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ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry$
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Marcelline Block and Jennifer Kirby

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456012.001.0001

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Death and Pickles: Thinking through Gondry’s Neighborhood

Death and Pickles: Thinking through Gondry’s Neighborhood

(p.213) Chapter 13 Death and Pickles: Thinking through Gondry’s Neighborhood
ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry

Lisa DeTora

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter Lisa DeTora analyses the first season of Dave Holstein’s Showtime series, Kidding (2018–2020), for which Michel Gondry served as an executive producer and directed eight episodes. The series stars Jim Carrey, who had previously starred in Michel Gondry’s acclaimed film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). In Kidding, Carrey plays Jeff Piccirillo, aka Mr. Pickles, the host of a successful children’s puppet television show, which he has developed with his father, who produces the show, and his sister, who designs the puppets. DeTora argues that the series returns Gondry to his perennial themes of the instability of identity and the difficulty of separating real life from imagination. Jeff articulates his thoughts and processes his emotions through the gleefully surreal puppet show and even imagines people in his life as puppets. His world is thrown into disarray when his father threatens to replace him because he is consistently trying to smuggle adult themes into the show, thus causing Jeff to question the relationship between his own identity and that of Mr. Pickles. The chapter analyzes the first season of the show and its exploration of identity crisis, acknowledging its links with Gondry’s wider body of work.

Keywords:   Michel Gondry, Kidding, Jim Carrey, Identity, Television, Puppets

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