Kidding season 1, episode 3 recap: ‘Every Pain Needs a Name’


In episode 3 of Showtime’s Kidding, Jeff tries to date, Maddy suffers a malady and Seb considers replacing his son with a format he can control.

When people face hardship they can break down, and sorting things out can be tricky. While this could describe Kidding‘s Jeff Piccirillo (Jim Carrey), all of the show’s characters have struggled. This includes kids.

As the episode begins, Maddy (Juliet Morris) asks her mom, Deirdre (Catherine Keener), if she’s getting divorced. Maddy detects something wrong between her mom and dad (Bernard White).  In fact, she starts to regularly screams and “freak out” in class.

It’s not entirely unlike Jeff’s situation, which Jeffs’s father and producer Seb (Frank Langella) finds risky. Seb wants “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time” to be safe, predictable, and to not raise too many questions.

He sees Jeff as more of a marketable brand than an artist. So, when Jeff rips the heart puppet named “Thump-Thump” out of his chest during filming, it sounds additional alarm bells in Seb’s straight-laced brain. He wishes to kick-start his son’s love life, to get him back on the horse (so to speak).

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Meeting him later, Seb reads Jeff some of his female fan letters — some of which get a little graphic. However, when words like “rare, sublime kindness” are used to describe Jeff, it seems to get him more interested. At first, Jeff is concerned about his image if he’s seen out on dates.

Seb responds that the general public doesn’t see him as a sexual being, comparing him to Mr. Potato Head. While visiting patients in the cancer ward, Jeff meets a patient named Vivian (Ginger Gonzaga). She also speaks in a frank and sexual nature, adding that she only has six weeks to live.

The War on Drugs

Aware that his son Will (Cole Allen) smokes pot with some older kids, Jeff buys him a magic suitcase. Though Will doesn’t totally mock him for it, he does ask for a real allowance — a hint that he wants his own space to grow up.

Jeff, however, reminisces about Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug messages in the 1980s, hinting at the dangers of experimenting with mind-altering substances. Will says he’s not America’s crack problem, to which Jeff cutely responds, “But you’re my crack problem.”

Later in the episode, Will’s pals ask is his dad will kill Peter (Justin Kirk), AKA his mom’s new man. Although Will denies the possibility, it’s clear that Will’s been telling these kids about these troubles, and that they are expecting Jeff to go off the rails (much like what Seb fears). In the process, Will seems to be hitting it off with Cassidy (Julitta Scheel).

Jeff Tries at New Love and Seb Weighs New Options

For better or worse, Jeff goes on a date with Shaina (Riki Lindhome), who is one of his fans. While they talk, he imagines himself as his opposite — like being an action movie star, or something like that.

It’s an interesting moment for Kidding, as it shows that even Jeff wishes to step away from his Pickles persona sometimes. In fact, it seems to be a problem that she’s a dedicated fan. Although Shaina asks him up to her place — which, let’s face it, many guys would be thrilled about — Jeff rejects the offer and instead promptly writes her a breakup letter.

Similarly, Jeff rejects a kiss from Eliza (Grace Song), a drunken college student he brought into his apartment (rather than leave passed out in the hallway).

She asks him plainly, “Aren’t you tired of always doing the right thing?” Then, as if in direct reply, Kidding shows us Jeff getting it on with Vivian, the cancer patient.

Meanwhile, Seb discusses replacing Jeff with a cartoon version, voiced by a Mr. Pickles impersonator. His reasoning? “We need versions of him we can control.”

Deirdre is understandably concerned that Seb will break Jeff. So, at this point, the question isn’t only about reeling Jeff in, but getting Seb to compromise between art and sheer marketability.

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It seems that, if Seb really knew his brand, he’d see that Mr. Pickles is Jeff Piccirillo, and vice versa. Then again, maybe Jeff is replaceable. However, as this episode shows, he won’t be an easy replacement.

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