Open Memo to Showtime (and Diablo Cody)

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Dear Showtime (and Diablo Cody),

First off, I want to say that I’m a fan of the crazy town character(s), Tara in United States of Tara on Showtime.

We subscribe to Showtime. Sure, I’d rather get HBO, but it is what it is. (Sorry, just being honest.)

DC, I love your quirky writing in Juno and your bare-all  openness (pun intended) in Candy Girl.

But here’s the deal. I need you to do a leeetle bit more research on living in Overland Park, KS for United States of Tara.

I know Overland Park, KS wasn’t your first pick for Tara and her family, but all the same, what’s done is done, so I want to help you do it right.

Oh, I appreciate your effort. I really do. Sticking a 435 sign on a divided highway was a nice nod to KC’s  little beltway, but [whispers] it doesn’t really look like that at all.

Ok, ok. Filming logistics. I get it. You film it in LA so landmarks, landscaping and even houses are going to look and feel way more west coast than midwest.

But at least get the dialogue right. “I’m going down to Kansas City, Mo.” is not something a teenager from Overland Park would ever say. First off, we rarely reference state lines. We’re more county folks. So, if you were going to reference Kansas City, KS, you’d probably say Wyandotte County. And truth be told, most teens from Overland Park would say “the Dot.”

Otherwise, us Johnson County natives are more likely to reference regions of the city or streets. So geographic locaters would be more like “the West Bottoms,” “midtown,” “the Plaza,” “Troost,” “P&L District,” or just “downtown.”

And the other thing. Let’s talk about weather. Specifically tornadoes.

I wasn’t surprised to see you used our typical spring weather pattern as a plot device in the latest episode. But I want to clue you in on a few things about weather in Kansas City.

First off, tornadoes are not like hurricanes. You do not wake up to news that a “tornado is coming.” Weather tends to be unpredictable here, so we start with severe weather advisories. Katie Horner gets us pretty worked up about how the day might pan out.  Then, we move into severe thunderstorm warnings or flash flood warnings with more and more Katie Horner interuptions to tell us when to expect the worst, and that by goodness, it’s going to be the storm of the century! Then she starts tacking on tornado watches for good measure before she escalates into full on “get your helmet on and run to your basement” mode. That last part is pretty sudden. And usually it’s only small pockets of the metro, and rarely Overland Park. But that’s ok – good rookie mistake for you, DC.

So, I have a proposed solution for you. You could, of course, bring me on as an advisor to your writing team. But, maybe the budget is tight over there at Showtime, since HBO is getting ready to launch another season of True Blood and all the Twilight fans are probably switching their subscriptions.

How about you come to Kansas City and hang out with me for a few days, you know, for research?  We have a guest bedroom, and I’d even change the sheets and put up the ironing board for you. We could hang out in KC, grab a few cocktails in Westport, hit up some local boutiques for some cool digs and even take a pole dancing class together. (I’d love to learn some of your moves!)

Then maybe you could  tweet about how awesome Queen of Quirky is (and more specifically her blog.) But that wouldn’t be mandatory or anything. Just a suggestion.

So let me know what you think. I’m pretty open this summer for a visit. It gets kind of hot and steamy in Kansas City (that’s another freebie tip for your show, you know) in the summer, but we could make it work.

Hope to see you soon!

Best regards,

Queen of Quirky

Editor’s note: Oops. Thanks to my readers for pointing out that DC did not write Whip It.  In my excitement to get my  new BFF to come visit me in Kansas City, I forgot to look that one up. Mistakes happen sometimes on QoQ, although this one was not nearly as humorous as when I mispelled an aeresol  can as an arousel can.


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25 responses to “Open Memo to Showtime (and Diablo Cody)

  1. I love the characters, but the complete lack of attention to detail is driving me off a cliff.

    Even small things that would be easy to figure out by talking to one or two people in the metro. Like, newsflash, the news stations are in MO not KS. The city spans two states. Dur.

    And that entire tornado story line was jacked. Not only do we not get that kind of warning, the neighborhood generally doesn’t look that much like a war zone even after one hits.

    A little research would go a LONG way.

  2. Thanks for a wonderful Topic

  3. I love the United States of Tara and Toni Collette.

    ~Ramona Kent~
    Author of Anomar’s Journey

  4. Sam

    Just browsing through. Great piece, but Diablo Cody didn’t write Whip It. Fyi. “A little research would go a LONG way.”

  5. haha – great post. Let me know if you hear back from them, should be any day now.

  6. paperzombie

    Diablo Cody had nothin’ to do with ‘Whip It’…thats all! 🙂

  7. As my scriptwriting teacher always said the devil is in the detail. I’ve never watched the united states of Tara as we don’t get it here in Australia, or at least not that I’m aware of.

    But it’s amazing to see how people when watching a show want to have a connection, it’s a wake up call to other writer/directors to make sure to take the time to get the small things right.

    And when those small details that make life in ones town are missing that connection doesn’t resonate or at least weakens a little bit.

  8. this post = pure awesome!!!
    i can temporarily lift my missouri side bigotry and unite with someone from wyandotte county long enough to complain about people misrepresenting KC 🙂

  9. Never watched it before, hope its good.


  10. MOLLY!

    If you get a pole dancing class lined up, can I come too?

  11. MOLLY!

    Oh…and you forgot Gary Lezak and his beloved dogs, Stormy and Windy. At least I think that’s what they’re named…

    OH, and Don Harmon, Bryan Busby (of KC Symphony fame), and Joe Something…

  12. Andrea

    Great post. Attention to detail is always nice. I feel the same way about some shows where Seattle is the backdrop, or somewhere in the PNW…..if they’re not filmed here they are not really accurate.

  13. Bryan Busby is the man!

  14. My friend Jenny

    I clicked on your blog from the front of the wordpress site!!!!! You rock.

  15. My friend Jenny

    Oh, and I hope Diablo reads your blog and comes to hang out with you. You can cook her something good!!

  16. BRAHIM

    who are you every one

  17. I love that show but I feel the exact same way! Especially when I see mountains in the background.

    (found your blog from the WordPress front page)

  18. I love this show (and am from Missouri)! Just wanted to comment that I loved the post and plan to read more from you in the future!

  19. Alexandra

    Nice post. I don’t actually watch The United States of Tara, but I stumbled across this blog on the WP home page. I know and love some of Diablo Cody’s work and this was wonderfully amusing to read. Perhaps I should start watching the show?

  20. Interesting post. As a person who watches the show but has not been to Kansas, I really don’t know what I would be missing on details, but it’s cool that someone is paying attention. 🙂

  21. Thank you for posting this. We used to live in Shawnee, and my husband and I love the show, but we are always noticing some weirdness about the geography in the story. One thing we laughed about was the fact that they claimed the weather pattern started in StL a couple days earlier. I don’t remember ever hearing of weather that came from east to west there, and they certainly wouldn’t have 2 days notice of a tornado warning.

    Another thing I thought was really funny was when Max was arrested, the Sheriff thought he had to tell the family where Olathe was. They might not know exactly how to find the JoCo jail, but I have a really hard time believing that anyone who lives there wouldn’t know how to get to Olathe! Great post!

  22. Another thing, most people don’t really pay that much attention to tornado watches, or even warnings. Max seemed to be way over-reacting, IMO. I remember once, while working at the Dillons that used to be at 75th & Quivera, that someone from the sheriff’s dept came in to make sure we knew there was a tornado warning. All of us, workers and customers, were advised to move to the back of the store. We who worked there did, as well as many of the customers, but many also continued to move about the store doing their shopping. We had a new employee who had recently moved to KS from Utah…she was terrified, but the rest of us could barely keep from laughing at her near-panic. People from the bakery passed around cookies and pop while we waited, and about 15 minutes later we were given notice that the danger had passed and it was back to normal. Warnings are common, actual tornadoes are less common.

  23. Patrick

    I’m actually pretty impressed with the extra efforts that this show goes through to reference KC. No, it isn’t perfect, but they go above and beyond for the little things that frankly, only we locals will notice. The most noteworthy piece of trivia for me was when the rich guy new boyfriend was taking the daughter out to eat, and the music playing in the restaurant was the theme music from “The Walt Bodine Show” on KCUR. Man, that’s something that damn few people are ever going to notice.

    Another episode has the gay son and his buddy going to the Liberty Memorial for gay cruising, something that has been a reality in this town for decades.

    I give the producers of this show very high marks for their efforts. Makes it a little bit of extra fun for me as I watch it.

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