United States of Tara 2.3 – Skating on Thin Ice

“I don’t know what Buck’s been doing over there, but it can’t be good.” So says Tara to her trusty video recorder, and, boy, she ain’t kidding. Buck’s giving pedicures…? I never thought I’d see the day. But, then, he’s also making with the sex, so it’s not like there isn’t an appropriate trade-off involved. Still, this is a strange change in dynamic for that particular alter, to say the least. And, yet, Max tells her that she’s the best she’s ever been, and he’s so happy that she can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s transitioning between personalities. Of course, it’s not like he shouldn’t have figured out that something’s up. I realize he’s diving headlong into the renovation of their recently-purchased house (formerly known as Casa de Hubbard), but this is taking obliviousness to a ridiculous degree.

Marshall and Courtney: game on…? “Yeah, that makes sense,” says Tara. “On Opposite Day!” The relationship is clearly doomed. The big question, therefore, is how long until the doom begins to kick in. Surely Courtney’s hopes aren’t but so high when it comes to the duration of her pairing-off with Marshall. It seems pretty clear that she’s a horny teenager…yeah, I know, like every teenager isn’t horny…who’s going after a cute and clearly gay guy because he’s arguably the least intimidating person at the school who’s likely to give her a chance at having sex. “Dogs in a bathtub“? Shit, I’m 39 years old, and this is the first I’ve ever heard of that phrase. There’s something very weird about watching the characters trying to get each other off while backstage at a Shakespearean production – though, of course, everyone knows that’s where all the action is – but the sexuality of the moment is defused by the humor of the moment. Between Courtney’s excitement that she’s good at giving handjobs and Marshall’s uncertainty about whether he’s “getting warm” (not to mention Courtney taking a moment of thought to consider if he was close or not), it was probably my favorite scene of the episode because you could very easily imagine it taking place in the real world.

This was an educational episode all around: I also never knew that straight women go gay because of menopause. The scene between Jackie, Charmaine, and Neighbor Ted in the bathroom was pretty funny, particularly Ted’s assertion on determining one’s sexuality (“You’ve got to get up in it!”), as was watching Jackie try to turn herself into Buck without actually transitioning, although it obviously became a far more serious scene in the end, with Pammy sobbing on Tara’s shoulder about how she never gets the guy. Was I the only one who was completely blindsided by Pammy’s decision to hijack the P.A. system and declare her undying love for both Buck and Tara? Also, I haven’t been ice skating in years, but is it really possible that the music they play at the rink hasn’t changed in two and a half decades, or is this just wishful thinking on Diablo Cody’s part?

So Linda’s check bounced. What a shock. She wouldn’t have been on the collection agency’s hot list if she was the kind of person who’d just stroke a check every time someone came looking for payment. I don’t know that there’s any more to the character of Ricky the Trustifarian than a great name and a source for weed, but, seriously, the name is awesome. It’s a strange relationship developing between the two of them, a kindred-spirits sort of thing…or is it more? Either way, it was totally worth it to see Kate in the Princess Valhalla outfit.

Patton Oswalt’s back! I loved Max’s assurance that, even with Charmaine kicking him to the curb, there are still lots of lovely ladies on eHarmony.com just waiting for a shot at him. It was pretty tragic to see his face when he realized that she was engaged, but it still didn’t tarnish that incredibly funny groan he offered up to get her attention when she first walked in. The fact that Charmaine could barely be bothered to stop ogling her ring and considering an upgrade long enough to feel bad about how she’d made Neil feel…man, that just felt cruel. I say again: she’s totally going to fuck things up long before the wedding day arrives.

So Pammy’s declared her love before God, country, and the patrons of the Paul Bunyan Skating Rink, Max is so pissed off that he’s kicking the living shit out of Sully outside his kid’s birthday party (and, to be fair, it’s a well-deserved shit-kicking), and as soon as we got the shot of Tara not knowing whether to go into the “Ladies” or “Gentlemen” restroom, I knew we’d be seeing Buck within moments. I guess we’re shaping up for next week to find Buck crashing with Pammy, Max hanging loose in the old Hubbard house, and the kids fending for themselves. Good times.

Random moments of bliss:

* Kate’s suggestion for a new organization: Adult Children of Moms You’d Like To Fuck.

* Charmaine’s delivery of the line, “Her name was Gretchen, and she was very proud of her vagina.”

* The shot which established that Tara and Bartender Babe had been to Fun World together…and if you saw the episode, then you know that’s not some sort of euphemism.

* Marshall’s soon-to-be-reversed declaration that “I’m not into weed; it makes me like action movies.”


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