What do weed, a children’s television show, and Showtime have in common? Actor Justin Kirk (Weeds), who is set to star opposite Jim Carrey (The Truman Show), Judy Greer (I’m Sorry), Catherine Keener (Get Out, Death to Smoochy) and Frank Langella (The Americans, Frost/Nixon) in the premium cabler’s upcoming half-hour comedy series Kidding. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind helmer Michel Gondry is spearheading the 10-episode series; with Carrey, Gondry, Dave Holstein, Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Ozark), Jim Garavente, Raffi Adlan, and Michael Aguilar serving as executive producers.
Kidding centers on Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles (Carrey), an icon of children’s television, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him — who also anchors a multimillion dollar branding empire. But when this beloved personality’s family — estranged wife Jill (Greer), two sons, sister and father — begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale or fable or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: A kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. Not helping matters any? Peter (Kirk), Jill’s new boyfriend.
Langella portrays Seb, the man who helped Jeff build his show from a school project to a nationally syndicated cultural touchstone with a multi-million-dollar merchandising empire. He struggles to balance his growing concern for Jeff with his need to keep his onscreen persona from radically changing. Keener is on board as main show-within-a-show puppeteer Deirdre, who thanklessly builds the puppets but never gets to voice them.
David Nevins, President and CEO of Showtime Networks, sees the returning Carrey and Gondry as having the potential to recreate the storytelling magic from their Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind days:
“No one inhabits a character like Jim Carrey, and this role – which is like watching Humpty Dumpty after the fall – is going to leave television audiences wondering how they went so long without him. With his Eternal Sunshine partner Michel Gondry on board to direct, we are on our way to a magnetic, volcanic and emotional viewing experience.”