Kidding Season 2, Episode 8 recap: A Seat on the Rocket

(L-R): Gwen Hollander as Astronotter and Blake Griffin as Blake Griffin in KIDDING, "A Seat on the Rocket". Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME.
(L-R): Gwen Hollander as Astronotter and Blake Griffin as Blake Griffin in KIDDING, "A Seat on the Rocket". Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME. /

Episode 208 of Showtime’s Kidding has Astronotter!

Kidding is pretty much always grappling with one tragedy or another. That’s why episode 208 shouldn’t surprise anyone. It begins with a flashback of a teacher (Catherine Adell) dying in a rocket explosion, which we later helped inspire Mr. Pickles’ character “Astronotter” (Gwen Hollander). However, the current “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time” seems to keep acquiring problems, such as pickle jars full of gasoline showing up outside of the building.

Also, due to so many of his international Pickles family quitting, Jeff “Pickles” Piccirillo (Jim Carrey) is now scrambling to help portray the many international versions of himself. This means he has to speak Japanese, and also represent the Nigerian versions, all while trying to retain their unique cultural sensibilities. If that’s not enough, Peter (Justin Kirk) is in the building, drunk because Jill (Judy Greer) rejected his marriage proposal, and putting his post-surgery liver in jeopardy.

Kidding: Will’s ongoing flights of fancy and psychic rebellion

Jeff’s son, Will (Cole Allen), continues to be snotty about Jeff not fighting to repair his relationship with Jill. Will even suggests that, if his dad was normal, he would want Peter to die! Later, Will meets his grandfather, Seb (Frank Langella), who asks if Will foresees deaths (assessing whether the boy has psychic powers). He assures him that his ideas of time travel are fantasy, saying: “Sometimes the things in your head are different from what they really are. That’s how reality works, kid.”

This Kidding episode also sees the return of Josip (Johnny Kostrey), the first Serbian Pickles. After fleeting scenes where two children (Ellie Kuykendall and Lela Hoffmeister) discuss a lack of belief in God, we get into another unfolding drama. Astronotter, a “Puppet Time” puppet originally created by Deirdre “Didi” Perera (Catherine Keener), is being used in a Mercedes ad, thanks to her recent divorce from Scott (Bernard White).

Kidding: The deep history of Astronotter

Didi seems to take particular pride in Astronotter, wanting to have the character as part of a NASA rocket mission. She angrily confronts Scott about his pathetic exploitation of the space-traveling otter, demanding that he return ownership. When he asks for a ridiculous price, it doesn’t go over well. Specifically, she threatens to hack him up with an ax belonging to their daughter, Maddy (Juliet Morris)!

Why does she care so much about the puppet? For starters, it’s linked to Jeff’s initial idea for the show itself, which was created as something positive for children after witnessing the rocket explosion. She invented Astronotter for College Jeff (Jonathan Dylan King), also demonstrating her value as a creative person (“College Dierdre” is played by Lena Drake). Fearing for his life, Scott’s compromise is she can regain ownership of Astronotter for 1 more day per week with Maddy (or “otter for more daughter”).

Kidding: A new threat

As the episode draws to a close, Jeff’s “Talk-to-Me Pickles” toy gets shut down due to threats on Jeff’s life, often from angry parents.  However, things really take off when Jeff deduces that one threat is genuine. A pyromaniac named Bobby Belongo (Matt Gourley) had been placing the gasoline-filled pickle jars outside. Jeff switches Jill and Peter’s house number so he won’t attack them. Sure enough, Bobby firebombs the empty house with a pickle jar full of gasoline

Interestingly, the new number, “4.1.81” matches the Fibonacci sequence in Will’s magic book (as seen in previous “Kidding episodes). On the bright side, Jill does propose to accept his proposal when the time is right. Finally, one should mention the strange scenes where Seb, in his state of dementia, thinks a nursing home staff member (Matthew Hancock) is Louise (Annette O’Toole) and gets some sexual favors from him during this deluded state.

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