Kidding season 1, episode 2 recap: ‘Pusillanimous’


In episode 2 of Showtime’s Kidding, everyone thinks Jeff Piccirillo (AKA Mr. Pickles) is losing it. Can he handle loss and maintain control of his children’s show?

Interestingly enough, “Pusillanimous” begins with a carjacking, and the vehicle is brought to a “chop shop” where they begin stripping it for parts.

However, when the thieves find Mr. Pickle’s (Jim Carrey) prop and a musical instrument — “Uke-Larry” — in the car, they restore it and return it to its owner.

This is a neat little nod to Mr. Pickle’s respectability, and the powerful influence his show has on building character, even among less reputable people.

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Is Mr. Pickles a good guy? Yes, overall, but certain life events — like the loss of his son and failing marriage — have him on edge.

Perhaps to ease tension, he wishes to address these real issues to some extent on his show, Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time. However, his father — and producer — Seb (Frank Langella) keeps shooting down his new direction.

Some issues are tackled on his show, though, like boredom. When Pickles visits “Pickle Barrel Falls,” he finds one of his puppets, Ennui Le Triste (Dan Garza), is bored and sounds down in the dumps.

Pickle’s philosophy, of course, is that children will find his show more relatable if he occasionally addresses serious (or semi-serious) topics, and doesn’t just talk down to them or dumb everything down.

Jeff Pickle’s Breakdown and Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater

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In Kidding’s last episode, Jeff bought a house across from his wife Jill’s (Judy Greer) place, then broke a faucet spout after seeing her with another man. Now it seems everyone thinks he’s strange.

He meets a boy named Tanner (Maximus Birchmore) in the children’s hospital, he tells his mom (Annie Karstens), “I think Mr. Pickles has brain cancer, too.”

It’s also apparent that Jill works at this hospital, and it may be the main reason Jeff met with the kid. While there, Jeff offers to meet her new man. He also confesses that, contrary to appearances, he didn’t shave the stripe in his head to relate to the child cancer patient.

Later, when Jeff discusses his show’s direction, Jeff says he should keep the stripe on his head as a way of discussing the change. “Who we are is so much greater than what happens to us,” he explains.

Seb, however, tells him, “You look like you’re about to climb a Texas tower and shoot people” (referencing the 1966 University of Texas shooter Charles Whitman). To make him sound weirder yet, Pickles says things like, “Jill has a black hole inside her. It’s swallowing her sunshine.”

Jeff’s sister — and puppeteer — Deirdre (Catherine Keener) warns Jeff that, if Jill finds out he owns the house next door, she will leave and take their son Will (Cole Allen) with her.

Indeed, Jeff creepily spies on the two. However, he does offer to meet the new man in her life, Pete (Justin Kirk), with the obvious assumption that he won’t make it too awkward.

Not long afterward, they actually do meet over dinner, and Jeff seems a little defensive. In a conversational dig at Peter’s name, Jeff mentions the supposed dark origins of “Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater,” which may include themes of infidelity, abuse or even murder.

Then, as they talk outside and Peter lights a cigarette, Jeff asks, “How long you been sucking on them coffin nails?” It’s obvious that Jeff’s jealous of Peter, and his topic selection reveals his darker side.

A Gender Fluid Otter and a Home Wrecking Piano Teacher

During a key moment on Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time, the character Astron-Otter begins crying, because her rocket keeps falling over. Pickles posits her bamboosters are misfiring and recommends taking a “calm-me-down breath.”

Seb has a problem with the scene, however, because Astron-Otter is supposed to be a male otter. Jeff explains that Astron-Otter changed to “a she” due to gender fluidity. Seb argues rather vehemently against it, noting all the Astron-Otter products marketed for boys.

While these exchanges are rough for Jeff, it’s obvious that Seb is tired of them, too. They seem to be giving him a stress-related skin condition.

Previously, during a song segment by Maestro Pimento Fermata and the Pickle Nickle Choir, Jeff sang about his inner voice being there to stay, and he made a clear point of looking at Seb while saying it.

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Meanwhile, Deirdre asks her daughter Maddy’s (Juliet Morris) piano teacher, Mr. Farpopolis, if he had sex with her husband. Also, Will is still hanging out with “bad kids” and smoking pot.

What will Jeff do about all this? Will it be in line with what Mr. Pickle’s teachings? We’ll be sure to find out!

That’s it for this Kidding recap! Any questions, boys and girls? Let us know in the comments!