Weird and uncomfortable is the name of the game when it comes to half-hour programming on premium cable. Unfortunately, this need to push boundaries often leaves us with shows that do nothing to engage on a narrative front. Each one just becomes an experiment in how absurd is too absurd? While Jim Carrey‚Äôs latest, directed by his Eternal Sunshine director Michel Gondry, certainly falls into this category, it actually works for one very important reason. While the show‚Äôs protagonist exists in the land of the insane, the world he lives in does not.
Created by Dave Holstein, Kidding follows the life of Jeff Pickles, a famous children‚Äôs programming star who, a year after losing his son in a tragic car accident, decides it‚Äôs time to change things up on his series in hopes of teaching lessons more meaningful than purple being more than a ‚Äúgirl‚Äôs color.‚ÄĚ
Kidding has more than enough opportunities to get too weird for its own good. And while there are plenty of moments in it that scream ‚Äúuncomfortable,‚ÄĚ and no point do they scream ‚Äúunnecessary.‚ÄĚ In fact, there even reaches a point in the second episode where its message becomes rather clear: Kidding is a show about the disruption of the establishment.
As we follow Jeff and his exploits, we understand his goal is to throw a grenade into the established order of his show, and through that, hopefully, the world and himself. He wants to be allowed to face the grief of losing his kid while also making the loss mean something for the industry he‚Äôs built.
What also works so well for the show is how ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ and relatable all the characters around Jeff are. They‚Äôre people that live in the ‚Äúreal world‚ÄĚ we understand and comprehend. On the surface, Jeff is just the weird outcast we like to poke at because it‚Äôs funny. But, beneath that is a message that the weird are the ones that will ultimately save us all. The outcast is the one with the answers if we would just take a moment to listen.
Overall, Kidding is another weird, off-putting, premium cable, half-hour drama that, for once, actually succeeds at being relatable and appealing. Despite the fact its star wants to be done with Hollywood, this is the kind of series that will remind many the of the talent Jim Carrey posses. That there‚Äôs still some fuel left in his tank. In short, Kidding isn‚Äôt going to make you laugh, but it will make you think.
Kidding premiers Sunday, September 9th at 10/9c on Showtime