Welcome to Bleeding Cool’s weekly review of the first season of Showtime‘s Kidding as we take a look at the inaugural season’s fifth episode ‘The New You.’ The dramedy marks Jim Carrey‘s (The Truman Show) return to television in a series regular role, teaming with his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind helmer and series director Michel Gondry on the 10-episode season.
It’s not exactly front page news to say that Jeff “Mr. Pickles” Piccirillo’s (Carrey) has some serious issues: a year after his son Phil’s tragic death, Jeff finds his personal and Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time lives playing not-so-nicely with each other and everyone – especially dad/producer Seb (Frank Langella) – is getting concerned. But for Jeff to reclaim his life, it might be time for Jeff Piccirillo and “Mr. Pickles” to work together.
After four episodes worth of build-up, ‘The New You’ brought the season’s major conflict to a head: Jeff’s need to process and deal as a human being, and Seb’s need to totally control situations he doesn’t understand. Somewhere in the middle is a path to something better, but by the end of the episode we’re left feeling that such an epiphany isn’t coming with a lot of pain, anger, regret…and an exploding home???
And then there’s that under-the-table scene between Jeff and Vivian (Ginger Gonzaga), reminding us of the beauty and magic that Gondry wields so well – even in the shadows of impending heartbreak.
Spoiler Warning: I’ll be covering some themes and takeaways involving major and minor plot points from the episode, so please keep that in mind. Definitely not looking for pitchforks and torches outside my apartment.
Kidding s01e05 ‘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.
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, 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.