Netflix, now realizing they have the power to control our lives totally and without fear of revolt, decided to premiere a brand new show once more, this time a comedy to take us all down from the dramatic high of House of Cards. This time, we get a Tina Fey comedy with some surprising twists and turns of its own.
Let’s take a look at the first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt starts with the liberation of four women from an underground Indiana doomsday cult where they were held for 15 years, run by an insane preacher/DJ. One of those women, Kimmy Schmidt, decides not to return to her hometown where she was held captive but to instead try to live in NYC. On the way, she meets the street-wise Lillian and her broke-tenant-turned-Kimmy’s-roommate Titus, insanely rich and neurotic Jacqueline and her spiteful teenaged step-daughter Xanthippe, and eventual love interest Dong Nguyen. These people help Kimmy get her bearings back as she catches up with pop culture, and finally becoming an adult in her own right.
The narrative is well-thought through and while love interests drop in and out of sight at a confusing rate, it holds up as a funny story. Everything leads up to Kimmy dealing with the trial of the man who imprisoned her in her eternal desire to both get over her imprisonment and to save the day. In fact, in terms of characterization that’s all that Kimmy does — try to fix people. And while it sometimes backfires, she still keeps her hopefulness…which is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that it doesn’t go for the lazy trope of character growth as becoming jaded, and yet at times this quality ranges from endearing to annoying.
The show looks fantastic. It is well shot, has great visual gags, and makes great use of New York City scenery. Netflix usually doesn’t down-size when it comes to scope so it is great to see them taking advantage of all the great imagery there is. This makes the world feel bigger, meaning there is more Kimmy has to tackle. Though, on the flip side, did we really need the duo singing in Times Square bit?
The writing is very strong with great one liners like when Kimmy discovers the clock on her iPhone: “And then I realized my phone has a clock! Where is Cupertino?” It’s usually more laughing with Kimmy than at her, and is not cruel the way I expected the show to be. A lot has to be said for the fantastic acting of Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, as well as great performances by Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, and Jane Krakowski, who manage to take the show to the next level in terms of comedic timing. This is the show’s strongest features, I think, and deserves a lot recognition for it.
I feel like people enjoyed this show far more than I did. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t glued to the screen, but I felt like some of the comedy was stilted or fell flat right out of the gate. It comes off a bit like a cheaper 30 Rock, whose humor was also hit or miss for me to be honest. There are still some great moments, mostly from Kimmy, Titus, and Lillian, but Jacqueline’s neurosis and potentially problematic storyline just felt so sort sad to me.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a very funny show that had a strange but ultimately entertaining start. It’ll be interesting to see where the show goes in season 2 given all of the last minute developments that happened in the final episode. It’s delightful, easy to watch (and binge) and ultimately proof that Tina Fey can and should write as many comedy shows as possible.
– Super catchy theme song.
– Great narrative.
– Strong comedic writing.
– Good acting.
– Kimmy can be grating at times.
– Comedy is hit or miss with me.
– Lots of love interests/characters dropped.