Growing Up Linda: Birthday Trauma, ©2005, Marsian De Lellis

In Growing Up Linda a woman who believes she’s the daughter of a famous ice cream mogul must come to terms with her troubled past.  

The audience enters a dimly lit candy forest in which a warped supercut of talking cake mascots from actual Carvel commercials is projected. It’s Linda Carvel’s nightmare. She’s a lost child. A trail of cake crumbs leads to a demonic lollipop tree who devours her.

Growing Up Linda, 2008

Linda awakens middle aged, but her surroundings still aren’t quite normal. The actor-puppetry ensemble anthropomorphizes her alarm clock, pill dispenser, furniture (and other inanimate objects throughout). She medicates, prays for help her with her diet, and leaves for work.

The first installment of a tabloid docuseries chronicles Linda’s trials and tribulations: A black and white photo montage introduces us to Linda’s father, Tom Carvel, his ice cream empire, and Linda’s humble origins – born on the back of an ice cream truck.

The docuseries cuts to a commercial, but the commercial is real life and Linda is at work. She’s giving a historical tour in a gallery adjacent to the ice cream factory. When a child demands a sample at the Cookie Puss display, it triggers a string of painful memories.