Showtime’s Kidding: When Darkness is Covered by a Smile

This past Sunday, Showtime wrapped up its first season of Kidding. The show premiered late August and ran ten half-hour episodes telling the story of Jeff Pickles (Jim Carrey), a Mr. Rogers like character who after the death of his son, has to carry on with his life and his show.

Let me start off by saying that Jim Carrey is terrific. He gets to use every ounce of emotion in this role and it lends itself perfectly to his acting ability. Jeff Pickles is a good-hearted character, but the show makes us ask what would happen to a person if everything just kept getting worse. Without a way to express how he feels after the loss of his son, we get to watch this man and everyone around him break down.

All of the supporting cast does great work as well. Catherine Keener plays Jeff’s sister who also works on the show. Frank Langella plays Jeff’s father and producer of the show, and along with Cole Allen who plays Jeff’s other son. We get to watch not only the impact that death has on a family but how Jeff’s fall does as well.

Some of the B-stories regarding these supporting characters seemed a little shoehorned in for a half hour program. Even with this, it’s understandable why the stories need to be there. More often than not as I was watching these stories I wanted to get back to Jeff. I cannot stress enough that he is really the driving force of this show.

Sometimes some of the decisions the characters make regarding smaller details tend to make the audience question what is really happening. One instance of this is when two characters who speak different languages are able to communicate perfectly through puppets. The scene makes little sense to the story and may confuse some audience members. 

One of the better aspects of the show is its message. We watch ten episodes of a man who sees the world in such a positive light but slowly starts falling closer and closer to the darkness. To be able to mourn death is one of the most natural things humans can do, but what happens when you take away a person’s ability to mourn? The show does a great job exploring this aspect through Jeff and Carrey’s ability to slowly crack as the show goes on makes it even more memorable.

This is an incredibly odd show that some people will really enjoy, and others will be turned off by. I would recommend watching at least the first two episodes. If you can’t get into it by then I’d suggest just turning it off. If you are interested in watching it all the way through, it’s not that long of a show; ten half-hour episodes make up a quick five-hour binge.

I’m curious to see if this show gets renewed for a season two or not. The way it ends off, you can see it going either way. There are still plots that need wrapping up. The main story revolving around Jeff is the best part and while I’d like to see it continue, Kidding could have ended in the final episode with your mind to fill the gaps.

SCORE: 3.4/5

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