“Ariana plays Piccola Grande, the Pickle Fairy of Hope — and the more hope you have, the bigger she is,” series creator and executive producer Dave Holstein tells EW exclusively. “You can expect her to melt your heart and empty your eyes.”
Grande excitedly announced her guest role via Twitter in July, alongside a photo of her tenderly embracing Carrey.
“No words do this moment justice,” she wrote. “Thankful for the most special experience of my life. Nothing is crazier than getting to work with and spend time with someone whom you’ve idolized and adored since before you could speak … This was a DREAM of an experience.”
Holstein says the admiration was mutual and quite evident between Grande and Carrey while shooting the episode.
“You know, Jim and Ariana are two kindred spirits who have spent their careers turning pain into art — and somehow still have a lot of fun doing it,” he says.
Earlier Thursday, EW revealed that legendary actor Dick Van Dyke will also guest-star on the Showtime series’ second season, bringing to life the puppet Hopskotch. In addition to lending his speaking voice, Van Dyke will sing a special song with Carrey.
Grande will be singing in her episode, too.
“There are four original songs in Ariana’s episode, and she lends her incredibly beautiful voice to two of them,” Holstein says. “Her character is the personification of hope. Her mantra is: ‘If you can see me, how bad can things be?’”
Discussing the significance of music in season 2, Holstein adds, “My background is musical theater. I’ve been writing musicals with [Kidding songwriter] Alan Schmuckler since college. I love the emotions you can express with song that you can’t express any other way. I think it’s safe to say we have a big surprise almost every episode this season, but Ariana’s episode might be the biggest creative swing we’ve ever taken… but I won’t say much more than that!”
Check out Grande, Carrey, and fellow series star Catherine Keener having a magical time in the photos below: