I first became a fan of Diablo Cody when I met her at the Austin Film Festival two years ago. She's sort of the wacky, wild free spirit you'd expect her to be.
Now that she's hit it big, winning an Oscar on her very first script with "Juno." Because of her meteoric rise, there are a few haters out there waiting for Cody's bubble to burst.
Well, I for one am delight to say that Cody is at the top her of game with the delightfully quirky "United States of Tara," which debuted on Showtime Sunday night. In it, Toni Collette plays the matriarch of a typical family, with one slight problem (or rather, three): Tara has three other personalities, each of which manifests itself when Tara becomes overly stressed. Thanks to Tara's oversexed teen daughter, the other personalities start showing up regularly.
We meet two of them in the first episode: T, a slutty 15-year-old, and Buck, a male redneck good ole boy. (Alice, an uptight, 1950s style homemaker, turns up for the time next week.)
Tara and her husband also have a teen son, who is more comfortable baking and listening to jazz -- things that don't sit too well with Buck.
The real star of this is Collette, who is terrific in giving each character a distinctive personality. She's a lot of fun to watch.
Equally fun is the way her family plays off all the personalities, as if it were normal. For them, it is.
"Tara" has a lot of potential and looks to be a great addition to Showtime's already impressive roster of shows.
MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Hope you guys are enjoying your holiday. One man who never takes a day off -- Jack Bauer, who is back tonight in a brand-new "24" (Fox, 9 p.m.), which follows the return of a new "House."
CBS counters with its high-rated comedy lineup and a new "CSI" at 10 p.m.
ABC continues with "The Bachelor" at 8 p.m., followed by "True Beauty." NBC counters with "Superstars of Dance" at 8 p.m., followed by "Momma's Boys" at 10 p.m.
Finally, CW airs new episodes of "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill."