DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

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ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Season 2 of 'Kidding' is Even More Creative and Captivating
February 23, 2020  | By Mike Hughes
 


Some shows – like some people – make themselves difficult to love.

Jim Carrey's (top) Kidding has been like that. It's fresh and original, with a warm heart, weird humor, and talented cast. But it keeps pushing viewers away, deflating any sense of hope.

Now, however, it has redeemed itself. The next episode (10 p.m. ET, Sunday) is exceptionally good. And different.

The entire half-hour is a show-within-a-show. A fictional character is using his more-fictional characters to describe his personal heartache; the result is sometimes funny, sometimes moving.

Carrey plays Jeff Piccirillo, a.k.a. Jeff Pickles, the host of a kids' show he started with his dad, Sebastian Piccirillo (Frank Langella), as producer and his sister Deirdre (Catherine Keener) as puppet maker.

Jeff is a sweet-spirited guy, but he crumbled after one of his twin sons died in a car accident. He became distant from his wife Jill (Judy Greer), who was driving, and their other son Will.

That's where we met them in the first season. Separated from Jill, Jeff secretly bought the house next door, spying on her and her new guy Peter (Justin Kirk), whom he later crashed into with his car.

Even that could have worked out. Jill assumed it was Peter's fault; Jeff volunteered for a liver transplant and became a hero until he told her that he hit him deliberately. He's like that, forever ducking any real chance to be happy.

And now?? Peter is better; Jeff isn't. He fired his dad then learned that Deirdre owned the rights to many of the puppet characters and lost them in a divorce settlement.

That's where we are now – an entire half-hour edition of Jeff's show telling kids about divorce, loss, and change. Jill is there, and so is Deirdre, who faces the puppets' wrath, and so is Ariana Grande. There are songs and emotions; it's sometimes moving, occasionally funny, always fresh, and original.

And it brings aftershocks, at home and with the shows Jeff franchises overseas.

Sunday's second episode (10:30 p.m. ET) has him facing the backlash from his divorce tale.

That second one is pretty good; the first is great. We might end up liking Kidding after all.

 
 
 
 
 
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