If you happen to be a character in a movie or a TV show, here’s important advice:
Take pause, whenever you hear yourself say: “I have to tell you something.”
NO. No, you don’t have to. This always turns out badly … just as it does when Jim Carrey’s “Kidding” (shown here) starts its second season, at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 9).
Having seen way too much TV, I know the drill: Scriptwriters need an easy way to nudge the plot, so characters confess. They tell about a kiss or a crime, an affair or eating the last cookie. It’s a bad idea.
Well, it did work out in “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice,” but that was a half-century ago. Since then, approximate 3.6 billion movie and TV confessions have backfired.
That happens on “Kidding,” just as the show seems ready to straighten itself out.
Jeff Pickles (Carrey) brings a Fred Rogers sweetness to his children’s TV show, produced by his father (Frank Langella). Jeff’s life crumbled after a car accident; his wife (Judy Greer) was driving and one of their twin sons was killed.
They divorced … and he secretly bought the house next door, spying on her and her new boyfriend. Then – in the final moments of the first season – Jeff hit the guy with his car.
Last summer, I asked Carrey if the second season would offer any sense of hope. “You’re going to see a lot of hopefulness and a lot of positive,” he said, “and really way-out-there creativity. We’re singing. We’re doing things they shouldn’t allow us to do.”
For most of Sunday’s first episode, that’s true. We’re surprised by the quiet optimism … until he decides he has to tell the truth to his wife and kids.
In one way, Carrey’s answer to my questionwas correct: Sunday’s second episode does have surreal creativity. “Kidding” is skillfully acted; the second episode adds clever songwriting, plus peeks into Jeff’s childhood.
Carrey also was correct in saying he was “doing things that they shouldn’t allow us to do.” They definitely shouldn’t allow him to confess – undburdening his soul while sabotaging a promising show.