KIDDING


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    WROT Puppet workroom...

    Jeff Piccirillo/Mr. Pickles [Jim Carrey] with
    Viva Lost Pages, a new puppet for his long-running beloved children’s show Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time...
    All of the puppets are based on real people in his life.
    You’ll learn more about Viva’s touching story further in the gallery...

    Photo by Paul Sarkis ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    WROT Puppet workroom...

    Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA gives us insight into the sets for this disarmingly brilliant show...
    See photos here, and for even more details, see the video interview below!

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Swazzle, Inc...

    “This is a research field trip my crew and I made to Swazzle puppet studios, where we met with puppeteers/puppet makers, twin brothers Patrick & Sean Johnson...
    Great fun and fascinating research!”


    Left to right: Don, Puppeteer Patrick Johnson, Artist/Set Dresser Paula Zimmerman, Leadman Ken Turek, Buyer Christine Staggs, Puppeteer Sean Johnson, and the eternally curious Sy the Wide-Eyed Fly ©Showtime


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s home workroom...

    Jeff’s sister is the puppet maker for his show, which has been running for 30 years on Public Access TV. Diers et cie established two different workrooms for her, the one at the studio, and a more personal one at her home.
    He reveals...

    “Artist/Set Dresser Paula Zimmerman [pictured] spent more than a week working at Deirdre's worktable. We wanted the keep mess Paula made on the table and floor to ensure that we achieved a true artist’s presence in Deirdre's home workroom. We used odd vintage bins, baskets, lunch boxes, and many handmade pieces to create the character and backstory of the space...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    WROT Costume room...

    The poster...the puppets...the patterns...It's visual alliteration!

    Don notes,
    “We rented real puppet costume patterns and puppet hats, as well as partial puppets from puppet makers James Hayes and Swazzle studios...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    WROT Puppet workroom...

    “Detail of the WROT Puppet workroom, notice one newspaper article taped at Deidre’s station. I wanted to acknowledge for her one the few times she gets a bit of press...”

    Editor’s note: So much more from Don in the video interview below!

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    WROT Puppet workroom...

    “Jeff gives Deirdre one of Vivian's favorite sweaters to create a puppet from before Vivian's death from cancer...”

    Jim Carrey, Catherine Keener.
    Photo by Paul Sarkis ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time stage...

    “Jeff introducing Vivian to her puppet namesake
    ‘Viva Lost Pages’.
    She is the Librarian who seems to have a knack for losing the pages to books. A metaphor for Vivian's limited time to finish her life story...”


    Ginger Gonzaga, Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Paul Sarkis ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time,
    Season 31, Episode 1...


    The show gets a reprieve and is back after having been canceled in its 30th Season! And there’s a special guest for the first episode of the 31st Season...
    Ariana Grande as Picola Grande, The Pickle Fairy of Hope...

    Photo by Beth Corey Dubber ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time returns...

    The comeback is noted...
    Jeff is interviewed by journalist Lesley Stahl...

    Don points out,
    “The Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time set in the background was, we find out later, almost a replica of Jeff & Deirdre's childhood home...”

    Jim Carey, Lesley Stahl.
    Photo by Beth Corey Dubber ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time - International...

    “Here we see the Japanese Mr. Pickles-san as he is retiring.
    We would change out small dressing for each country's set...”


    Taka Arai.
    Photo by Erica Parise ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff & Deirdre’s childhood home...

    The Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time set is a direct reflection of Jeff’s memories of his childhood home, pictured here.

    In real time, the KIDDING puppet show set was created first and this one based on it!

    Zackary Arthur, Brooke Fontana.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff & Deirdre’s childhood home...

    Don & team jumped into the “origin” story aspect...

    “This is creative young Jeff's first version of ‘Pickle Barrel Falls’. He has the ‘Town Square’ with the fountain in a ‘70's parfait cup. The Lego cactus of ‘Confettii Canyon’ is on the right. Top right corner, on a mantle shelf sits a rocket ship top...Aston-Otter's, perhaps?”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff & Deirdre’s childhood home...

    “Here's young Jeff's version of ‘Secret Chef's Castle' made of white bread, with the entrance flanked by cutlery. Pasta and peanuts were used to create the ‘Pickle Barrel Falls’.
    This was scripted set dressing created by Paula Zimmerman under Production Designer Max Orgell's instructions, in addition to vintage fabrics, furniture and props I found...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff & Deirdre’s childhood home...

    On the window seat in the background of this flash back sequence, Diers gave us a visual origin story for Deirdre’s world...unscripted details he refers to as “Young Deirdre's fabric crafting mess...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Seb’s office...

    Jeff and Deidre’s father, Seb [Frank Langella], is the Producer of the show...and of all things Mr. Pickles-related. There is a constant disconnect between him and his son about the branding and merchandizing. His son feels it’s ethically challenging. The father sees it as finance and power-making. Ethics are for his son to deal with...

    Diers team procured and created all of the merchandize, including:
    Secret Chef kitchen toys,
    Sy the Fly crayons,
    Snaggle Horse baby powder and diapers, along with
    Mr. Pickle mugs and lunchboxes, etc.
    Scripted Sy the Fly mirror has place of honor on the wall...

    Check the interview below for great details!

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Seb’s office...

    A bit of magical realism here...
    Hopscotch the Sasquatch, an obvious metaphor for Jeff’s father, who often puts his foot down...
    Every time Hopscotch jumps, the world shakes...

    Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Erica Parise ©Showtime. All rights reserved.





  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Seb’s office...

    Don recalls,
    Set Dec and Props provided doubles and triples of Seb's lamps, desk dressing for the scripted stunt where Jeff goes postal in Seb's office.
    We only had one desk. But it held up...


    Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Erica Parise ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s new office...

    In Season 2, Deirdre, as the new producer, has taken over Seb’s old office and made it a point to erase everything of his. The only thing that remains in this stark white universe is the merchandise.
    Don says,
    “Visible toys and products from previous seasons we created: Pickle pens, Oops tops, and even Green rock candy as Pickle-flavored rock candy! Graphic Designer Diane Chadwick created the ‘Talking to Children’ book in Season 1...”

    Frank Langella.
    Photo by Beth Corey Dubber ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s kitchen...

    Season 2, Deirdre and her daughter Maddy...
    Dierdre says, “I’m always asking myself, ‘Am I trying too hard? Or not enough?”

    Art from Enchanted Studio Props, Chris Art Resource, Dina Art, Hollywood Studio Gallery.

    Catherine Keener & Juliet Morris.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s living room...

    Don explains,
    “Because there was so much art in Deirdre's world, in her living room, I decided to mix it up with textiles, game boards, barometer...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s living room...

    “Deirdre's living room is full of handmade crafts and art. We used strong patterns and warm colors to express her bohemian spirit. The turkey-hands were created as if by her daughter Maddy for the Thanksgiving episode...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s living room...

    Note the window seat and couch are in the same position as their childhood home, the oval rag rug is now a needlepoint square, but still the repeating outline pattern...

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s living room...

    “Looking a bit empty in Season 2 after her husband Scott moves out. We needed to show visible loss in her life. Brother and sister together, though...”

    Catherine Keener, Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.




  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s home workshop/studio...

    “Victorian headboard used as bulletin board.
    We created puppets to convey Deirdre's history. Most of these puppets & puppet sketches are by set dresser/artist Paula Zimmerman. We added in many handmade elements and a wide-ranging warm palette...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s home workshop/studio...

    “I love detail shots in character sets. Here we find self-portraits...the painting and the doll...hats for puppets and details giving insight into her creative mind...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s home workshop/studio,
    Mother/daughter time...


    “We wanted to visually break up the plane of windows with stained glasswork and shadow puppets.
    Maddy also gets crafty in the workroom...”


    Watch the interview below, where Don explains the importance of having her home workshop being more personal and visually different than the one at work, not only to convey more of her world, but also when there are closeups, to know which space she's in...

    Catherine Keener & Juliet Morris.
    Photo by Erica Parise ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s dorm room,
    Ohio State University...


    “In this flashback, we learn a bit of Deirdre’s backstory, studying Art, her dream to study in Japan.
    We see evidence of her early drawings, paintings and puppets...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Deirdre’s dorm room,
    Ohio State University...


    “Diorama to left: two otters or beavers, perhaps origin of Astron Otter or the Bickering Beavers. We see a lot of her 1980's collages, doll fashions, plus projects tucked into shelves...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff’s Sad Apartment...

    Such a great juxtaposition, Deirdre’s layers and colorful palette with his almost empty space, the pickle-green subtle but definitive.

    Don says,
    “This was literally scripted as ‘Jeff's Sad Apartment’, it has been Jeff’s home since the separation, a deliberate contrast of Jill's nice middleclass home...his former home...”

    Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Erica Parise ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jeff’s Sad Apartment...

    “Near the Ohio State campus – kind of reverting to his life before he & Jill got married, a kind of safe place for him.
    There are multiple layers of symbolism in this “Magic Show” kit that he gives his surviving twin son Will...”


    For more details & revelations, watch the great interview below!

    Cole Allen, Jim Carrey.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Jill’s house, Jeff’s former home...

    “Jill is a nurse...the home reflects an order, symmetry, everything has its place. The color palette is cool: hospital blues and muted greens...”

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    St. Joan's Hospital O.R. ...

    “Here we are with a motif we sort of repeat in the show about identity, or about parallel identities...of twins...and of knowing who you are...
    Of course, when you do a liver transplant, you have both beds in here, so we designed that to be absolutely symmetrical, but then we have the magical realism when he’s in that dreamlike state and the walls suddenly start to fall away and nature encroaches...we end up in a “real” Pickle Barrel Falls waterfall and lake...”


    Note: Watch Don’s interview below for more in depth about this magical realism and where it leads!

    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Tara Lipinski’s home...

    Don notes,
    “Just one of the many swing sets from Season 2...
    Here, a custom painting I commissioned to express the joy of skating for the Olympic Gold Medalist, the youngest skater to ever win the Gold.
    The clock is a featured prop we created. It includes her photo and an ice skate finial...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.


  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Scott’s gaudy mansion...

    After he divorces Deirdre and takes...
    (Well, we can’t tell you, you must watch the show!)
    However, Don gives us a little behind-the-scenes note...

    “This is the ‘Scott's Gaudy Mansion Bedroom’.
    We struck this set moments after they shot it in order to immediately redress it as part of ‘Scott's Gaudy Mansion Foyer’...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Filipino Merchant Marine ship...

    “Detail of ‘Sailor's Quarters’ on the ship.
    Traditional pastries and snacks are from a Filipino bakery near my house...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Serbian Croatian War...

    “I was so excited to find this vintage Soviet gas pump at an antique mall!
    My Leadman Ken Turek and the crew dropped load after load of concrete debris on top of ‘Croatian’ streets to re-create the visual carnage we viewed in our research...”


    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Serbian Croatian War,
    Vukovar, Croatia...


    “The young Serb Josip in the Croatian second floor apartment, adjusting one of the last working televisions in town so they can watch Mr. Pickles Puppet Time...”

    Roman Coto.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.




  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Serbian Croatian War,
    Vukovar, Croatia...


    “We created several debris islands to dress into frame for a long dolly shot through the war torn Eastern European town...”

    Roman Coto, Milos Jovanovic.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.




  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    Josip’s bedroom, present day Croatia...

    “He is a thug, but the director requested that he should be into cats.
    I had the pillowcase sewn at Omega|Cinema Props with fabric from Michael Levine...”


    Johnny Kostrey.
    Photo by Nichol Wilder ©Showtime. All rights reserved.




  • Set Decorator
    Don Diers SDSA
    Production Designer
    Maxwell Orgell
    NBC


    The end...

    But wait, there’s more!
    Watch Don’s interview below!

    Don Diers, Hopscotch the Sasquatch.
    Photo courtesy DD/Showtime.



March 5th, 2020

 
 
In his first series regular role in over two decades, Jim Carrey stars as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, an icon of children’s television and a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him. But when this beloved personality's family begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale, fable or puppet will guide him through the crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: a kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. --Showtime
 
Jim Carry shares,
“What I really like about this whole project is that no matter how bad things may look, there’s an innocence inside us that can never be destroyed. It’s always there...Jeff Pickles is a gentleman who has raised everybody’s kids for 30 years. He’s reached out through the medium of television to love people.”
 
But, as the series Creator Dave Holstein points out in a KCRW interview, 
“He’s the kindest man alive and a ticking time bomb at the same time...
At the heart of the show is a father who loses one of his identical twin boys, and is, in a way, stuck with the “ghost” of the deceased child around all the time.” [Editor’s note: The remaining twin realizes that now when people look at him, they often see both him and his dead brother.]
Dave adds, “...The show deals a lot with identity and duality...Something I came across when researching grief, is that there is a direct line from grief to identity crisis. When someone dies, you ask yourself, ‘Well who am I now?’”
 
Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA and his inimitable team* collaborated deeply with Production Designer Maxwell Orgell and his teams, Props, Graphic Design, Costume departments and puppeteers to help explore this existential question visually, creating a range of environments, from stage to personal, including some fabulous magical realism!
 
Don gives fascinating details in the video interview here, which include: 
... “The aspect of Magical Realism universe as mystery and almost a powerful spiritual force. The boy is into Magic and shares these concepts with his stoner friends. The writers provide us with an environment to believe in magic in life’s tragedy...”
...In Season 1, twin houses next door to each other. Jeff buys the one next to his ex-wife’s house to attempt maintain the life he had. But it’s only a mirror reflection, an empty shadow of his life before the death of the twin...
... Deirdre’s two Puppet workshops as a device to highlight her conflict. Her Identity as a sister, friend, coworker, creative partner etc to Jeff...and major changes in her life and home in Season 2...
... Almost identical Mr. Pickles Puppet Time sets in different countries...so many parallels and visual twinning throughout the series...
...The Mr. Pickles Puppet Time set reflecting Jeff & Deirdre’s childhood home...
...So many intentional “compare and contrast” elements...and Easter Eggs!!

Interview with Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA, held at R.C. Vintage prop house: 

Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA Interview about Showtime's KIDDING from OfficialSDSA on Vimeo.

Head Buyer Christine Staggs encapsulates the Season 2 experience:
"...A season with much larger sets, requiring larger crew and to work with special effects to configure some scenes. We had sets that were constantly moving characters and viewers between real time, imaginary worlds, and even international settings, with flashbacks and puppet sequences. At times, that meant a combo of stage and location for the same set/scene. We were constantly trying to weave these together, i.e. the ICU with partial wall filmed at the lake, and some of the art piece in the hospital in real time were echoing the imagery of the lake. Writers explored deeper the intricacy of duality when faced with changes in life which we reflected in some sets such as Deirdre’s new office and her now ex-husband’s house."
 
An example is this set change to reveal a person’s evolution over 5 years from meth junkie to going clean to finding and defining herself. And it was filmed in a non-stop sequence, which has gone viral on YouTube: 
CLICK HERE for Shaina's Apartment sequence shoot!
Don and team focused on finding not only signature pieces to enable the viewer to quickly define the changes, but also lightweight and easily movable for that extremely fast, choreographed turn around. 
 
So, check out the gallery above, with special notes from Don...plus a cameo of guest Arian Grande as the Pickle Fairy of Hope...
...and the on-camera interview with Don...
...and the fun viral set change...
And enjoy!!!
Karen Burg, 
Editor
 
 



 


 
*Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA would like to acknowledge his incomparable crew, particularly:
Leadman Ken Turek
Head Buyer Christine Staggs
Buyer Assistant Danny Diamond SDSA Associate, Season 2
Art Department Coordinator Michelle Thieme, Season 1 
Art Department Coordinator Lisa Parker, Season 2 
OnSet Dresser Tim Gideon, Season 1
OnSet Dresser Austin Randoph, Season 2
Artist/Set Dresser Paula Zimmerman
Gang Boss Eddie Tamayo, Season 1
Gang Boss Phil Bufano, Season 2
 
...And his great resources, especially the following SDSA Business Members:
   Art:
Chris Art Resource
Enchanted Studio Props
Hollywood Cinema Arts
Hollywood Studio Gallery
   Medical:
Alpha Companies Motion Picture Rentals
A-1 Medical Integration
Scott’s Mansion:
Modernica Props
Objects
   Assorted sets:
Advanced Liquidators Office Furniture
Dina Art Company
Green Set
History for Hire
Lennie Marvin’s Propheaven 
Modernica Props
Objects
Omega|Cinema Props
Practical Props 
PSW/Props Services West
RC Vintage
Sandy Rose Floral, Inc
Sony Pictures Studios
 
 


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