Most mornings as I blearily and rather grumpily make coffee I look out the kitchen window and see a tui hanging around the garden. I don't live in a green, leafy suburb so I'm always pleased to see her.
She's a beautiful tui, with a deep, pearlescent streak of green and blue illuminating her otherwise pitch black feathers. These shimmer magnificently whenever the early morning sun is fortunate enough to catch ahold of them and contrast marvellously with the frothy white tufts curling out from her neck.
I have to admit I'm not a huge bird guy. They're fine, I guess, but you bet I blocked the phrase #BirdOfTheYear on Twitter because I couldn't stand everyone incessantly chirping on about it every year.
Still, catching sight of this tui flitting from tree to tree or poking about on the lawn as I sip my coffee gives me a sense of enormous well-being before I start my day.
But you know what I don't like? Death. I don't like thinking about it. I don't like watching things about it. And, I imagine, I won't particularly enjoy experiencing it when the time inevitably comes.
So had I known that Jim Carrey's new TV series Kidding was about a grieving father struggling to accept, reconcile and come to terms with the death of a child in a car accident while simultaneously dealing with a failing marriage and a son heading off the rails there's absolutely no way I would have sat down to watch it.
Fortunately those were all things I didn't know. My steely determination to avoid spoilers now apparently extending to not reading the show synopsis' offered on Neon's streaming menus.
Instead, I saw a shiny happy picture of Jim Carrey dressed as a nerdish Mr Rogers-style kids TV presenter, surrounded by characterful puppets, with his arms reassuredly open and a welcoming smile beaming on his famously elastic face.
I also thought I was on a safe ticket upon noticing its director was Michel Gondry, the acclaimed French filmmaker whose surrealistic whimsy and humorously charming visual style utilises lo-fi, real world effects, like puppetry and stop motion animation, to hi-fi results
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This power combo of Carrey and Gondry, who previously collaborated on the Academy Award winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , was convincing enough but it also had a knockout cast of indie faves like Catherine Keener, Judy Greer and Frank Langella.
How could this not be funny? Let the good times LOL, I foolishly thought as I hit play.
The series open with Carrey's character Jeff Piccirillo, more famously known as Mr Pickles, beloved host of long running kids show Mr Pickles Puppet Time , appearing on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show and leading the crowd in a bittersweet, Rainbow Connection type sing-along. But underneath Mr Pickles' gentle veneer Carrey shows a troubled man fighting back tears.
At this point I wasn't sure if the congenial and sweet Mr Pickles was an act or actually the real Jeff - for example you see him constantly, but very gently, reprimanding adults who curse around him with, "Please don't use a bad word when you can use a good word," - and this blur becomes important as the show progresses and Jeff starts struggling to discern where Mr Pickles stops and he starts.
This is exemplified by his ongoing fight to do an episode on death. Jeff feels it's crucially important to show kids how to process death and also to publically acknowledge his own tragedy. His producer, who is also his father, however is dead set against the idea, fearing it will irreparably damage the goodwill of the extremely lucrative Mr Pickles brand.
As their power struggle plays out, Jeff learns his separated wife, who he is hoping to reconcile with, has a new, blossoming relationship and his sister discovers that her husband is having an affair with their daughter's male piano teacher.
Golly. Depressed yet? Yes, it's all heavy stuff, but it's told with a supremely light touch, that's often very funny and is interspersed with Gondry's delightfully skewered sensibilities. It presents intriguing oddities - what is his son planning to do with that bag of bees? - and masterfully blends the fanciful with the blunt while anchoring the whole thing around Carrey's emotional, grief stricken performance.
Earlier in the week as I made my coffee I glanced out the window and looked around for my tui friend. I didn't see her flitting from tree to tree or poking about on the lawn. Instead, I eventually spied her lying dead on the ground under the big tree she favoured. The sun was shining but there was no magnificent shimmer or brilliant illuminance. Just a dead bird I didn't want my young children to see.
I left my coffee on the bench and went and got my shovel.