This Kidding review contains spoilers.
Kidding Season 2 Episode 4
Kidding always does a fantastic job with cold opens. Not only do they usually contextualize Jeff’s importance as a public figure and show just how deeply he’s ingrained into people’s lives, but lately this season, they also drop you into unfamiliar settings that are then tied back gracefully into the episode’s plot. It’s a neat little trick, and never more effective than in “I Wonder What Grass Tastes Like.”
Revisiting Jeff’s vocal double from last season, Josip, the episode begins in a flashback to 1991 Croatia, as Josip and his friend try to avoid violence and only find solace in watching Jeff’s show. It’s almost executed like a short film, and it’s able to be heart wrenching in such a short amount of time. Later in the episode, when Jeff needs advice from a “friend” and reaches out to Josip, it’s not just silly because Jeff is essentially having a conversation with his own voice, but it also has emotional resonance, because we know how much it means to Josip to be able to lend a hand to his “friend.”
Anyway, as you can tell through the title, “I Wonder What Grass Tastes Like” has to do with Peter and Jeff bonding over weed, which is ironic because it’s sort of what got the two men in their current predicament. Jeff can talk to children through a doll all he likes, but he needs actual friends if his emotional state is going to get any better. Even though it was all in Jeff’s imagination, Jeff needs the sort of sane, straight talk that Peter provided him while he was under for his surgery.
While Justin Kirk is a good scene partner with Carrey, it’s unfortunate that Peter never really reacts to the fact that Jeff hit him with a car. He handles it gracefully, and besides a couple of dead pan jokes, doesn’t really blame Jeff for doing what he did. They mostly pal around the entire episode, weirdly helping each other with their erectile dysfunction issues that they’ve developed post-surgery. There’s a great, funny conversation about Jeff losing his virginity to Julie Andrews backstage after a Victor/Victoria performance, but there’s not really much else happening. You’d even think the show would take advantage of Jeff being high for the first time in his life, considering what an already spacey, imaginative guy he is to begin with, but they just glide right past that as well.
Thankfully, all of the interesting stuff is happening on Deirdre’s side of things. It’s a great development, because I think one of Season 1’s biggest issues was the show not spending enough time on Deirdre and not utilizing the great Catherine Keener. Keener is given great stuff to work with in this episode. Kidding hasn’t done a scene funnier than Deirdre accepting her sham award for charity. Between the trophy having her name spelled wrong, Seb’s reaction, and the fact that she ended up gluing the trophy to her hand, it was a perfectly executed comedic sequence.
Still, Deirdre pulls it together in negotiations with Amazon, playing hardball to ensure the show keeps its integrity and that Jeff is free to express himself however he likes. Doing what Seb couldn’t, Deirdre gets Jeff’s show back on the air. It’s a triumphant moment, but then immediately shadowed by Deirdre learning that she had lost some of the show’s puppet creations in the divorce with Scott. Deirdre’s complete shock conveys how big of a blow this is; can you imagine what Jeff’s reaction will be when he sees his creations shilling for big corporations? It sort of doesn’t make sense why Scott is being so contentious here, but it’s still a great plot development.
So Jeff may have his show back, but at what cost? And will he even be able to use his favorite puppet creations? What will his reaction be toward Deirdre and will it drive him back in his father’s corner? “I Wonder What Grass Tastes Like” seemed like it was going to be another low-key episode of Kidding, but that ending certainly shakes things up.
Nick Harley is a tortured Cleveland sports fan, thinks Douglas Sirk would have made a killer Batman movie, Spider-Man should be a big-budget HBO series, and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson should direct a script written by one another. For more thoughts like these, read Nick’s work here at Den of Geek or follow him on Twitter.