The Unattainable Kimmy Schmidt

rs_634x1024-150107062827-634.Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt-JR1-1715Over the last week I watched the first season of Netflix’s new show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This is old news for those of you who binge-watched the show a few months ago, but for the rest of you, I’m here to say that the show is awesome. Especially if you like 30 Rock.

The premise of the show is actually kind of morbid and sad: Four women have been kept in an underground bunker for years by a crazy man who tells them an apocalypse has happened on the surface. In the first scene, the women are discovered and set free. The show follows one of them, Kimmy Schmidt, as she attempts to find her way in the big city (specifically, the only big city known to TV writers, New York).

It’s a classic fish-out-of-water tail, but it’s such a bright, cheery, and quirky show. I can’t put it any better than this: Every episode made me happy. I think a big part of this has to do with the similarities in the humor to 30 Rock–lots of offhand jokes, plays on words, self-referential comedy, and quick throwbacks to situations in each character’s past.

The main highlight is Ellie Kemper, who also played a similar character (Erin) on The Office. She’s perfect in the role. She’s naive, but she’s not an airhead. She’s smart, savvy, and resourceful, and she lights up the screen.

The other standout is Jane Krakowski, who played a very similar character on 30 Rock. There’s no one better at playing an entitled rich character than her.

There are only two downsides to the show. One is that for some reason that is completely beyond me, the writers created an archenemy for Kimmy whose only role is to stomp around talking about how annoying Kimmy is and plotting to foil her. She’s written like every bad guy in every cheesy ’80s movie–she’s bad simply for the sake of being bad.

The other is the number of racial stereotypes in the show. They’re used for humor and sometimes depth, but some of the choices are bewildering (specifically with an Asian character and a Native American character). I think sometimes the best way to write an ethnically diverse cast is to write them as people instead of defining their character by their ethnicity. For example, Aziz Ansari has a few racially-driven jokes on Parks & Rec, but the vast majority of his personality and humor stem from his character. His script reads as lines by Tom, not The Indian Guy. I’d like to see more of that in the next season of Unbreakable.

But overall, I love the show, and I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best new sit coms I’ve watched in a long time. Let me know what you think if you’ve seen it.


4 Responses to “The Unattainable Kimmy Schmidt”

  1. Katy says:

    You forgot to mention the super catchy theme song! Thanks to you writing about this, it’s once again stuck in my head. 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    This show is fantastic and hilarious without being too mean-spirited. And the cameos from the trial lawyers and the cult leader were just perfect (trying to not spoil it too much for newcomers!) It’s actually a good pick-me-up to watch if you’re ever having a bad day because Kimmy is just so positive about everything, despite having gone through a horrific ordeal. She’s all, “Just keep smiling until you feel better” or “You can endure anything 10 seconds.” That (along with the previously mentioned awesome theme song that I want as my ringtone) makes me feel like I can take on whatever comes my way. Can’t wait for more!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Well said, Katie. It’s a great pick-me up. I hope we don’t have to wait a year for new episodes!

      Every moment of the cult leader charming the jury is absolutely amazing. There’s a moment (mild spoiler) where the cult leader asks everyone to close their eyes to go to a flashback, and when they return from the flashback, he is sitting on the jury bench, his arms casually loped over the shoulders of several jury members. So. Good.

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