Hey 3.5 Readers.
I talk about TV a lot on this site but I’ve never reviewed a show before.
But over the past week I have discovered Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I have been binge watching the crap out of it.
It’s original. It’s hilarious. Great writing plus a great cast = lightning trapped in a bottle.
The setup? Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper formerly of The Office) was kidnapped as a teenager in the late 1990’s by an evil reverend/cult leader (Jon Hamm) and held with three other women in an underground bunker.
When the police free the “Indiana Mole Women” in 2015, Kimmy and fellow victims travel to New York City for an interview and against all odds, Kimmy decides to stay and make a go of it in the big city.
Not the wisest move because Kimmy is naive, gullible, childlike and, to hilarious effect, still mentally living in the 1990’s.
So many wonderful 1990’s references. As a Generation X’er I appreciate them so much. Jokes that only people born in the 1970’s or early 1980’s would get. (Sam Goody music stores, Hanson, scrunchies, walk-men, Hulk Hogan, Friends, Babysitter’s Club books, Jansport backpacks, Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, Dawson’s Creek, Titanic, Columbia House tapes…the list goes on but those are the ones I can remember in one sitting.)
My hat goes off to Netflix for allowing that. So many Hollywood suits probably would have just been all like, “if it didn’t happen after 2010 then the show can’t talk about it.
Admittedly, that all of these 1990’s references are so old now makes me feel a little sad and old myself, but at the same time, it has been fun to watch them get dusted off and made fun of again.
Kimmy finds a roommate/fellow dreamer Titus Andromedon (Titus Burgess), flamboyantly gay performer who came to New York in the late 1990’s to audition for the Lion King musical on broadway and after being rejected multiple times is having a hard time keeping his hopes of becoming famous alive.
Together Kimmy and Titus are a dynamic duo who help each other out. Titus educates Kimmy on the cold, cruel world she’s stepped into while Kimmy reminds Titus that laziness and wallowing in self pity won’t get his acting/musical career anywhere.
The duo also finds a mother figure in their landlady, Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) an old lady who holds herself out as a real New Yorker’s New Yorker, lamenting that the city has gone too soft and taking it upon herself to chase hipsters and yuppies out of the neighborhood.
I have to say, Carol Kane really put this show over the top for me. The way she delivers all of these lines suggesting that Lillian has an awful past (shot her ex-husband, dated Robert Durst) in a deadpan style is uproariously funny.
Kimmy gets a job as a nanny/housekeeper/gopher for Jacqueline White (Jane Krakowski), a vapid trophy wife to a billionaire. She doesn’t really care about much of anything other than money and her social standing, thus giving the show’s producers the ability to lampoon New York’s upper crust elite. (Her husband takes business calls with Walt Disney’s head.)
Throughout it all, Kimmy has to deal with a world that is strange and new to her (the comedic effect being sometimes we’re forced to laugh when things that are commonplace are explained to a newcomer, i.e. on Kim Kardashian’s fame, Kimmy notes that she’s a butt celebrity married to a man that hates college.)
Kimmy goes back to school for her GED, goes to work, helps her friends, and though she has a past that would have broken most people down, her positive, polly anna-ish demeanor leaves her “unbreakable.”
And though we, the viewers, don’t know what it is like to be “Mole women” many of us do have problems from our past that have kept us down, made us feel less than, unworthy, like life is unfair and the overall lesson is if Kimmy can get up every day and stay unbreakable, then we can do.
Although it would be a lot easier if we all had Kimmy/Ellie Kemper’s permanent smile on our faces.
Love the show. Go watch it on Netflix. Tell me what you thought about it in the comments.
On a personal note, I have often lamented on this site that Generation X’ers have gotten the short end of the stick. Sometimes it feels like the Baby Boomers are just going to hold onto that torch forever (thanks improved health care j/k) and sometimes it feels like the millennials are dancing around us to grab that torch early before we get our grubby mitts on it.
It’s just good to see a show that is breathing a little bit of life into our long forgotten Gen X ways.
Sam Goody forever!