Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1)

KS1Director: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Writer: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Composer: Jeff Richmond
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane
Distributor: Netflix
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TV-14
When Netflix started producing original TV shows, hardly anyone expected triple AAA material. Now, we’re eating those words, as we cannot get enough Daredevil and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy Schmidt has Tina Fey’s whacky sense of humor and wit smothered all over it, and it is a welcome addition to anyone who misses 30Rock.

Story

Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) has lived fifteen years in an underground bunker believing that the apocalypse has happened.  Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, a cult leader, kept her and three other women sealed off in a bunker. When finally rescued by the police, Kimmy is 30 years old and wants to make a new life for herself in New York City. The problem is she had not seen daylight since the 90’s and she barely has an eighth grade education.
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She meets Titus (Tituss Burgess) who is a broke actor and very flamboyant, black, gay man. He gives her the walk-in closet as her new bedroom, and she is thrilled that she finally gets a door. The landlord, Lillian (Carol Kane), has tons of conspiracy theories that go absolutely nowhere and a lifestyle of shady dealings. When Kimmy gets robbed of her new inheritance, she is forced to find a housekeeper job at the Vorhees’ residence; Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) lives the silver spoon lifestyle and believes that the world should serve her.  Her daughter and son, Xanthippe and Buckley, are spoiled as well.
Kimmy only has a helpful “Good Samaritan” attitude and an innocent demeanor, but she is determined to make a life for herself. In this season, she gets a job, helps Titus get some acting gigs, dates a rich guy who has only traveled by private blimp, and tries to get her GED from a teacher who desperately wants to get fired. She also meets her new love interest, Dong (Ki Hong Lee), who is just as innocent and clueless as her.
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Content Guide

Swearing:  Some b******, d***, and a** words; what you would expect from 30Rock.
Sexual Content: Immature humor scattered in every episode. Sex jokes are at a PG-14 level. Titus’ homosexual lifestyle comes out in crude ways. He creates a “sexy” music video, uses a farmer outfit to seduce a man, and makes mild jokes about his relationships. Jacqueline talks very lightly on adultery and how easy it is to get a mistress. Throughout episodes, there are jokes about sexually inappropriate acts, but none of the material goes so far as to merit an R rating. Kimmy treats relationships like an innocent 8-year-old, but some sex jokes are made at her dispense.
Other content: The show is irreverent, making fun of people types that Tina Fey finds poke-worthy. Current news articles show that the plastic surgeon, played by Martin Short, is based on a real person who felt incredibly insulted by that portrayal. Kimmy pushes the envelope with some racial jokes, but most of it is geared toward a young adult audience. There are also lots of jokes about cults and living underground in a bunker.

Presentation

From the very beginning of the show, Kimmy and her bunker sisters are decorating a Christmas tree and singing a Christmas carol about the reigning apocalypse. The show shifts dramatically into a dub step remix of the newscast that covered her release. This kind of slapstick humor can be found at every turn, and this show never lets up.
Kimmy is the most innocent and helpful eighth grader in an adult’s body you can imagine.  When she falls over she yells, “What the fudge? Gosh darnit!” The first time she sees an iPhone, she looks at it with amazement, “Wow, is this a Macintosh?” Perhaps the greatest line in the show happens in episode 2 when Xanthippe tries to threaten her.
Xanthippe:  I am going to find out your secret and use it against you.  I promise you.
Kimmy:  I know you are… (dramatic pause) … BUT WHAT AM I?
Kimmy’s vulnerability to our culture is what makes the show so enjoyable and fun to watch. She struggles to fit in and solve life’s problems with a cheery attitude.  Now, add to that her co-star, Titus, who lives a gutter lifestyle, but still believes he is a fabulous superstar. He spends his time trying to find quick cash and make sexually awkward music videos and works at a singing haunted-themed restaurant as the Frankenstein Werewolf. He prides himself as Kimmy’s mentor.
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Jacqueline Vorhees is the hyperbole of a stuck-up, middle-aged rich woman. She is always giving Kimmy information about how important plastic surgery is, why living on 12 million a year is not enough, and how eating very little is what keeps her figure so slim. In one episode, Kimmy tries to compliment her, “Jacqueline, you look like a million bucks.” Jacqueline just sneers at her, “I know you didn’t mean that to hurt my feelings.”
Be forewarned that the show is very disrespectful about some topics and borders on edgy. I am glad that this series isn’t as adult as House of Cards, but some of the jokes go a bit too far.
Comedies are hard to keep up in creativity and Kimmy Schmidt has some rare, dull moments. The episodes where Kimmy has to go to court and testify against Richard Wayne Gary Wayne struggle to be as funny as the other episodes. The show is mostly hit, but I can see the immense pressure for Tina Fey to be ingeniously hilarious for all thirteen episodes.
Hyperbole, plays on words, and the childlike nature of Kimmy is what makes this show so smart. Anyone who has lived in the 90’s or just likes pure silliness will find something to like in this series.
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Conclusion

It takes a very cold heart not to find something charming and funny about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The comedy in the show works constantly in every witty line.  Tina Fey and Robert Carlock have an amazing writing gift, and I believe this show belongs at the top of their resume.

The Bottom Line

It takes a very cold heart not to find something charming and funny about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The comedy works constantly in every witty line. Tina Fey and Robert Carlock have an amazing writing gift, and I believe this show belongs at the top of her resume.

 

8.8

Michael P M

I am a minister for Campus Ambassadors, a gymnastics customer service rep, a social media enthusiast and a writer. I try to collect obscure video games, I love comics and somewhere on Amazon I have a self published book. I am married to a beautiful and grounded woman. But most importantly, I have been seized by a great affection in the Lord.

1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth on May 15, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Maybe you saw it the first time, when it was called Blast From The Past …

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