The year is 1993. We open in a commercial for a Pickles branded cereal- Best-O’s. Now if this isn’t subliminal messaging at its best, Ohh I don’t know what is. The character is Maestro Fermata. As we know, he’s known for his singing pickle choir. Inside every good or shitty cereal is a toy. In this case, a pickle that plays “You Can Feel Anything At All”. The box also folds out into a holder for not one, not two, but four sized pickles that can play in tandem.. but fuck the box. We know what moms want and it’s not a bland cereal with no additives. As the mother in the commercial recites the tag line “It’s The Cereal That Makes You Go Oh!” Welcome to the lucky seventh episode of Kidding (Showtime), “The Acceptance Speech.”
At the supermarket, there’s a cleanup on Isle 4, though the spillage would be later as women flood the cereal section to scoop up boxes of the cereal.
Back in present-day, Deidre (Catherine Keener) is blowing up Seb and Jill about Jeff’s whereabouts since the funeral. They couldn’t be bothered. Frustrated, she spends an inordinate amount of money on a vintage box of that cereal that makes ya go Oooh. Oh yeah, it went there. Mid-orgasm her daughter interrupts her and the Pickle apparatus gets lodged up in her vaginal canal, on the day of Jeff’s Lifetime Achievement Award, no less. I could spot what will happen later on a mile away, which doesn’t make it any less hilarious.
Deidre flits about the kitchen in physical agony and worried that Jeff might not show up. Assuring her that he won’t miss it, Seb (Frank Langella) at that moment bows his head, leaving Deidre to freak the fuck out. She harangues him with questions he is not answering. Maddy (Juliet Morris) notices a glazed over look in her grandfather’s eyes that Deidre in her moment of rage doesn’t. Didi storms over to the car, but Maddy stays with Seb. As the man comes back to, Maddy could tell Seb was going through something beyond his control and he tells her they need to go see a doctor stat.
At the Smithsonian reception, Derrell (Alex Raul Barrios) confronts Deidre as to Jeff’s whereabouts. All Deidre could do is flash a pained look and walk away. Zooming in on the Mr. Pickles timeline installation, we go all the way back to 1960.
There, we find Jeff (Jim Carrey) as a bartender, taking shots of J&B as two old men argue whether Kennedy or Nixon will sink the country. Jeff plays Larry, a sniper-cum-bartender. Larry goes to refill the bottle, opening a freezer door which is merely an entre into a break room. The patrons aren’t imbuing their tissues thoroughly with 80 Proof, more like 100 False. It’s Arizona Tea. What is this madness? Checking his phone for texts, Jeff laments. The last ones were all negative from Jill and Will while Deidre’s are simply worried. Jeff decides to bounce as his co-worker Cornell (Tyler, the Creator) goes after him.
At the doctor’s office, Maddy keeps Seb company. Seb suddenly swears he saw his ex-wife pass by but before he can make sense of it, his doctor comes in and drops some bad news on his lap. Seb experienced a minor stroke and at risk for a major one, as his red blood cell count is extremely high. Seb pinky swears with Maddy to keep all of this on the hush-hush.
Cornell walks the halls of his establishment with an older woman and her son, explaining that though no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s exists, treatment does in the form of nostalgia therapy. In the facility, it’s perpetually 1960. This calms the elder mind from outbursts. Jeff leaves and Cornell senses something is up. He wants to show Jeff one more thing before he leaves for the day.
Inside, the building, in addition to a bar, promenade, and other themed rooms, there is a bus stop. A lone woman looking about sits and waits. This new addition was installed to solve the problem of patients wanting to leave. They are simply escorted there and wait until they forgot what made them want to depart in the first place. Jeff worries that this is a form of lying, but Cornell counteracts with the lie being for those working there, the experience of the lie is for those staying there. Compassionate deception working at the top of its game. Reality is the disease wherein the fantasy is the pill. Jeff seems fine with that if it heals.
At the ceremony, in a moment of silence to honor the slain Filipino Mr. Pickles, Deidre, um, “goes off.” Mortified, she retreats to the bathroom. Ah, callback comedy at its finest.
Who is also not attendance is Jill (Judy Greer), who is meeting with a real estate agent Joanne (Kelly Coffield Park) for Jeff’s place. The agent believes it’s for the best to combine both houses as a packaged sale. Jill’s interrupted by an emergency call from Deidre, now in the handicapped stall. I mean, technically, she was capped by way of her hand. Jill honestly couldn’t give a shit about the whole situation but that song humming from her celebratory place now makes the situation dire.
Back at the facility, Jeff is having an escapist ball. From helping an octogenarian that thinks Jeff is his dad tie a tie, to dancing with a woman who believes Jeff is her husband. Jeff’s joy hits the skids though when approaching the Louise (Annette O’Toole) he’d seen on the bench before. Jeff calls her mom, but she doubts him. Jeff correctly guesses that she’s “headed” to Niagra Falls. He clearly knows who she is.
In the bathroom, Jill is livid for even having being put in this situation, screaming at her sister in law- “This wouldn’t have happened if you used the Alto.” Attempting to make small talk, Didi asks Jill about the proposal that Will told her about, while let’s be honest, he was being kidnapped on a ‘Copter to a fishing vessel.
As Maddy checks Sebastiano out of the hospital, he notices a woman that is a doppelganger of his ex-wife, Louise. Maddy knows it’s not, but because he asserts it, she forces him to go and say something. Indeed it does look like a more kept version of the lady Jeff was conversing with on the bench. But aren’t residents not allowed to…
As Maddy is left to fend for herself with her own dinner of an entire octopus, the tentacles are in play approaching the final act of the episode. At the restaurant, the nature of the conversation between Seb and his date goes smoothly. As the mystery woman excuses herself, she enters the men’s bathroom. In enters however as a handsome black guy, Blair (Matthew Hancock). As he returns to the table to a smiling Seb, he turns back into his ex-wife. However, panning out, we see the reality of it. Remember, the lie is for those in the know. The fantasy is for them. Oh, Sebastiano, what have you gotten yourself into?
On the bench, Jeff confesses to Louise that he just doesn’t want to be himself. The him he wants to be is someone who’s life isn’t falling completely apart or he wants to be someone who can cope. She reassures him that he can feel anything at all. Anything at all, he can feel it. Sage words from the back of a prophylactic.
Louise has the way out though. She cites her bastard of a husband and two kids she simply calls paperweights. You can always escape though. Failure doesn’t have to follow you like a slime trail. Her escape is to Niagra Falls. The only way out is simply getting on that bus.
At the event, Deidre is introduced. Well turns out she’s in a bit of a pickle or, well, vice versa. Still, on the toilet with no successful result, Didi blames all of this on men- Duterte for having draconian laws, Scott for stealing her livelihood, Seb for entrusting her with it all and Jeff for not showing up. Jill, not really having the time for any of her rantings lays something fierce into Deidre, so far as calling her Duterte. Deidre comes to the moment of clarity that’s she’s been fucking her life the whole time. Pop Goes The Pi-ckle!
Jeff arrives in full regalia to the event, crossing a glassy-eyed Jill quickly before moving on without a word. Darrel witnessing this simply says sooner or later, Mr. Pickles has to accept reality, with sooner being optimal. At the podium, Jeff talks about choosing work or family, because one is real and one’s a fantasy. Mr. Pickles is back, son!
This episode is still solid as ever, especially being centered around acceptance of all kinds. Some painful, some happy and some bittersweet. The directing duo of Bert & Bertie bring the visuals in Cornell’s facility home, almost feeling Spike Jonze like. This is a duo, though still not a household name has really good things coming to them, as a British and South African woman directing duo known for videogame scripts and fashion shoots. They’ve brought Jeff back to the light when the darkness is hitting everyone else and they perfectly set up the stage for what is bound to be three heart wrenching remaining episodes.