kidding (Series 1)
starring: Jim carrey, judy greer, catherine keener, and frank langella
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Jeff, a famous children's television icon, struggles to retain his sanity as his family falls apart.
When Jim Carrey slowly slipped away from the main spotlight over ten years ago with the exception of sporadically popping up in cameos, I was sadden. As a child I was enthralled at his goofy, slapstick, highly energetic comedy and as I grew up began to be a fan of and appreciate his more dramatic roles. Not only for my fandom but for the world of entertainment it is brilliant news that Carrey is back in Kidding. But the show is really superb too.
Jeff Pickles, a man who is iconic in children's television. Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, is a pillar of kindness and wisdom to the impressionable minds of America's youth and to the parents who grew up with him. When Mr. Pickles' family begins to implode, his life starts to take a downward spiral. He must put the fables and puppets aside to get through this newest crisis in life. As the slow leak of sanity advances faster than he can cope with it, the cruel world breaks his heart.
Kidding is probably one of the best exploration of loss and grief in recent memory (as well as Ricky Gervais' brilliant Afterlife). What makes it so wonderfully real is that Jeff Pickles isn't just an ordinary nice guy, his on screen persona is that of a nice guy. His whole life is built around it. So when he starts to slip from that perch, it is tragic yet wonderfully human.
And its the terrific writing coupled with Carrey's magnificent performance that makes Kidding the wonder that it is. He has a growing gentle rage against the pain, agony, and grief he is experiencing which hits every human note within you. Its agonisingly beautiful.
What makes Kidding even more of a phenomenon is the amazing supporting cast of Judy Greer, Catherine Keener, and the always wonderful Frank Langella. They too are dealing with a level of loss and grief that despite his character's journey and performance, makes Kidding more than just about Carrey's Pickles and the show is richer for it.
One of the best explorations of grief and loss in recent memory. Welcome back Jim Carrey. We've missed you.