The other day I finished work early and came home to find some way to relax. I chose, most unusually for me, to sit and watch the entire first season of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I’d only heard of the series recently and figured that my Netflix subscription could due to be used for something contemporary instead of all the old reruns I watch when grading papers.
Released on March 6th, this show is a Netflix original and created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. The star of the show is Ellie Kemper, who I knew from Bridesmaids and The Office, and Tituss Burgess whose name was familiar but I couldn’t place; he’s from Broadway primarily. The premise is that Kemper’s character, Kimmy Schmidt, along with three other women, were kidnapped 15 years ago by ‘the Reverend’ and led to believe that they had survived the end of the world. At the start of the series they are rescued, and the first season chronicles Kimmy’s transition back into the real world.
Considering the fact that I watched the whole season in one sitting, I would say that my overall opinion of the experience has to be positive. I found it funny and the short episodes (22-28 minutes) make for quick subplots that are easy to digest. I don’t particularly think that there’s a lot of rewatchability to the show; I was thinking of recommending it to my mom but I’d have to watch it with her and I don’t really want to sit through it again. I’ll still recommend it though.
As with many shows written by Tina Fey I found some of the jokes severely lacking in humour and a lot of the subplots they used were extremely worn out cliches. I’d even go so far as to say that the show is built on cliches, the fresh and interesting aspect is someone who has been removed from the world for 15 years trying to deal with them. There’s sort of a stereotype bingo that you could play: gay New Yorker that wants to be on broadway; rich woman who’s insecure about her marriage; teenage girl who hates her privileged life. Somehow these characters still manage to be interesting, so at least something is being done right. However, the role Tina Fey wrote in for herself in the last 2-3 episodes is absolutely grating. It really took me out of the story.
I’m afraid I’ve sort of painted a negative picture here, when that’s not what I took away from the story. It’s pretty funny and I think the dialogue is great. Carol Kane as Lillian, the landlady, is amazing and I want to see more of her character in the next season, if it gets made. It’s certainly got its share of problematic content but there’s some real good stuff in there too. Ellie Kemper is a great comedic female lead and I’ll look forward to seeing her in more roles after this.
Giving it a 6.5/10! No harm in giving it a watch. Let me know what you think!