TV Review: Kidding E1 (S1): Green Means Go

KIDDING EP1: GREEN MEANS GO 

Starring: Jim Carrey, Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Catherine Keener, Juliet Morris
Created by: Dave Holstein
Written by: Dave Holstein
Directed by: Michel Gondry

[MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD]

“You are not a real person. You are a man in a box. People see a trusted brand. No one sees the man.”

This is a show I’ve been personally excited about for the past few months. Kidding just feels like it embodies everything I might want, need and love from a television show. Jim Carrey? Check. Amazing cast? Check. Show build off of children’s programming. Check. Emotional baggage from a man only trying to do good in the world? Sign me the fuck up. Upon viewing the first episode, Kidding proved to be everything I wanted and then some. A soft show built off of feelings that are going to explode at any second, and I can’t WAIT.

Kidding tells the story of a children’s television host named Mr. Pickles aka Jeff (Jim Carrey). After one of his sons dies tragically in an accident, Jeff’s whole world is turned upside down. Out of his house, separated from his wife, unable to connect with his son, and trying to make the shows he NEEDS to make, Jeff still tries to hold onto tightly to the Mr. Pickles persona as hard as he can. However, you quickly realize that everything will sooner or later come crumbling down. 

Kidding is soft in its approach but brutal in its execution. It’s almost how life is with all of us at times. We come into life trying to be the best we can be. We try to give out good into the world, but what if that world doesn’t want to give it to us back? Do we still try to soldier on and be the best person we can be? Or do we crumble underneath the weight of all of it? Dave Holstein creates a perfect amount of questions that shine through Jeff as he takes this journey and creates a unique and heartwarming experience full of love, longing, and sorrow.

I can talk in absolute length about it, but Dave Holstein’s writing is SO FUCKING GOOD. Mix this in with Michel Gondry’s direction, and there’s a masterpiece brewing. Let’s jump back and talk about Dave’s writing in this first episode and what is means for Jeff cause I have some THOUGHTS. 

Jeff is trying his best to bring a little light into the world. Harder than most of us try in our daily lives. He aims to let kids and adults express their feelings. With Green Means Go, we’re immediately met with the enormous burden of both Mr. Pickles and Jeff. Two sides of Jeff that he needs to balance. It’s hard because he is this brand, but it’s harder when it feels like no one has your back. He also needs to express what he thinks, feels, needs and wants before they bubble to the surface. Everyone thinks that Jeff hasn’t had the processing time to grieve and mourn, but he’s trying to do it his own way.

This is even harder as he goes through this tragedy. His wife, Jill (Judy Greer), has left him. Will (Cole Allen), his son, doesn’t want anything to do with him. His father, Sebastian (Frank Langella), and sister, Deirdre (Catherine Keener), are both working with him, but also don’t acknowledge that he needs them. He spreads these messages of cheer, of love, of feelings and acceptance, but at the first sign of him trying to express and trying to do the right thing in his grief and helping the grief of others, he’s shut down. This allows him to act on his first piece of rebellion. (I will dive into some psychology (as much as I know… mostly based off feelings though) with this show as I do the recaps. Stick with me.)

Jim Carrey stumbles on a roll that he was utterly born to play. I usually say that about a lot of what Jim Carrey does cause he’s a good person under all that mess man, but this is something that he brings his A-game to. No one can do what Jim Carrey does in this world and with his serious type roles is where he shines the brightest for me. Carrey and Michel Gondry have worked together before on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (top five favorite movies of all time, please don’t @ me unless you want more psychological babble from me). They know each other and Gondry pulls something out of Carrey that feels so… him. 

Catherine Keener and Frank Langella slay as his father and sister. It took me by surprise how perfect they are as a family. You don’t get the sense that they are related until they sit down at the dinner table together, which is a little shock to the audience, but rabbit holes you a little deeper into Jeff’s life. Judy Greer should be in EVERYTHING. I am 100% Judy Greer trash as we should all be. Even though she plays these roles where she’s a major or minor character, she makes her presence known. She was honestly the best part of the Ant-Man movies for me.  

Verdict: WATCH IT!

If you’re familiar or love Mister Rogers Neighborhood, then you will be thrilled about Kidding. I kid you not. It’s a sombering yet funny look inside the world of children’s tv, but also explores a man that needs to release in his own way while spreading the message of life. 

Until next time partners, see you next week! 

writes for geek.com. co-managing editor & tv/film editor for rogues portal. hufflepuff. talks on film runners. loves true crime. tries her best. stays the weirdest.

Insha Fitzpatrick

writes for geek.com. co-managing editor & tv/film editor for rogues portal. hufflepuff. talks on film runners. loves true crime. tries her best. stays the weirdest.

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