“War is what happens when language fails.” – Margaret Atwood
Two kids, Josip (Roman Coto) and Grugr (Milos Jovanovic) happily frolic, firing finger pistols at one another among the rubble in a destroyed Vukovar, Croatia in 1991. Josip winds up for a pitch. STEEERIKE ONE. The two whippersnappers barely escape with their lives to their haven, surrounded by like-minded children enjoying Puppet Time amid the outside fray. That is until an explosion freezes the television reception. Now it’s Josip’s time to shine as he winds up for the pitch. STEEERIKE THREE. What people fail to realize is when a grenade goes off, the first strike could be as lethal as the third. Welcome to Kidding (Showtime) episode 4, “I Wonder What Grass Tastes Like.”
Back in present-day Croatia. Josip (Johnny Kostrey) collects the profits from listen-to-me Pickles. Josip’s grown up and takes zero shit if he’s slighted. He’s about to show the cashier some Pickles hospitality served up Croatian style until one of the toys starts talking. Josip goes creepily spot-on into Mr. Pickles mode and sings along with the toy. Josip takes the doll in lieu of his slight and the cashier gets to live another day. Now Jeff has an ally on one of the most deadly borders of the world- Serbia and Croatia.
Meanwhile, halfway across the globe, Mr. Pickles (Jim Carrey) sits on a panel with the women of The Talk. Eve jokes about it being Alexa with a middle-aged man on the other end. Marie Osmond is worried more parents aren’t worried about the toy. Sharon Osbourne brings him up not having a show anymore. Jeff knocks all questions out of the park with class and poise. The audience seems behind him, which is good because Sheryl Underwood announces that the entire audience is getting a listen-to-me Pickles.
In the follow-up, we see that Jeff is in pain from the operation, but refuses to take opiates due to the epidemic the nation is currently in. Now, there’s smart and there’s self-righteous (aka stupid). There’s also sanctimonious and honest. Jeff wants something natural to relieve the pain. Something non-addictive. Paging Dr. Greenthumb… and Big P!
“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” – Leo Tolstoy
That night, a very dressed to the nines and looking like a ten Diedre (Catherine Keener) meets up with an Amazon streaming executive. He’s agreed to buy the archives (sans the recent content) and refuses to put Puppet Time back on the air. Diedre reminds the executive that Jeff’s dolls are selling like crazy through none other than Amazon’s website. She lays out the terms of shooting in Columbus, Ohio, not informing Jeff of there being things he cannot say, complete creative control and that every child in America being able to watch the show for free. This makes complete sense. Despite their shilling for donations, PBS was never behind a paywall of any sort. The executive is curious before she goes to a competitor.
Peter (Justin Kirk) hobbles next door to Jeff’s for lunch (cereal). Peter admits that having Jeff “inside” of him is basically the same- with one exception.. trying things he hasn’t done before… like fucking trying to walk again. For a moment, I’m sure Jeff probably chubbed up a little bit. Peter didn’t realize offering Mr. Pickles a doob on Christmas Eve (a time for GIFTING by the by!) would hit Jeff the wrong way but Peter… well, the right way? Apologizing to Jeff, Jeff asks for help in finding some of the sticky-icky.
Peter surreptitiously tries to procure the sweet stuff at a dispensary, using his status as a doctor to score some for a patient who’s “a well known public figure.” Alas, the law is the wall precluding Jeff’s anonymity.. until Peter tells the person behind the bulletproof glass who it is. Yeah, apparently Jeff has six strands named after his show. Jeff seems worried, but the employee assures Jeff that she’s watched Puppet Time many a time while medicated. Jeff’s become his own sub-culture!
As the woman behind the counter dissects truth behind Puppet Time and the metaphors Jeff didn’t even realize, he’s becoming more curious about this new journey. On asking Peter how his recovery is going, well, outside of quitting smoking and drinking on the fact he’s lost have his liver, onset of acute E.D. and losing his job, he’s doing pretty alright. He’s also fucking high. Peter and Jill have gotten stronger, but Jeff’s bit has a bit more to do with loneliness than anything else.
Because Jeff doesn’t want to smoke anything, they supply him with a tea inside. Jeff invites Peter to sip drugs with him. As they imbibe a joint through a classy tea set, Jeff and Peter exchange stories about losing their V-Cards. From personal experience, if it’s your first time, there’s no Valentine’s Day platitude written on it. There never is. Jeff’s experience was as magical as it sounded though. Jill (Judy Greer) arrives and doesn’t even care that they are drinking weed, but may like Jeff’s new ‘do… oh and Jeff is high.
As Diedre attempts to play the piano she claimed as her own wearing a tuxedo, Scott (Justin Kirk) comes down and reminds her that an Amazon deal or any deal would make her in better standing with being more excited. Poor Diedre, he didn’t even notice you were dying in triple time.
As Seb (Frank Langella) in his bed carves out the middles of soft bread (I’m sure they did that on purpose), he puts on a tux for going out Diedre’s award ceremony. YUP, she paid it all back to a legit charity she started. I initially thought Seb was putting on a tux to off himself since he’s out of the only thing he knows and in this case, he probably wishes he had.
At the post-ceremony dinner, Seb ignores his daughter completely at their table. Her daughter Maddy (Juliet Morris) knows the score, saying that it was just all for tax evasion. Nobody can look up, all eyes are down… because she has a glue problem. You’ll figure it out.
As Jeff and Peter decide to take on an idea put forth while high go up on an elevator, Peter calls Jeff a genius. His blood in the nethers came back. Big P! decides to return the favor of Jeff’s first sexual experience. As Jeff goes South on the elevator, he’s due North somewhere else. Thankful, they both depart, as now his enemy wants to go fuck his love. Awkwaard!
“War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.” – Winston Churchill
As Jeff is talking to Josip while shaving, they have a heart to heart. It’s nearly Charlie Kaufmanesque. It’s Jeff talking to Jeff… but not as Jeff. Jeff likes Josip and wants him to phone in a voice proxy of him to sign the papers (because the real Jeff can’t simply bring himself to do it.) The only condition, he’s there to do it with her.
As the call ends, Diedre breaks in to take Jeff to his new set. Jeff is ecstatic to meet his old friends but his new set on a bigger budget. Diedre falls back into comfort in her new seat as chairwoman.
At the deposition, Diedre and Scott through their attorney’s go through the financials and meet at a stalemate.. until Diedre’s creations, which are valued at millions come into play. Because they agreed to split everything 50/50, Scott, albeit the cheating one, consumes with delight the banana SPLIT.
This means Scott takes hold of Ennui Le Triste (valued at 26.1 mil), Snagglehorse (valued at 18.2 mil), Thump Thump (valued at 9.4 mil), the Oops (valued at 12.4 mil), Astrontter (valued at 21.4 mil) and most importantly Uke-Larry (valued at unknown.)
This episode was for all intents and purposes the least imaginative when it came to the Puppet Time world. However, it made Jeff more human to us. He was reaching out for help and asking for forgiveness. He was trying new things and for once made him accepting to new experiences, which in his little bubble, was a step in the right direction.
I mean, would you like Mr. Rogers more if you knew he toked up now and again? I bet you would and the new Pickles embraces that for the time being and, full disclosure, I’d be more comfortable if knowing saints weren’t perfect… which they aren’t. They are just dicks making up for their mistakes and canonized for doing something we all do. Making boo-boo’s and fucking putting a band-aid on it until it is healed (though we sometimes like to pick the at wound so the skin grows stronger.)
Spoiler alert: It just leaves a bigger scar.