Call it sex and the suburbs.
Three weeks ago on United States of Tara, Max (John Corbett), the inordinately patient husband of Tara (Toni Collette), had a one-night stand with a waitress, Pammy (Joey Lauren Adams), putting a chink in his good-guy armor.
"I first read it at a table read and remember screaming out loud, 'You've got to be f---ing kidding me!'" Corbett tells TVGuide.com, adding that writers told him they wanted to shake up Max this season. "That was a big step to let Max to do that. ... A lot of fans [come up to me] and said, 'Aw, Max! How could you?' They were kidding, but they couldn't believe it. But [the sex scene] was edited down. I'm sure Showtime thought if they [showed the full version], it would stay in the audience's mind and they would hate Max a little. I hated Max a little for that."
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Tara though? Not so much. After all, the housewife and mother of two, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, has cheated on Max up to 30 times during their 18-year marriage — one of which was with Pammy as her male alter Buck. Oh, and Buck also beat up Max for his indiscretion.
"That was a great scene. I think all is forgiven now. I hope so," Corbett says. "It's an unnatural situation for them, but they do love each other, and you see that in the finale. They have a sweet ending this season. We didn't go for the big cliff-hanger."
But that doesn't mean questions won't be lingering after Monday's closer (10:30/9:30c), which centers around the pending nuptials of Tara's sister, Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt), and Nick (Matthew Del Negro). The occasion means the return of the sisters' parents, Frank (Fred Ward) and Beverly (Pamela Reed), who reveal why they sent their daughters to live with a foster parent, Mimi (Kathleen Noone), when they were children. The mysterious Mimi, of course, manifests herself as Tara's June Cleaver-esque alter Alice.
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"We learn some things, but we still have to get to the bottom of Tara's past, what's happening, why and how, though," Corbett says. "I'd like to learn what was happening to those two little girls, if anything. ... Tara's still trying to figure out who she was. The season was about defining yourself."
Despite Max cheating on Tara, Corbett, 49, thinks he can still be defined as the loving and supportive husband. Case in point: Against Tara's wishes, he rode up on Buck's bike to take Tara — as her new 5-year-old alter, Chicken — home from Mimi's last week. "He's doing his best, and I don't think Max wants to start over at all," Corbett says. "Look, it's a pain in the ass for Max to even sleep on the couch! I think Max likes his life when it's going well. The thought of coming home to a one-bedroom apartment, separated from his wife, is not appealing to Max on any level. If he works hard enough, it'll all get better."
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The nice guy role is not new to Corbett, whose good-natured Aidan was dumped — and cheated on — by Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) on Sex and the City. So how do Max and Aidan stack up against each other?
"They're both great guys. Any gal would be lucky to have either," says Corbett, who has a cameo in Sex and the City 2. But it's Tara that's in Corbett's foreseeable future. Production on Season 3 picks up in August, and the actor expects the stakes to be raised even higher with more alters and an edgier Max.
"I like conflict. I'd like to see Pammy again. ... Maybe Max will be more confrontational [with Tara] and we'll see Buck and Max square off," Corbett says. "I wouldn't mind trying to beat the s--- out of Buck! Toni throws a really good punch — better than some guys. If I wasn't in bed and we were in the street, I would've had a few swings on Buck this time. I'm ready for a rematch!"