Season 1, Episode 5: “The New You”
Directed by Michael Gondry
Written by Cody Heller
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Bye, Mom” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Cookie” – click here
We get a glimpse of an older time in the life of the Piccirillo family, seeing Seb (Frank Langella) shout like a madman at his son playing hockey, pushing a young Jeff to be a really aggressive male. What becomes clearer than ever, like we’ve seen, Seb’s a manipulator, and he’s used his son in various ways for his whole life.
In current day, Seb assuages his guilt by donating $300K to Save the Children. Meanwhile, Jeff (Jim Carrey) is out buying ridiculous new shoes and going to dinner with Vivian (Ginger Gonzaga). There’s a “tremendous amount of pent up anger” inside him coming out gradually. He’s feeling like “magma from the neck down.” Because, for however long, Jeff’s been falling into his Mr. Pickles persona to move away from the negativity of his father, burying those feelings of rage and resentment someplace.
How long until he snaps?
At home, Jill (Judy Greer) is trying to move on with her boyfriend Peter (Justin Kirk). Their sexy nights are interrupted by the old Piccirillo answering machine message. She’s trying to start a new life, so she starts by erasing one of the last remnants of her dead son’s voice— it’s necessary, that doesn’t alter its difficulty.
Both Seb and Deirdre (Catherine Keener) are hyper-vigilant about Jeff, believing he’s headed for disaster. They’re constantly micromanaging every last thing he does, right down to fretting over him no longer wearing a wedding ring. Seb’s concern about the “electrical nipple of technology” and its effects on kids is merely a masquerade to make him look like he cares, when he’s just doing what capitalists do. They’re talking to Tara Lipinski about the possibility of Pickles On Ice. Jeff refuses, then dad tells him it’s going ahead anyway and gaslights him. He’s not happy, starting to finally see the truth about his father— that anger might come out sooner rather than later.
There’s also the tenuous relationship between father and daughter, as Seb says: “You‘re good at building corpses, Didi, you‘re not so great at bringing things to life.” She wants an active role in Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time considering dad’s pushing her brother out. She feels her marriage crumbling, and wants more out of life.
Seb smokes a joint with Will (Cole Allen) to try levelling with him. He tells the kid smoking weed’s breaking his dad’s heart. This actually seems to get to the boy, who tells his friends he’s trying to “smoke less.” Maybe there’s a tiny heart in Seb’s chest. (MAYBE.)
At a rink, Jeff and Vivian skate. A bunch of kids recognise him, so he has fun skating with them, too. He and Vivian talk about his problems. She gives him some old Hindu advice: “Punch your fucking father in the face.” Jeff also offers up his credit card to pay for whatever anyone wants at the rink cafe. He’s a truly good person, all the Mr. Pickles stuff isn’t an act. Sucks when he discovers his credit card’s cut off.
“The world needs more Jeffs”
Jeff goes to see his son, wondering if Will’s used his card lately. The boy’s pissed off with “the lessons” his dad is always handing out. He wants to be listened to, not lectured at, and prefers his grandfather’s approach. This really sets Jeff off, heading to the studio to confront Seb. He instead finds Tara wearing a model of his head, introducing herself to him. Symbolically, he takes off his shoes and puts them in front of her. When he leaves, he gets a call from fraud protection because he spent nearly $700 on those ridiculous shoes, finding he’s the one who overcharged his card. A subtle suggestion he needs to look inward rather than outward in general.
Will’s breaking into the house next door to his own, not knowing it’s his dad’s place, so he and his friends can smoke more weed. Will this end in tragedy? Jeff accidentally left the gas running, it’s been filling up for ages. Oh my god. This could get extremely dark.
We’ll have to wait and see what’ll happen next on Kidding. There’s a possibility of something horrific occurring. Let’s hope not. “The Cookie” is next time.