Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and created by screenwriter Diablo Cody, Showtime's United States of Tara stars Toni Collette as a wife and mother with multiple personalities. The show's recurring joke is summed up in a line of dialogue delivered by Tara's son: "Mom's here, but I don't know if Mom's here."
When mom's not there, she's replaced by one of her "alters" - a foul-mouthed teen, a Vietnam vet and a 1950s housewife. (The role-switching may remind viewers of Showtime's similarly titled Tracey Ullman's State of the Union.)
Yet, despite the unconventional character at its center, Tara is surprisingly conventional. The domestic situations faced by Tara and husband Max (John Corbett) - raising adolescent kids, fighting marital malaise, contending with her insecure sister - are straight out of the traditional sitcom playbook. Think Roseanne meets Sybil.
The series makes its linear debut on Showtime on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 10 p.m.