“Kidding – Season One” (2019)
Created by: Dave Holstein
Featuring: Jim Carrey, Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Juliet Morris, and Catherine Keener
Jeff: “Please don’t use a bad word when you can use a good word.”
Released recently on DVD is the new comedy television series, “Kidding – Season One” (2019) produced by director Micheal Gondry and featuring Jim Carrey in the central role of Jeff a children’s television presenter. This is the first time Carrey has appeared in a narrative television series as well as a high-profile return to the limelight since the slight misfire that was “Dumb and Dumber To” (2014). Carrey himself has been on a sort of self-discovery so for him to appear in a series like “Kidding” is not surprising as in a way it covers some of the same kind of ground he has been looking at in his own life.
“Kidding” is set in Columbus, Ohio and follows Jeff Piccirillo, aka beloved children’s television presenter Mr. Pickles, appreciated by children and parents alike. Mr. Pickles anchors a multimillion-dollar branding empire, but he faces a personal tragedy and difficult family life.
Jeff Pickles, the children’s television show host played by Jim Carrey should not be confused with Fred Rogers the person responsible for “Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood” (1968-2001). But the two share some similarities, they both bring a sense of comfort to children, they both are viewed as beacons of goodness by the general public, including adults who grew up watching them. Of course what this show posits is what if a Mr Rogers-like figure suffered, what for some would be a loss that might never be recovered from.
This new series is not only a study of a man who is eternally framed by his public persona, especially one that has been tested by the loss of a child. It analyses his own family, the fact that their own lives are framed by his. It also looks at the reality behind a children’s television show, the rudeness as well as deparavity that exists when there are no children around, remember these are still adults in an adult world which is one of the key points of the show. This is an adult comedy/drama that works well when it focuses on Careys existential angst as most of these types of comedies do.
The performances are all excellent and if anyone had any doubt that Jim Carrey does not know how to build a character as well as marrying drama with comedy then you have missed the point of not only this show but almost his entire career. Supported by two great character actors in Judy Greer and Catherine Keener this is a show that could go far, as long as it finds a way to get past some inconsistencies that almost all plot driven.
Green Means Go: Jeff Pickles thinks it’s time to talk about death on his show. His producer feels that Mr. Pickles the persona and Jeff Pickles the person should remain separate. Deirdre punishes Maddy for not eating her veggies.
Pusillanimous: Jeff makes a rash decision that could affect the ability of the show to continue. Seb strategizes how to rebuild Jeff’s image. Deirdre tries to learn more about what’s happening while Maddy is at her piano lesson.
Every Pain Needs a Name: Jeff tries to fix his heartbreak. Deirdre deals with her daughter’s developing medical condition. Seb outlines the future of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time without Jeff. Jeff tries to get Will off pot by giving him a hobby.
Bye, Mom: Jeff deals with a one-night stand. Jill learns that Jeff has been sending money to someone behind her back and confronts him.
The New You: Jeff decides to step out of his comfort zone. Seb tries to get Jeff on board with new changes for Puppet Time, as well as his ice skating show – Pickles On Ice, starring Tara Lipinski.
The Cookie: Will tries to honor his brother in a unique way. Jeff decides to make some changes to Pickles on Ice. Deirdre lets her anger out on Maddy. Jeff tries to convince Vivian to continue with her treatment.
Kintsugi: Jeff starts to speak more honestly on Puppet Time as Seb panics that Jeff will soon have to appear on live television. Deirdre and Scott get a visitor from Japan – Mr. Pickles-San. The Pickles have Thanksgiving as a family.
Philliam: Jeff meets the son of his pen pal, an inmate on death row, and decides to help him.
LT. Pickles: Jeff wonders if he’s having a breakdown or a breakthrough. Will gets into trouble at school. Scott confronts Deirdre about her feelings for Mr. Pickles-San. Seb decides to make a last-minute change to Pickles on Ice while Jeff is away.
Some Day: Everyone in Jeff’s life deals with the results of the speech Jeff made on national television.