Kidding season 1, episode 1 premiere recap: ‘Green Means Go’


Showtime’s Kidding introduces Jeff Piccirillo, a children’s television host whose life is falling apart while dealing with his son Phil’s tragic death.

Kidding begins awkwardly, with someone telling TV host Conan O’Brien not to mention “Phil” to Jeff Piccirillo, AKA “Mr. Pickles” (Jim Carrey) of the kids’ show, “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time.” Conan is not to discuss the man’s family, lest it becomes an overbearingly sad experience. A year ago, Jeff’s son Phil (Cole Allen) tragically died in a car accident when someone ran a green light, plowing straight into the Piccirillo family’s vehicle. In other words, Kidding begins solidly with a somber tone, and it never totally relents. In fact, this is sort of the foundation upon which the entire show is built, which will make a unique experience.

Trying to put his sadness aside, “Mr. Pickles” does his level-best to appear happy, performing a hit children’s song in front of Conan’s crowd. The entire audience joins in as he plays on “uke-Larry.” The audience goes “aww,” and even Danny Trejo joins the singalong. A key passage in the song is, “Isn’t growing up funny and sweet?” However, in real life, Jeff’s life is bittersweet at best, maddening at worst.

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On that note, Jeff later approaches his Executive Producer and father Seb (Frank Langella) about a new idea. Boldly, he wants to do an episode of “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time” dealing with death. Not only would it be therapeutic for him, but it’s arguably an important life lesson for kids at a fairly early age. In pleading his case, Jeff can’t help but make it persona, saying his family is “shriveling up like a Polaroid in a puddle.” He further explains, “Kids know the sky is blue. They need to know what to do when it’s falling.” Seb does not like the idea, telling him “Jeff needs to heal. Mr. Pickles is fine.”

Mr. Pickles Isn’t Fine

By this point in Kidding, it’s apparent that Seb wants to ideologically separate Jeff from Mr. Pickles, while Jeff (a sensitive artist) likely sees Pickles as an extension of himself (albeit a limited extension). Accordingly, Seb regards him as a marketable brand, while Jeff sees the power of the art. It probably doesn’t help that, little by little, Jeff’s life pushes him deeper into his work.

He sees signs of change all around him, and few of the changes seem good. For starters, Jeff’s wife Jill (Judy Greer) has a new tattoo on her breast. He doesn’t like it, seeing it as a cry for help, a darkening of her personality. If that’s not enough, Jeff and Jill’s son Will (also played by Cole Allen) is misbehaving, to put it lightly. Jeff catches him trying to put a trash bag full of bees in his mom’s trunk.

When Jeff and Will are walking around, they meet a real estate agent (Kelly Coffield Park) and drive off her prospective clients. Specifically, Will tells their kids that the houses were built on an old zoo that burned down and that the fire was started by crazy animals. On top of that, Will is later spotted smoking some pot with some other kids. Later he sneaks off at night and puts the bees nest on his brother’s grave (Not very nice).

Eat Your Veggies!

Jeff also has a sister, Deirdre (Catherine Keener) who is struggling to get her daughter, Maddy (Juliet Morris) to eat her vegetables. As a punishment until she does, Deirdre tells her she can’t bathe. It’s a tactic that lasts a while, but Maddy says the carrots were dropped on the ground while her father was with another man (Bernard White). It’s a revelation for Deirdre, no doubt about it, and an interesting little side-story (so far) for Kidding.

The Cream of the Oreo

For a little bit, it seems Seb and Jeff reach a compromise. Seb warns him, “You do a show about death, children will run from the room in tears.” However, the episode is shot, and Jeff compares death to losing one’s favorite toy. Jeff tells the kids that his son had died, “So we put him in a box and buried him.” The kids don’t run away in tears, but it is a sad moment, and certainly more powerful than Seb wants to get. Seb ultimately refuses to air the episode, saying “You don’t put the Pope in a speedo and you don’t take the cream out of the Oreo.”

Next. Kidding season 1, episode 2 recap. dark

In rebellion, Jeff shaves a strip of his air off in the middle of his head, thus “damaging the brand’s appearance.” As another sign of breakdown, he buys a house across from his estranged wife, which could be considered borderline stalking behavior. Then, when he happens to see her with another man through his new kitchen window, he angrily rips off the kitchen sink’s faucet spout. Obviously, Jeff is going through some stuff, and it will be interesting to see if he can get the cream back in his Oreo, so to speak, and put his life back together.

That’s it for this Kidding recap! What are your thoughts, boys and girls? Let us know in the comments!