Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Analysis
I watched the entire first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in a 24 hour span on New Years Eve. I felt like a list was the best way to record my reactions.
- •Theme Song: 9/10Television theme songs are hit or miss and this one is definitely a hit. Bonus points for bringing the character back at the end of the season [spoiler]. It's catchy and gets stuck in your head and captures the quirkiness and message of the show. Females are strong and alive and ready to seize the day. I imagine it was probably written in 2010 when Double Rainbow and the like were topping the YouTube charts. But I like it, 🎶dammit🎶
- •Episode 1: 10/10A pilot should make you want to watch the show and Kimmy Goes Outside does just that. The cult bunker is hilarious and frightening and draws you in instantly. They fly through to Kimmy's decision to move to New York but it's fair because the whirlwind is being experienced by the Mole Women and you're thrown in with them. The best part is that they show you why Kimmy is "Unbreakable." You're not left wondering, which is really nice.
- •Titus Andromedone, roommate: 5/10Titus is an unsuccessful gay black man living in New York. He wears an iron-man knock-off suit and sells flyers on Times Square. I just feel like there's a lot of stereotypes shoehorned into one character. He is, however, hilarious. When he handed Kimmy the book of "Things People Don't Say Anymore" I lol'd. The irony is that he plays the part of Kimmy's straight man, and he's gay, but even that feels forced.
- •Kimmy Schmidt: 8/10Ellie Kemper does a great job of playing a "gee whirlikers Mr Smith!" character. Everything she does is in earnest and it's enjoyable every moment she's on screen. She keeps the show from being about the Unbearable Kimmy Schmidt. Honestly I would watch Ellie play any role because she makes you believe the character she plays. The highest point of the show is when Kimmy references something from 1999 and Titus corrects/helps her learn.
- •Lillian, landlord: 2/10Lillian isn't funny. There was hope for her in episode 1 when she was a caring landlord with a screw loose. But then all the screws and bolts came out and she became unfunny. She spews crass/weird/non sequiturs at ever turn and only comes on screen to give us a break or segue to the next scene. Even at the end of the show when she decided to leave Manhattan it was only because we had to have a reason for Mrs Vorheese to go to Indiana.
- •Jacqueline Vorheese, Kimmy's boss/rich white people representative: 4/10This is just Jenna's character from 30 Rock. Jane Krakowski even reuses lines and expressions from Jenna. It's boring. But that's to be expected seeing as how Tina Fey hates rich white women. Jacqueline simply exists so that Kimmy's goodness can shine. And so that Tina Fey can hate on white males some more by writing a divorce sequence so painful that Krakowski was almost visibly cringing during those scenes. Mrs Vorheese does not make you laugh.
- •Xanthippe Vorheese, daughter/nemesis: 4/10Xanthippe exists so that we can complain about rich white people as a collective audience. Ew, she has a weird name, ew, her friends are underage drinkers, ew, she's spoiled, ew, she has daddy issues, we get it we get it. She sets out to destroy Kimmy so that we have more conflict? As if Kimmy's severely stunted development wasn't enough of an obstacle already. Seriously go crawl in a hole and die Xan.
- •Dong, Vietnamese classmate and love interest: 3/10Dong is funny in his first appearance and then after that he's simply Asian. There's no complexity to his character or development. We watch him talk about how Chinese words are all similar and how Chinese tv shows are ripping off American tv shows and then he expresses his love for Kimmy in order for the show to have some mid-season tensions! Woo! Ugh.
- •Randy, Kimmy's step-dad and Indiana police officer: 1/10A direct attack on traditional authority every time he's on screen. He's an idiot father who doesn't know anything about raising children. He's an idiot police officer who doesn't know anything about law enforcement. He gets married and then his wife runs off because he's incompetent. Even his jokes aren't funny, like when he pretends to makeout with One Direction or when he does heroin or when he gets stuck in a tree without any clothes on. All sequences are stupid and pointless.
- •Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, cult leader: 5/10John Hamm is always a delight, no matter what. He nails the "charming cult leader" act and almost steals the show. He's only in the last three episodes so don't get too excited. He gets put in jail [spoiler] at the end.
- •Overall rating: 6/10There are enough laugh out loud moments that can only be obtained by understanding the context and entirely of the show. In reality it's just a comedy show that shouldn't be taken too seriously so if you can set aside your microscope and enjoy the show from 40,000 feet then by all means, go for it.
- •Appendix A: the mole womenThe writers of the show showed very little respect for anyone who's ever been abducted or sexually abused or duped by religion. That is comedy today in a nutshell: disrespectful to the max. The Office is mostly responsible for this attitude but it just seems to be snowballing out of control. We applaud comics for "real talk" when all they do is mock and move on. The mole women are treated as idiots and there is no attempt made to rehabilitate or help them in any way.
- •Appendix B: extraThis is a negative list and I didn't intend for it to be that way. I feel that Tina Fey and cohorts are very creative people who can be very funny. I think that's why I was so disappointed with UKS. It seems as if they are simply falling back on tired tropes instead of exploring new territory or trying to break the mold. But everybody has to earn a paycheck right? We can't expect excellence every time we turn on the TV.