'United States of Tara' Season 3 Review: The Future Looks Bright
'United States of Tara' Season 3 Review: The Future Looks Bright
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After two seasons of looking back on United States of Tara, trying to figure out the reason for the main character's Dissociative Identity Disorder, season 3 (premiering Monday, March 28 at 10:30pm on Showtime) is all about the future. The show moves forward as the entire family searches for a way to grow up, and the result is United States of Tara at its best.

Don't have Showtime? You can watch the full season 3 premiere right here, starting at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT on Monday, March 28:

Season 3 finds Tara taking control of her life by enrolling in college to complete her degree, which is understandably complicated given her cavalcade of alters. All six of the other Taras are back: housewife Alice, rebellious teen T, gun-loving dude Buck, therapist Shoshana, primal Gimme and scared little Chicken. College life is made more interesting by Tara's abnormal psychology professor (played by the charming Eddie Izzard), a man who doesn't believe in D.I.D. Obviously meeting Tara offers a big challenge for him.

Now that Tara knows she was molested by her step-brother Bryce as a child, the question isn't where her disorder comes from, it's how to live with it. While Tara's struggle is still the focus of the show, what makes season 3 of United States of Tara the best one yet is that all of the other characters also make great strides forward.

Max: In many ways, season 3 is actually about Max, Tara's long-suffering husband. How much is he willing to put up with as the alters constantly show up and what has he sacrificed to be with her? The premiere starts his journey by expressing very real concerns about Tara's return to college.

Kate: Last season, Tara's wild daughter was dressing up like a superhero and sitting on cakes for the enjoyment of Internet perverts. In season 3, Kate grows up and tries to find meaning in her life, a career and a way to escape her crazy family and the small-town Kansas world she lives in. Sadly, United States of Tara has a case of tragically unfortunate timing with one storyline where Kate considers going to Japan, but then sees a devastating earthquake on the news. Sometimes it's scary how life imitates art.

Marshall: Tara's gay son, the sweet little Moosh, is also growing up quickly, and actor Keir Gilchrist seems to have filled out and had his voice deepen a bit. It also helps that Marshall is now a filmmaker trying to understand his relationship with the bleach-blond Lionel. After spending a season watching Glee slowly develop Kurt and Blaine's rather two-dimensional relationship, it's refreshing that United States of Tara actually bothers to create complicated, flawed, three-dimensional gay teens whose problems aren't limited to their orientation.

Charmaine and Neil: Tara's sister starts season 3 very pregnant, so the usually selfish woman has to learn to care for others and accept that Neil, the baby's father, is now a permanent part of her life. The baby (who gets a rather hilarious name) adds much-needed structure to Charmaine's life and also gives a bigger role to the devilishly funny Patton Oswalt as Neil. Oswalt continues to prove that he is one of the rare brilliant stand-up comedians who is also a great actor.

All of these storylines help keep United States of Tara fresh as the show looks to the future and tries to find a way for the Gregsons to live a normal life under abnormal circumstances. Season 3 has plenty of twists and turns with Tara's alters, but the show seems to have finally realized that it's not all about the disorder, it's about how everyone learns to live with it.

(Image courtesy of Showtime)