“United States of Tara” Recap 312: Goodbye, Kansas. Hello, Funny Farm!

The episode opens inside Tara’s head, with Bryce strapped to a gurney with a hood over his head. As he sings “The Logical Song” by Supertramp, Tara turns a wheel and ducks his head into a tub of filthy water. Waterboarding vs. Supertramp? I can’t decide who’s getting tortured worse.

Oh wait, yes I can, it’s me. I hate that song, although knowing that it includes the “tackled” sound effect from an early handheld electronic football game once won me 25 bucks in a radio trivia contest.

Tara screams that she has a life to lead and Bryce mocks her about how badly her life is going. In a line clearly meant to foreshadow the Season Four we’ll never get, Bryce says that Tara has “no idea how much crazy is bouncing around that lopsided skull of yours.” Following a remark about Tara’s nether regions far too vile for me to repeat here, Tara drowns Bryce.

Thank God, no more listening to Toni Collette‘s bizarre voice characterization. Her Bryce reminds me of Dan Aykroyd‘s Doctor Detroit. It’s meant to sound all sinister and foreboding and it comes off sounding ludicrous instead.

With Bryce dead, Max busts through a door in Tara’s head and we smear wipe out to the real world, where Max and Tara are sitting on the bridge from which Tara jumped last episode, trying to sell a state trooper on the ridiculous cover story that they were just going for a swim. As the skeptical trooper checks them out on his cruiser’s computer, Tara begs Max to keep it together so she won’t get sent to a state mental facility.

She not only doesn’t want to wind up in the state snake pit, now she doesn’t want to go to the institution where she and Max were headed. Instead she wants to go to Boston to see the specialist that Dr. Hatter(r)as recommended.

Back at Casa Gregson Tara tries to convince her doubting family that the Boston option, three months in-patient with outpatient follow-up care, is the best choice. And at this point I want to know who the insurance provider for Ogrelawn is because I want to sign up. I used to work in health insurance and I’ve never once seen a policy that would cover three months in-patient.

Marshall asks Max if the Boston option is what he wants. Max begins yelling, with many droppings of F-bombs and flippings of birds, that what he wants is to get the Hell Out.

Sadly, Max’s most honest scene to date is all in his head, as what he really says is that yes it is. Among the details that need sorting before Max and Tara leave is what to do about Marshall. They nix the idea of his staying at home alone, which is ridiculous since Moosh is the only one in that family I’d trust on his own for three months, They also emphatically shoot down the idea that he move in with Grandma Sandi. Like he did one episode ago when they had no problem with it. Because this show is all about consistency.

Tara wants the whole family to prepare and eat one last family dinner together before she leaves, which would also give her the chance to meet Evan (although the family is united in opposition to bringing along Hellboy, AKA Monty). She asks Marshall to be her “chef de cuisine” to which a clearly over-it Marshall replies “That’s an excellent idea, seeing that less than 24 hours ago you punched me in the face.”

Tara starts to apologize but Moosh cuts her off with maximum snark, agreeing to be at the dinner and then walking off.

Down in the basement later, Neal brings over a bottle and he and Max wonder why they never opened that combination strip club/pancake house they once dreamed of before Neal offers to take Marshall with him and Charmaine to Houston while Tara and Max are away. I went to school in Texas for a couple of years. Now admittedly it was in Fort Worth and a not particularly nice part of Fort Worth, but as far as I’m concerned sending a gay teenager to live in Texas constitutes child abuse.

However, Max doesn’t see it that way and is touched by the offer.

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