Sunday, September 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'Kidding' - Jeff Goes Out on a Date to Deal With His Heartbreak in 'Every Pain Needs a Name'

Showtime's Kidding - Episode 1.03 "Every Pain Needs a Name"

Jeff tries to fix his heartbreak. Deirdre deals with her daughter's developing medical condition. Seb outlines the future of Mr. Pickles' Puppet Time without Jeff. Jeff tries to get Will off pot by giving him a hobby.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of Showtime's Kidding.

"Every Pain Needs a Name" was written by Halley Feiffer and directed by Jake Schreier

The set piece in which the narrative takes the viewer through the years of Shaina's life as it changes thanks to watching Mr. Pickles' Puppet Time is absolutely astonishing. It's so masterful and seamless as well. The show makes it seem like Jeff is the one constant in her life. The camera always returns to him on the television with the same broadcast playing. He's talking about liking every part of ourselves even the ones we're ashamed of. Meanwhile, Shaina is completely transforming her life. She's getting rid of a cocaine addiction and lousy boyfriends. She was inspired and her life changed because of Mr. Pickles. That's something that Jeff has heard so many times over the years as well. What he does with his show is an inspiration. People have radically changed their lives to reflect the values that he teaches. That makes Jeff feel very important and loved. And yet, it isn't inspiring here when Shaina tells him the same message that he has heard for years. In fact, Seb sets them up on a date just so Jeff can get something new in his life like Jill has done. He is only asking for a first kiss. Meanwhile, Jeff ends the night with a profound realization. He is learning just how much he can change if he puts the effort into it. He understands the importance he has. He has tried channeling that into a new message lately. And now, he is still largely acting out in defiance of his father. He is having sex with a woman when his father texts him asking if he got a kiss. Jeff is still completely courteous though. He doesn't take advantage of a woman passed out in the hallway. In fact, he cares for her despite her drinking too much and having an inconsiderate roommate. But even that sends a mixed message. Jeff believes he is communicating his intentions clearly. And yet, he's surprised by people believing he isn't a sexual being. He believes it would be so scandalous for people to see him out on a date with someone other than his wife. Seb sees it as a completely nonissue. Mr. Pickles isn't a sexual being. As such, that should entitle Jeff to some anonymity and people believing he could never act improperly. And yet, this is fundamentally a story about Jeff's life falling to pieces and him now doing things that Mr. Pickles would never previously do. He is trying to change his life. That has forced his father to start plotting against him and the show. He is making plans for Mr. Pickles to essentially be replaced. There are voice actors out there who could play the role in an animated version. There are plans to launch new dolls and an ice show for the world to get used to someone other than Jeff playing Mr. Pickles. Seb is very crafty and capable at his job. He knows exactly how to manipulate the market into being as profitable as ever before. He's just doing so at the expense of his son who is going through something right now and doesn't have any of the answers to the profound questions he is now asking. He lived a privileged life. And now, he's still benefiting from that privilege despite the changes.