Recap/Review – The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – 6/5/17

A few years ago when 30 Rock went off the air, I almost thought for a minute that there would be nothing left for me to laugh at. I picked up some other comedies and got through it somehow. And then Tina Fey returned to TV – almost. Her latest brainchild, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was actually nixed by NBC before it aired a single episode. The project was then sold to Netflix, where it has gone on to complete three seasons. Most recently, season three came out last month, just in time to fill the vacuum of all our favorite shows going on summer vacation.

The show features perennial cutie pie Ellie Kemper as a cult survivor who was kept in a bunker for 15 years and led to believe that the world outside had been destroyed. Kimmy and her sisters were rescued in the pilot, and ever since she’s been living in New York City with her new best friend/roommate Titus Andromedon. Titus is in many ways a caricature of a struggling gay black man trying to make it as a singer in the big city, but he is based on the actor who portrays him, so it’s not as grating as it sounds. Fey herself appeared in the first season, for three episodes, as a satirical version of OJ lawyer Marsha Clark, when Kimmy had to face her captor in court. She returned in season two as Dr. Andrea Bayden, an alcoholic psychiatrist who gets entangled into Kimmy’s life when she moonlights as an Uber driver.

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Season three saw Kimmy finally take on college, as she decided on a career: she wants to be a crossing guard. As usual, many of the adventures involve social elitist Jacqueline White, whom Kimmy worked as a nanny for in season one. This time around, Jacqueline, who is part Sioux Indian, got involved with a man whose family owns the Washington Redskins. Hilarity ensued (though I feel South Park got most of the best jokes about that “political correct” debate two years ago.). Titus came back to land after last season saw him get on a cruise ship to serve as Dione Warwick’s understudy for 3 months. He insisted he didn’t eat her body after the ship sank, but eventually we discovered the shocking truth. Titus also did an ingenious “Lemonade” send up in episode two.

When the show shifted from NBC to Netflix, Tina Fey knew options had been opened up for her creatively: there was less constriction to strict 22-minute episodes, and there would be room to use more vulgar words and humor. But she chose to stick with the core of the show’s premise, following up on the innocence that Kemper overdoes so well. And through three seasons, it’s been a great ride. The whole show feels like it takes place in the same fictitious TV universe that 30 Rock took place in. The spirit of that all-time classic comedy endures on Unbreakable Kimmy, and I highly recommend you climb aboard the bandwagon if you haven’t already.

– Phoebe

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