I’m sure by now you’ve already binged your way through this and moved on to the next all-you-can eat TV buffet. Bloodline, maybe? That being said, we love to L-O-L here at Mildly Pleased so I think we have a responsibility to at least say something about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Not to mention there’s been talk of an upcoming Podcast with the prompt: “Top Ten Sitcoms Characters We’d Like to Hang Out With”. Who knows? Maybe someone from this breakout Netflix hit will be a part of that conversation. Or should I call it a “un-breakout” hit? I shouldn’t.
Not long ago the TV world suffered a tragic loss. The loss of a genre I have dubbed, “Thursday Night Comedies”. Gone are the days of Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, The Office, or a Community with every original cast member. Yet here we are now with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tina Fey’s latest comedy juggernaut that has risen from the ashes of its comedy forefathers and proclaimed, “I am the Juggernaut Bitch!” Preferably with some auto-tuning involved.
UKS, takes a simple fish-out-of-water story and peppers it with just enough absent-mindedness to make it feel like the little sister of 30 Rock. Ellie Kemper plays Kimmy Schmidt, a sugary sweet small towner full of Kenneth Parcell optimism and Midwest folksiness. The latter being attributed to her humble beginning in Durnsville, Indiana, where 15-years prior she was tricked into joining an underground cult by the Reverend Wayne Gary Wayne, also known to Yelp users as, “Durnsville’s Worst Wedding DJ”.
After being trapped in an underground shelter for nearly two decades, Kimmy and her fellow sisters, dubbed the “Indiana Mole Women”, are rescued. The Mole Women become minor celebrities with their harrowing story of survival, but more for their appearance in a popular “Auto Tune the News” web video, which is also the show’s main theme song. Kimmy, being the quirky go-getter that she is, takes her new lease on life to the Big Apple where she befriends Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), a gay singer/actor and Times Square robot, Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) an oddly opinionated landlord who’s been around the block once or twice, and Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), a wealthy Manhattanite whose acts of of charity include donating old towels to poor people with the same initials as her.
With all the ingredients in play, it doesn’t take long for UKS to get cooking. Much in the way of 30 Rock, this show is full of off-the-wall characters, witty one liners, and blink and you’ll miss it jokes. This show has so much material loaded into its brief twentysomething runtime that I’d almost suggest you not binge it. I like to have some time to breathe in-between episodes, give me a chance to hum “Pinot Noir” or “Daddy’s Boy” in my head for at least a couple days until it’s replaced with “I Beat that Bitch with a Bat”. What’s great about these memorable jokes, songs, and moments is that it makes the show very rewatchable and YouTube clip friendly.
The overarching narrative of trying to overcome a tragic life event does a great job of keeping the show grounded. UKS can go so off the wall at times that it needs a strong backbone. Otherwise, this show would fall into plain comic insanity. This was my only problem with the show, particularly in the trial episodes, too many comic relief characters. I know, it’s a comedy, but not everyone can be hyped up on whacky pills 24/7. You need to have that contrast of tones, otherwise the show will get exhausting. Funny but exhausting.
Still, the characters are the show’s greatest asset. Kimmy Schmidt is so bubbly and sweet, it’s hard not to love her. I mean, she looks like the girl from Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers. What’s not to like? Kimmy’s naivety and limited knowledge of current events is another goldmine of comedy. One bit that particularly stands out in my mind is when someone asks her if she’s into Molly. Kimmy responds with, “Am I? She’s my favorite American Girl doll.” Brilliant. Of course, even Kimmy struggles for the comic spotlight when sharing a scene with one Titus Andromedon. I’m not surprised to find his part was written specifically for him. He’s a one in a million find. Whether its auditioning for “Spidermen Too: 2 Many Spider-Men” or getting into character as Dr. Frankenwolf, his over-the-top persona and perfect timing make him an instant comic legend in an already bloated sitcom landscape.
I don’t have a lot of significant insight. I’m a simple man. The only book I ever read was the Good Book… “The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton. So all I have to say is if you haven’t checked out this show then please, SEE IT. You will not regret it. Otteni out. Hashbrown: no filter.