Kidding has been nixed at Showtime after two seasons. The half-hour dramedy was a critical hit, but at the end of its sophomore run the Jim Carrey-led series was landing just 54,000 same-day viewers.
Showtime had originally built the project in-house with creator Dave Holstein (I’m Dying Up Here) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry, and anticipation was high for the show, which marked Carrey’s first real TV dalliance since appearing on In Living Color many, many years ago.
“After two seasons, Kidding has concluded its run on Showtime,” reads a statement on the series’ cancelation. “We are very proud to have aired this imaginative, critically acclaimed and rewarding series, and we would like to thank Jim Carrey, Dave Holstein, Michael Aguilar, Michel Gondry and the entire cast and crew for their brilliant and tireless work.”
In Kidding, Jim Carrey plays the Jeff Piccirillo, a man who has forged a career on TV as a beloved Fred Rogers-ish children’s presenter called Mr. Pickles, but after Jeff’s son dies in a car accident, he starts to fall apart emotionally. A strong supporting cast that included Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Juliet Morris, and Catherine Keener co-starred alongside the expressive comedian.
Carrey had previously described Kidding as a kind of “life raft” for viewers who were perhaps dealing with depression and grief in their own lives, sensing that it would never become a huge hit series.
“It’s like Bob Dylan,” he explained. “There are a lot of songs Bob Dylan writes that you don’t want to hear the lyrics of — it’s confronting, and it brings up painful things. But you know what? When you’re going through those painful things and you’ve just experienced something awful, or you’ve got the blues because you’ve lost something important to you, man, that Bob Dylan song is a life raft. That’s what this is. This is a life raft.”
Despite the show’s difficult themes, Gondry had seemingly also enjoyed re-teaming with Carrey on Kidding, and the pair had quickly fallen back into an honest working relationship.
“It was very easy to work together because [Carrey] has no ego,” he told Slashfilm. “You would not expect that from him but he has no ego. If I tell him the most basic direction, he’s going to follow it and try it. It’s very difficult to tell an actor that he’s overacted, because it’s embarrassing to hear. Jim, I say, “Come on, Jim. You overacted. Tone it down.” He says, “Okay, okay, sorry, sorry, I’ll do it.” Every direction he takes like that. Sometimes I don’t find this as easy with other actors because I know I have to find the right language. Our language with Jim is very quick and imaginative. It doesn’t have to have a pretence of being psychological.”
Hopefully, the pair will reunite again in the future. In the meantime, we must say a sad goodbye to this wonderful little show.