Review | Netflix's New Comedy: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

the official poster for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


TIA HERE, slipping in a blog post amidst the chaos of classes (a lot of which are requiring I write blog posts, which is why DD has been on hiatus—I'm tragically using up all of my blog ideas for class and clubs).

This weekend, I watched the entirety of the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix's new original comedy brought to you by Tina Fey (who, naturally, makes a brief appearance in the last few episodes). It follows the spunky and optimistic Kimmy (Ellie Kemper of The Office fame), who has just been rescued from an underground bunker where she spent 15 years of her life in an apocalypse cult. After moving from Indiana to New York City, she finds herself struggling to navigate city life in 2015, working for a wildly rich and eccentric Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) and living with Broadway-hopeful and gloriously histrionic Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess).

the cast of 30 Rock
Although the humor of the show is very reminiscent of 30 Rock, it's a version that has clearly evolved to accommodate the pop cultural artifacts of the last couple years. For one thing, its theme song is styled after Schmoyoho's "Songify This" series, where news footage (or any kind of straight footage, really) is remixed and pitched into a bizarrely catchy song. In fact, it seems that Schmoyoho was commissioned to make the theme.

Throughout the season, the show strives to be very aware of relevant technology and society, which is all good and fun for now, but will likely date it severely in a few years time. I had the same kind of feeling about 30 Rock, which I only watched about a year ago. It was strewn with things that were topical for the time that the episodes aired, but now came off to me as a bit stale.

Still, I think Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt puts up a better fight comedically than 30 Rock in some ways, showing what Fey has learned from her previous experiences, or maybe just how popular humor has evolved in the past few years. Kimmy possesses a freshness and positivity that seems more reminiscent of Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) than the slightly self-depreciating Liz Lemon (30 Rock), and that makes it more of a feel-good, light watch. Even Kimmy's post traumatic stress from her kidnapping and cult life is dealt with comedically—while still managing not to come off as crass.

Kimmy and Mrs. Voorhees' dog


All in all, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a bit of a bumbling mess, as most new shows appear to be at first, but it has a good heart, an interesting concept, and a determination not to be broken. Even though the first season falls quite a bit short of perfection (unlike other Netflix originals such as Orange is the New Black), it still promises to be a worthwhile watch. If you love the optimism of Parks and Recreation mixed with the humor of 30 Rock, this show is exactly what you've been waiting for.

As for me? I give it an A-. I watched the whole thing in one sitting and enjoyed it, but I'm not sure it's the kind of show I'll be gushing about to my friends or thinking about between seasons. When Netflix uploads season two, though, I'll definitely tune in.

Much love,

T.