United States of Tara, a show about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), recently wrapped up its second season. I haven't yet seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first season—I love Toni Collette and Diablo Cody, and there are not a ton of shows about women by women. There are even less shows set in my home state of Kansas. It's a funny, well-written, and on some levels well-executed show.
But, after rewatching and researching the show's origins and authorship in a critical context, I was perturbed to realize that the show's portrayal of disability was not only sensationalistic, but inherently based on appropriatiion. In United States of Tara, DID is used as a metaphor, an analogy, a plot point—part of the human experience, yes, but also an opportunity to speculate, crack jokes, and make grand statements about Life (normal life: that is, with able privilege) and Being A Woman (an everyday woman: that is, one who is not crazy).
Maybe I over-post about Saturday Night Live, but I just can't
help myself. This season is one of the best ever! Plus, I'm thrilled
with the screen time that female cast members are getting. The newest
lady cast members, Michaela Watkins and Abby Elliott, are especially
crushable. They were presumably brought on at the end of last year to
fill the feminine gap left by Amy Poehler's departure, and they haven't
disappointed. Both have held their own in ensemble sketches and come up
with some hilarious recurring roles too.