Kidding Review – Carrey Delivers On Dark Potential

Jim Carrey, and an amazing supporting cast, are taking on a challenge that is almost too much to dare in Showtime‘s latest effort, Kidding. Truly dark comedy is difficult enough to pull off, but when you lace it with a struggle to get over the death of a child, and make it about a guy who has hosted a children’s show for over a decade, there isn’t room to deliver one wrong line. Now add in a delivery of setting and circumstance that is at times a hyperbolic exposition, and you’re really limiting your potential audience as well.

Carrey stars as Jeff/Mr. Pickle. His show is incredibly popular and has led to a marketing/licensing empire, but he’s in the middle of a massive crisis which not only includes the loss of a child, but a split from his wife, Jill (Judy Greer) and a rather estranged relationship with his son Will. Having lived with a focus on the rosy outlook that fuels a show aimed at inspiring and entertaining young minds, when the cruelty of life crashes into Jeff’s world, things fall apart fast. 

buy amaryl online https://myindianpharmacy.net/amaryl.html no prescription

As we enter the show, Jeff has decided that he believes Mr. Pickles should address death with his audience, because he thinks he is in a unique position to help children learn to deal with it. Of course, the show’s producer, Sebastian (Frank Langella), thinks that would destroy the Mr. Pickles empire, and send children screaming from the room. Meanwhile, things are a little weird behind-the-scenes of Mr. Pickles at the best of times, but one of Jeff’s only touchstones is Deirdre (Catherine Keener), his sister, who creates the puppets for the show.

buy antabuse online https://myindianpharmacy.net/antabuse.html no prescription

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles, Danny Trejo as himself and Conan O'Brien as himself in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 01, "Green Means Go"). - Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME
Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles, Danny Trejo as himself and Conan O’Brien as himself in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 01, “Green Means Go”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME

As Carrey shuffles through an existence that is quickly becoming a nightmare, he channels some of his best, and most difficult performances. An internal struggle is a role that is tricky to deliver without turning stagy, and when it comes in a show that is heaping trials on a man like he was in a race with Job, it becomes all an actor can hope just to keep it from spilling into camp. Make it dark comedy that is getting most of its humor from the wicked juxtaposition of a children’s show environment meeting the daily horrors of the real world, and it’s hard to deliver anything at all.

buy anafranil online https://myindianpharmacy.net/anafranil.html no prescription

At one point in the pilot, Sebastian tells Jeff that he is two people, Jeff and Mr. Pickles, and that those two people should never meet. That becomes the background of the series, as it is clear that where person and persona begin and end is something of a blur at this point. A fact that it is easy to imagine causing problems in a person’s marriage and/or relationship with their son.

Of course, the danger of the show is that it could easily lose its own effort to a maudlin sense of urgency that doesn’t exist, and it already approaches the edge of that cliff at times. When alone, Carrey is at times unable to find a focus for his reactions, and when things go too weird, there’s little point or humor to what’s happening. You can chalk that up to working through the laying of the groundwork for the setting, but not for long.

It’s a pilot with some establishment hurdles, because even the hardiest of pitch black comedy fans have to do some of the work here, but if it keeps its focus on Jeff’s inability to cope, and how that infects a Fred Rogers-esque effort to help children cope, this could quickly turn into one of the best things on television.

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING
Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING  Photo: SHOWTIME

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Show
10
Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and co-host of the Are You Screening? podcast with co-host Shane Leonard. He has been writing film reviews for over 20 years, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He has been member of the Critics Choice Awards for well over a decade.

Must Read

Trending

Terra Nova TV Review – FOX

The woman who won't stay in her car when told, or searches out the creepy noise in her attic armed only with a wet...

Lopez vs. Lopez Review – George Lopez Injects Reality Into Old School Sit-Com Norms

Twenty years after George Lopez took a shot at building a sit-com with Hispanic culture taking center stage, he's back but this time instead...

Scorpion Review – TV CBS

Scorpion has some potential, but the show tries to hide it as much as possible. The "true story," is taken apart until all that's left is "there was this smart guy once." It's so goofy in parts that it's hard to imagine a lot of people will care what else there is.

Dont' Miss The Best Of The Decade

Podcast

It's a pilot with some establishment hurdles, because even the hardiest of pitch black comedy fans have to do some of the work here, but if it keeps its focus on Jeff's inability to cope, and how that infects a Fred Rogers-esque effort to help children cope, this could quickly turn into one of the best things on television.Kidding Review - Carrey Delivers On Dark Potential