With his beloved Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time off the air for the first time in 30 years, Jeff Pickles must find a way to communicate with his many fans who still need him. Jeff creates a new and controversial method to talk directly to children across the world only to become the target of animosity for the first time in his career.
As Jeff navigates the most complicated moral gray areas of his life, he discovers a new side of himself in a season full of music, magic, puppets and pathos. Starring Jim Carrey, Frank Langella, Catherine Keener and Judy Greer. Featuring Ariana Grande. Kidding Season 2 premieres Sunday, February 9 at 10/9c on SHOWTIME.
Release date: February 9, 2020 at 10/9c
Cast: Jim Carrey, Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Juliet Morris, Catherine Keener
The second season picks up moments after season one’s cliffhanger, and with his beloved Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time off the air for the first time in 30 years, Jeff must find a way to communicate with his many fans who still need him. Jeff creates a new and controversial method to talk directly to children across the world only to become the target of animosity for the first time in his career. As Jeff navigates the most complicated moral gray areas of his life, he discovers a new side of himself in a season full of music, magic, puppets and pathos.
Kidding is an American comedy-drama television series created by Dave Holstein that premiered on September 9, 2018, on Showtime. The series stars Jim Carrey, Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Juliet Morris, and Catherine Keener and marks the second collaboration between director and executive producer Michel Gondry and Carrey, who previously worked together on the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In October 2018, Showtime renewed the series for a second season which is set to premiere on February 9, 2020.
Kidding is set in Columbus, Ohio and follows Jeff Piccirillo, aka beloved children’s television presenter Mr. Pickles, appreciated by children and parents alike. Mr. Pickles anchors a multimillion-dollar branding empire, but he faces a personal tragedy and difficult family life.
The series has been met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 76% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.38 out of 10 based on 75 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Fans of Jim Carrey’s slapstick may be disappointed, but other viewers may find a surprisingly poignant examination of life and grief in Kidding.” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 68 out of 100 based on 33 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews.”
In a positive review, Vox’s Karen Han praised the series saying, “The deconstruction of a Fred Rogers figure would make for an interesting show on its own, but Kidding transcends that premise by leaps and bounds on the strength of Carrey’s performance and a determination to make the show just as rough–and riveting–as real life.” In another favorable critique, The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman offered similar acclaim saying, “With its keen self-awareness, exceptional writing and consistently great acting, Kidding — starring a perfectly cast Jim Carrey in his first series-regular role since In Living Color two decades ago — is Showtime’s best and most binge-worthy series in a long time.” Ben Travers at IndieWire reviewed the first four episodes of the show, and called it an alt-reality Mr. Rogers, and that although the fixation on death is “uncomfortable, it shows signs of a lighter, broader scope and is buoyed by unrelenting optimism.” He praised the story for treating Jeff’s sincerity with genuine respect, and Carrey for his “terrific” and “nuanced” performance. Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+ grade and called it a “bittersweet family saga” and is unsure of the direction of the show but “for now, it’s a compelling story about the beauty, and difficulty, of giving your pain a name.” In a more mixed assessment, Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall awarded the series three-and-a-half stars out of five and provided restrained admiration saying, “Carrey’s worth the price of admission, though, even if it’s not the TV comeback vehicle many of his fans would want. Heck, he’d probably be a huge hit just hosting a full-length version of the show within the show, rather than this version that only gives us innocent glimpses amidst all the mourning. But like Jeff Pickles, Carrey wants to lean into the harder parts of life. More often than not with Kidding, he succeeds.”
In a negative evaluation, Uproxx’s Pilot Viruet compared the series unfavorably to some of Showtimes’s past shows saying, “those series found ways to make the humor seem more natural, more fitting with the stories they’re telling. Kidding’s approach is more overt and frequently confusing, as if spotting a brightly-colored puppet wandering amongst our real world.” Caroline Framke of Variety said that the show succeeds in places but more often than not it “feels caught between too many tones and ideas to become quite as distinctive as it could be.” Framke wrote that over the first four episodes the show better understands TV personality and business of Mr. Pickles than it does of grieving father Jeff. Dave Nemetz of TVLine is critical of the tone of the show, saying it is “somewhere between comedy and drama, and isn’t entirely successful at either.”
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