Reminiscent of 30 Rock humour and full of quotable one-liners, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is “alive, damn it! It’s a miracle!”
Netflix’s new show stars Ellie Kemper (The Office) as 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt, who is rescued from an Indiana apocalypse cult run by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). Finally free to experience the world, Kimmy decides to shed her “Mole Woman” status and start a new life in New York City. Amidst catching up on 15 years of pop culture, Kimmy soon finds herself in all kinds of trouble, helpfully previewed by the excited exclamations of episode titles: “Kimmy Goes on a Date!”, “Kimmy Goes to School!”, “Kimmy Goes to Court!” and so on. Leave it to Tina Fey to turn some dark doomsday cult premise into a story about a young woman struggling to find her way in the Big Apple.
Kimmy’s first task in New York: find a place to stay. After a quick search in the newspaper, she moves in with aspiring singer Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) in the basement suite of eccentric landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane).
Kimmy’s second task: find a job. A little boy she catches stealing candy at a newspaper stand brings her to the wealthy Voorhees residence where incompetent step-mom Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) quickly hires Kimmy to look after her tormenting step-kids, Buckley (Tanner Flood) and Xanthippe (Dylan Gelula).
Her third task: find a boy. Kimmy Schmidt writers pitch us three potential love interests: Charles (Buckley’s tutor), Logan Beekman (some wealthy New Yorker) and Dong Nguyen (a Vietnamese immigrant studying for the GED with Kimmy). The unlikely suitor prevails and Dong Nguyen (Ki Hong Lee) wins Kimmy’s heart, simultaneously teaching her lessons on compounding interest.
And, really, what more do you need for a modern sitcom to fly off than a plausible storyline with romance? Fun, quirky and ridiculously absurd, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is far from typical. It soars as a success story, a love story and a social commentary on the rich and the unbelievably stubborn. What I enjoy most is its use of humour to shed light on interracial romances, continuing education, female empowerment and the struggles of everyday adult life.
Its opening theme, jazzed up by The Gregory Brothers (Schmoyoho or “Songify the News”), is addictive enough to keep you going for at least 13 episodes.
- I am declaring my newfound-love for The Gregory Brothers and their abilities to warp tunes until they’re catchy as hell.
- Who came up with these brilliantly ingenious names? My favourite: Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees.
- How funny were those episodes guest starring Tina Fey, Jerry Minor and Jon Hamm?
- Ki Hong Lee just got married this weekend to his long-time girlfriend. I’m crying a little inside.
- Why is Krakowski’s character Native American when she is clearly white?
- Speaking of racial issues, did they cast Lee as a Vietnamese immigrant even though he’s Korean just because “Dong” and “Kimmy” both mean “penis”?
- Whatever happened to Charles (Andy Ridings)? I actually thought that was going somewhere. Damn it.