In a world that has turned optimism into its obligatory mantra to be permanently chanted to avoid crashing and burning; in a world of social media happiness, more concerned with the desire to fit in than with the fact of actually being happy, in a world with the seal of Mr. Wonderful, a series like “Kidding” is greatly appreciated and reminds us that even though life offers us plenty of reasons to cry, it also gives us many other to smile.
The protagonist of this series is the quintessence of goodness and optimism: a soft-toned presenter of a kid’s TV show who preaches good and gives simplistic life lessons on a pastel-toned set accompanied by puppets. But what happens when tragedy strikes this guy head on like a runaway speeding train? What happens when someone who’s too good a person receives the worst blow this world could give deliver? This is what “Kidding” explores, from the starting point of the death of one of the children of this smiling-faced character, sending him plummeting directly into an emotional and psychological ICU and from where he doesn’t have the tools to get out.
The first season, located a year after the tragedy, presented a character who hadn’t managed to come to terms with what happened, trying to use his own program as a space to grieve and mourn. Played by a Jim Carrey who has managed to find nuances between pain and the need not to abandon his positive view of the world, we watch as the character slowly begins reaching the limit, until (and here comes the spoiler…) one day he snaps. Anger found a gap in which he could surface this laid back yokel who ends up running over his ex-wife’s new boyfriend. The affable character turned monster.
What happens when someone who’s too good a person receives the worst blow this world could give deliver?
In a transformation similar to “Breaking Bad”, whereas if Walter White is essentially a selfish man who finds an excuse to be so through the diagnosis of cancer, here Jeff Piccirillo is an essentially altruistic and generous man whose son’s death leads him to a place where he has no other choice but to stop being one. He needs to scream, needs to hate, needs to strike out.
“Kidding” is a series with a unique tone, halfway between melancholy and rage, innocence and cynicism, the puppet and the corpse
So, the second season doesn’t continue with the character’s progression towards a darker underbelly, because it doesn’t exist. Instead, creator Dave Holstein has chosen to offer a chronicle of how this man who had never seen himself capable of committing a crime searches for a way to make peace with himself. So the first thing he does is confess, instead of hiding what he has done. He continues wanting to be a good person. This will make him a unique character in the universe of villains who’ve populated television in recent years. And to “Kidding” a series with a unique tone, halfway between melancholy and rage, innocence and cynicism, the puppet and the corpse.
The quest for redemption for this character in Season 2 is one of the most poignant, and honest, plots I’ve seen in a long time in any series. So wonderful that I have almost forgiven Michel Gondry who has only directed two episodes this season and has merely appeared as an executive producer. Season one and two of “Kidding” are available now on Movistar.