Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Pilot Pt. 3

"Why can't she just stop?"
That line, uttered by Charmaine, was enough to nearly send me over the edge. I already knew the character was going to be my least favorite but... seriously?

I guess it makes sense to include someone who makes such asinine statements. Anyone who has battled an addiction or unhealthy behavior pattern has probably heard that question. The same could be said of anyone dealing with mental illness of any kind. I've even heard "Snap out of it." in regards to depression. It wouldn't be remotely believable as a story without someone questioning the validity of the protagonist's struggle.
Didn't stop me wanting to reach into the tv and throttle Charmaine.

One of the biggest battles multiples face outside their own mind is dealing with the overwhelming degree of ignorance there is related to DID. Even now, jokes that confuse Schizophrenia and DID simply piss me off. I still fight the urge to get in the offender's face and set them straight. I guess ranting about that topic is what subtweets are for...

After Charmaine's conversation with Max, the show jumps to later in the evening with T trying to seduce Max. I can't intelligently address that particular hazard (in relationship with a multiple) because I was blessed to avoid it. The Crew was, for all intents and purposes, asexual. There were a few times when others came onto Charlie but most of the time it was about shocking him or pushing him away.

There was one... A teen who was never named, who assumed sexual favors in exchange for kindness was the expectation. To Charlie's credit, he was never tempted. Some how he managed to put all the Crew but me into the emotional category of being foster children. He only ever wanted me, Marisa, no matter how seductive the behavior of another.

All that said, the scene between T and Max came off as plausible and well handled... especially the direct jealousy expressed with regard to the amount of "airtime" others were allowed. We not only went through that often over the years but as a former deejay, airtime was a commonly used term for us too.

I love the idea of a shed or other such place for an alter to go cool off. Despite my issues with seclusion rooms, it would have been nice to have a place to send an unruly alter. It's the equivalent of sending her to her room. The closest thing to that for the Crew was going behind the back fence at our old house.

Kate reminds me so much of Krys in her anger, sarcasm and defiance... Also in her seeming preference for asshole guys. (Mikey, Krys' ex, will come up later) I hope when my kids talked about my others (which they weren't supposed to do but did anyway) their friends were more supportive than Kate's douche bag.

Max's "Welcome back" when Tara joins him in the shower is so familiar. It still amazes me how much truth and reality was put into this show. For those living with DID in their lives, it could be hard to separate the entertainment factor from the reality factor... as I frequently saw on message boards and forums dedicated to USoT. Multiples and loved ones would enter debate about realism while those who had no direct experience would shout that it was just a tv show and who cares about reality!

I can't think of any other program where reality and entertainment were so artfully intertwined.


"I want to thank you for being such a strong, supportive kid."
"We're lucky, Mom. Because of you, we get to be interesting."
I had countless such conversations with all of my kids over the years. The most memorable with Krys when she compared our intact and loving family with all the broken, addicted or violent families of her friends. Like earlier in the episode when Kate points out the implants her boyfriend's mom has. Every family has its shit and my kids were quick to point out their preference of our particular brand of insanity over that of other families.

I'll try not to spoil that assurance by mentioning either Marshall's possible undercurrent of sarcasm or my own fear my kids were suffering a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

"Am I high?"
For all the seriousness of DID, there is a reason this show was billed a comedy. At this point, in part because writing about out is helped by playing it at the same time, I've heard this line more than a dozen times and it still makes me giggle. In my situation it was more often realizing I was drunk put hung over... but I can relate all too well... and let's face it... it's better to laugh about it than to cry.

Speaking of waking up...

Yes, I'm skipping Tara and Max's moment from the night before. It will come up in future entries... No pun intended. Also, do you really want to read my every single thought about 36 episodes? It could go on forever. I'll spare you for now.

The quiet exasperation on Tara's face as she wakes to see her freshly painted black toe nails is brilliantly done. The wide range of emotions displayed in that wordless few seconds is brilliant.

When Tara is delivering the costume for Kate's recital and sees the boyfriend treating her roughly, her reaction, to me seems like that of any mother in the face of a jerk treating her daughter in a rough manner. Between the anger Tara must feel and the reaction of an embarrassed Kate, it's no wonder Buck appeared.

He didn't jump right in and take over... first he got away from the situation and made an effort to  decompress by planning to go to the gun range. In typical Protector form, it never occurred to Buck to tell Max what happened at the school, nor why it was Tara wouldn't be around for the recital. Protectors don't ask for help... they can take care of things on their own, thank you very much.

Despite the apparent selfishness Buck displays here and his asshole demeanor, he was really only looking to let off some steam for Tara's sake.

Having said that... I HATE the way Buck talks to the kids. Much was said about my kids to others, usually Charlie and people in the treatment team, but my others didn't make the kids of disparaging comments Buck makes to Marshall. I have no idea how typical this is in a family with a multiple... but I'd have gone batshit if I found out Stephanie treated any of my kids the way Buck does Marshall here.

If I try to be objective, I can acknowledge Buck's attitude as being an expression of what makes him him. The badass, vietnam vet (Stephanie had her own history too) who believes in me being men, blah, blah. Still, it annoyed me.

I do love the idea of the gun range being "guy stuff". In different ways, we had things like that for the Crew. Midnight runs to Wal-mart with Krys were a time for Reese and Stephanie to hang out with someone their age. Saturday mornings were Cartoon time with Daddy (Charlie) for the littles, etc... It's good to have that for a system. It gives the personalities a sense of belonging that can be valuable in learning to cooperate.

"I did watch him. I watched him leave."
All I'll say here is Bravo to Marshall. While it happened often enough for us, I always hated the idea of having the kids basically "babysit" my alters. It's an unfair responsibility to put on kids. The need parents, not to be parents.

There's plenty of time later to go into stories about when Stephanie stood up for my kids, so will just say I adore Buck for taking on the boyfriend. It is why he had no intention of stepping back and allowing someone else to go to the recital. He was going to take care of things. Marshall sticking up for his sister reminds me very much of my kids.

The Crew all had an unspoken pact to, as far as was possible, not give themselves away in public. They only identified themselves to people the knew (or believed) the could trust. So a very public situation like the one with Buck never happened for us. According to the girls, they were never publicly embarrassed by the Crew. Seeing Buck at the recital makes me VERY thankful for this.

Later, at the bowling alley, you get a glimpse of Buck's ability to be responsible. He doesn't allow Kate a beer. He tries to give her advice, in his backwoods goofy way. He also makes an effort to bond with Marshall, in his unique, Buck way.

The beautiful irony of the last scene shouldn't be expanded upon. I'll just leave it as it is...

"It's weird how Buck's a lefty and none of the others are."
"Yeah, that's one weird thing."