Kidding season 1, episode 5 recap: ‘The New You’


In episode 5 of Showtime’s Kidding, Jeff’s relationship with Vivian seems to advance. However, he fears he’s being replaced on his show.

As this Kidding episode begins, a more youthful Seb (Frank Langella) is seen cheerleading young Jeff (Zackary Arthur) into being violent on the hockey rink. It hints at being both a flashback and a nightmare sequence for Jeff about his bullying father. Meanwhile, back in the present, the adult Jeff (Jim Carrey) freaks out during his dinner date with Vivian (Ginger Gonzaga), comparing himself to Mt. St. Helens ready to explode. Paradoxically, Jeff purchased a truly ridiculous pair of elf-like shoes, which he’s wearing on the date. Vivian seems to like the image, as she ends up sleeping with him later.

Similarly, Jeff’s estranged wife Jill (Judy Greer) and her new guy Pete (Justin Kirk) practice some ASMR in a bathtub (ASMR means “autonomous sensory meridian response,” or a tingling sensation said to be created by auditory or visual stimuli). Humorously, Peter uses the phrase, “History’s mysteries include the Tunguska event in Russia.”

Jeff seems to think things are well. He says, “I think Vivian’s my girlfriend,” and he decides to
write a song about clouds. At first, Seb and his daughter Deirdre (Catherine Keener) are concerned about the song reflecting a depressive state, but it really is just a song about clouds. Still, tension mounts as Seb demands that Jeff puts the wedding ring back on, lest kids and parents begin to question the change.

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Roly Poly

There are other burgeoning issues, too. Jeff has reservations about a planned ice skating show, Pickles On Ice, starring Tara Lipinski. He doesn’t like the idea of someone else pretending to be him, as he’s been the only Jeff Pickles since Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time began in 1987. Seb dismisses the issue, noting how he needs to separate himself from the show a bit more, maybe regard it as more of a brand. Seb sees this as realism, Jeff understandably sees it as a threat to his craft. In justifying his attitude, Seb notes that, because of the show’s success, his daughter started a school in Belize “for children with Belizean problems,” among other things.

Jeff has reasons to be suspicious, though. Seb has hired some writers, which the show never needed before. It’s definitely an interesting struggle for Jeff, and one of Kidding‘s most interesting issues (aside from the whole grieving thing). Also, probably deep down in the character’s theoretical mind, it’s plausible that Jeff fears he’ll be replaced as a son. Similarly, Dierdre wants to voice a pill bug puppet named Roly Poly, but Seb dismisses the idea, saying she’s “good at building corpses, not good at bringing things to life.”

Seb and Will’s Cheech and Chong moment

Later in the episode, Seb sits with his grandson Will (Cole Allen) to smoke some pot with Will, telling him it’s the last time Will can ever smoke it. It seems to work, as Will rejects the offer to smoke more later on. It’s a rare moment where Seb authoritatively devised a solution, as opposed to creating more tension in his family. It also proves that Seb has the capacity for creative solutions to perceived problems, so there may be hope for him (and Jeff) yet.

Pickles on ice

Though Jeff’s slated to be replaced by Tara Lipinski during Pickles On Ice, it’s apparent that Jeff Piccirilo is actually a talented skater, as he joins Vivian on a skating rink. It hints at a possible bargaining chip for a future episode, where Jeff may ask to represent himself on the ice.  Either that or Seb will just ignore the option altogether, and Jeff knows this already.

Later, when he tries to pay for someone’s meal, his credit card is declined due to suspicious activity. He immediately suspects his son for it. When he confronts Will, he tries to be understanding, reminding him that everyone makes mistakes. In the process, Will swears and laments how his father’s always supplying him with life lessons. Jeff cringes at the swearing, reminding him, “Our words have power.” However, it’s obvious that Jeff’s words have a limited power.

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Meanwhile, Jeff is increasingly distressed about his dad undermining him. He even clenches his fists on the way to confront him about it, suggesting a lot of hostility toward dear old dad (echoing sentiments that Will has toward him). However, on the way to meet Seb, Jeff sees a woman wearing an over-sized, puppet-like mask of him, and she says, “Hi , I’m Jeff.” Finally, there’s a big reveal: Jeff’s ridiculous shoes were the suspicious transaction all along!

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