Kidding Season 2 finale recap: The Puppet Dalai Lama

(L-R): Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles and Michael Yama as Dalai Lama in KIDDING, "The Puppet Dalai Lama". Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME.
(L-R): Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles and Michael Yama as Dalai Lama in KIDDING, "The Puppet Dalai Lama". Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME. /

The season 2 (and series) finale of Showtime’s Kidding has some magic in store, blended with reality.

The season 2 (and likely series) finale of Kidding kicks off with a flashback to Tibet in 1706, where we briefly meet Gyatso (Khemuni Norodom) and his lover (An Phan), whose lives seem to parallel those of Jeff “Pickles” Piccirillo (Jim Carrey) and Jill (Judy Greer). After that, we’re reminded that Phil (Cole Allen) saved lives after his death, thanks to his body being donated.

Jill received letters of appreciation, but hid them from Jeff, knowing he would be too focused on replying to all their letters and letting it dominate his thoughts. In fact, she now says she wants Jeff to blame her for Phil’s death for not making him wear a seatbelt immediately before the car accident.

Next, we see Jeff and Jill at Jazz class early in their relationship. Two attendees (Rachel Boston and Daniel Nguyen) ask about his puppets, suggesting it’s still early in his career. Later, Jeff is listening to jazz too loud while he dances upstairs, activating Jill to knock on his door. There’s a hint of magic in the air, though it ends up being complicated magic (of course).

Kidding: Sparks fly, but how far?

Kidding is an unusual series as it presents tragedy and mundane circumstances in an alternately magical, tragic, romantic, and comedic blender. For example, although these flashbacks are romanticized, Jeff still indicates that he’s married to his profession — a career that almost seems linked to Jeff through cosmic fate.

Also, Jeff receives the silent treatment for not accepting Jill’s offer of a romantic relationship, but elements of this struggle take on cosmic dimensions as well. Yet, at the same time, the Dalai Lama (Michael Yama) refers to Jeff simply as “the children’s puppet guy.”

Things get more literally magical during scenes of a time-freeze where, as he chases after Jill, he grabs balloons from someone then hands them to her when the world unfreezes. Even a pinball machine score seems to be part of the magical relationship narrative. The two were originally married by the Dalai Lama, but, when the magic wore off, tragic reality shone through. In the present, Jeff confesses that he blames Jill for the death of Phil, and she thanks him for finally being honest.

The series ending(?)

Kidding apparently won’t return for a 3rd season, due to low ratings. Oddly enough, though, the season 2 finale actually works fairly well as a series finale. Jeff’s show seems to be on the rebound, Seb (Frank Langella) seems happy enough, even with dementia, and it seems many conflicts are closer to resolution. Sure, Scott (Bernard White) still seems confused, and he almost seems to be dating a woman (Mariana Paola Vicente) now — though it’s unclear what is going on.

Jeff tells us that “Family can be anyone in the world who loves you,” which is a reassuring message. We’re reminded that Phil’s donated body parts are helping people live. Finally, for one last bit of magic, time freezes again and Jill almost seems to fall back in love with Jeff.

It seems we’ll never see how this might impact Pete (Justin Kirk), but it does suggest they were fated to be together, and they perhaps just needed time to sort things out. So, basically, “Kidding” still has some confusing elements in the finale, but it’s not the worst possible resolution to a series that kept its few devoted viewers on their toes.  The series does prove that, yes, a show may suffer from low ratings, but that doesn’t mean it lacks anything special worth checking out (in this case, that’s true even beyond Jim Carrey’s star power).

What are your thoughts on Kidding? Let us know in the comments!

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