Welcome to Bleeding Cool’s weekly Kidding Rewind, as we look back on our thoughts on Showtime‘s new dramedy series from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘s Michel Gondry – and if there’s one clear takeaway from series premiere ‘Green Means Go,’ it’s this: Jeff “Mr. Pickles” Piccirillo’s (Jim Carrey) personal and Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time lives are not ready to play nice with one another. A year after his son Phil’s tragic death, Jeff pushes to address the issue of death on the show – much to the chagrin of his show producer/father Seb (Frank Langella) – as he tries to win back his estranged wife Jill (Judy Greer), who’s found her own ways to deal with her loss. Jeff is faced with an unexpected betrayal, and in the end he responds in his own unique manner: by shaving off a chunk of his hair – and buying a house next door to Jill.
Meanwhile, Jeff’s son and the late Phil’s twin brother Will (Cole Allen) found a better use for that bees nest – aside from lashing out at his mother – and Jeff’s sister/head show puppeteer Dierdre’s “battle of wills” with daughter Maddy (Juliet Morris) over vegetables spiraled into a shocking revelation about Dierdre’s husband Scott (Bernard White). And that was only the first episode…and that’s why we found ‘Green Means Go’ to be a heartfelt (and heartbreaking) welcome to the world of “Mr. Pickles”:
Now that we’ve rewound, let’s fast-forward to a look at Kidding s01e02 ‘Pusillanimous‘:
Kidding s01e02 ‘Pusillanimous’: Jeff makes a rash decision that could affect the ability of the show to continue. Seb strategizes how to rebuild Jeff’s image. The two disagree about how Jeff can repair his family. Deirdre tries to learn more about what’s happening while Maddy is at her piano lesson. Jeff’s son Will decides to let loose with his new friends.
Kidding centers on Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles (Carrey), an icon of children’s television and a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him. But when this beloved personality’s family begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairytale, 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. Jeff begins to push back against the limits of the well-oiled machine that is Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time, and of his executive producer, Seb (Frank Langella). Seb fears Jeff’s mental state could ruin the branding empire they’ve built, and thus begins preparing the show for a life after Jeff, while Deirdre (Catherine Keener), the head puppet maker, grapples with her own personal and professional life issues. Judy Greer stars as Jeff’s estranged wife, and Cole Allen plays their son.
Directed by Gondry and premiering on Showtime on September 9th, Kidding also stars Judy Greer (I’m Sorry), Catherine Keener (Get Out, Death to Smoochy), Frank Langella (The Americans, Frost/Nixon), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ginger Gonzaga (I’m Dying Up Here), and Bernard White (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Carrey, Gondry, Dave Holstein, Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Ozark), Jim Garavente, Raffi Adlan, and Michael Aguilar will serve as executive producers.