TV Show You Should See: Kidding


Bobby Garcia

“Kidding,” Showtime TV show.

Showtime’s Kidding is the story of a Mr. Rogers type character who is “Mr. Rogers” all the time. Moreover though, it is about a man finally letting his emotions out after decades of hiding them away and finding the fine line between TV’s Mr. Pickles and Jeff.

For the past few decades, Mr. Pickles (Jim Carrey) has been a guiding hand in children’s lives. Like Mr. Rogers in our timeline, Mr. Pickles, or Jeff to his family, taught children how to feel their feelings, not fear or hate others, and never be afraid to be themselves.

However, after losing one of his twin sons in a car accident, Jeff’s world starts to fall apart. He starts having feelings he doesn’t want to feel, his not quite ex-wife (Judy Greer) starts dating a new man(Justin Kirk), and the line between Mr. Pickles and Jeff starts to cut him up at the seams. Ever the showman, Jeff decides it’s time to make changes to his show and use his influence for more than simple PBS morals. But will his show executive, Jeff’s own father, allow it?

The show has a very simple plot but it makes use of all it’s potential. Each emotional moment tugs hard at your feelings creating sinking lows and large smiles.

The characters are a mixed bag of emotions but the lovable ones are lovable and the despicable ones are despicable. Jim Carrey’s performance is spot-on for what a Mr. Rogers would be if thrust into the real world.

Jeff’s father, Seb, (played by Frank Langella) is the standout character, walking the tightrope of being a father and being in charge of the Mr. Pickles’s brand and dozens of workers. At times he is the main antagonist to the viewer and others just one of the family.

Season 1 stands out as a great deconstruction of Mr. Rogers but also a look at life from the point of view of a man watching his world fall apart. While no episode is fundamentally bad, episodes like Pusillanimous, the weakest of the season, highlight the tendency of the show to become awkward and boring with many elements set up but not paid off or followed up on until the season finale.

However stand out episodes, the best being Philliam, outweigh the dullness with honey-sweet, or in this case pickle sweet, emotional moments of family and moving on as well as satirical moments of the TV industry and celebrity culture and responsibility.

Season 2 returned to Showtime on Feb 9th with new episodes coming out.