this series awhile ago. Some people with DID were concerned that this show was going to mock their condition. I'll have to check it out sometime.

I think the old real-actors-don't-do-TV rule originated back before TV had anything good on. Sometime in the 90's I think shows started to get more interesting, and now there are genuinely good things on TV. And I agree with you on the time. Movies these days are getting longer and longer, and I find myself getting antsy after an hour and a half. TV comes in nice digestible chunks of time.

Anonymous said...

NPR had a piece on this. And I like T. Collette too. She was brill. in About a Boy!

Anonymous said...

Watching it. Looks good.

Anonymous said...

I might just get Showtime now.... :) Or, actually wait till it comes out on DVD which is what will prob. happen.

Anonymous said...

This looks good. She's a good actress, no doubt! What do you think of Big Love, btw? Studied it?

Unknown said...

I don't have Showtime but I'll def. check this out when it becomes available. The buzz is good. And you're approving too. ;)

Anonymous said...

I also tend to rent cool shows, too. I'm making a mental note of this.

B.R. said...

I am going a review of Big Love's new season. It started a few days ago and I'm not too keen on the new season, I have to say. The review is coming up this weekend. Stay tuned :).

Anonymous said...