Its 7:18 pm
cold/windy/in the bunker
Doing a complete cold binge watch of a show you have never seen is a fun and yet complete challenge for me. The cheetah and I have done a few of these already and they are a hoot. So when our good pal Noah at Mill Creek Entertainment not only offered us a chance to review “Kimmy Schmidt”,it also marked our first review of a Netflix original TV series.
How could we say no to that,right? (and seeing Jane Krakowski in the cast definitely is a bonus).The cheetah and I settled in to start our watch and we’re hoping for the best.
The show’s premise is four women have been rescued after being held captive in a bunker by a fake christian preacher for 15 years. He has told the women that there was a nuclear war and that they (and himself) were the only survivors.
One of the women is Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) who was 14 when she was kidnapped and imprisoned in the bunker.
The women are called “Mole Women” and their story is a national one. Eash woman receives some money from their appearances on TV…and while three of the women decide to stay in their small town of Durrsville,Indiana,Kimmy decides to move to New York City. The problem is while Kimmy is 29,mentally she is still around 14 and is a complete naive on how the world works and that is where the show gets a lot of its humor from.
Kimmy meets Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) an slightly insane landlady who lets Kimmy sublet a room from her current tennant,Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess),a struggling actor who is also flamboyantly gay. Titus resists at first until Lillian mentions eviction due to past rent and Titus sees the light. Of course he takes full advantage of Kimmy’s innocence and gets her to pay for everything while giving her the closet as a her “room”.
Because Kimmy doesn’t really know about banks,she keeps all of her money in a backpack which is stolen when Titus and her go to a club. Now Kimmy has to find a job.
While looking,she sees a young boy shoplifting and catches him. She takes him to his house which happens to be the house of Julian and Jacqueline White (Jane Krakowski),a trophy wife who can’t be bothered with kids. She in turn hires Kimmy as a nanny to take care of her step-son Buckley and step-daughter Xanithippe.
This was a very well written show but VERY New York. I really enjoyed the show,each season featured a lot of story arcs and because the show was on Netflix,it got the time to explore their storylines. The first few shows were cobbled into a tradional network time frame of 20-22 minutes but as the season went one,each episode got longer which really helped.
What surprised me about “Unbreakable” was how clean it was,there is no profanity or nudity as with most cable series who can be more open with that. Instead,its a very sweet show that is completely carried by Kemper’s performance. You can’t help but fall in love with Kimmy and how hard she is trying to regain those 15 years. And it isn’t just Kimmy as all three women from the bunker,Cyndee (Sara Chase),Gretchen (Lauren Adams) and Donna Maria (Sol Miranda) all struggle through most of the series to have normal lives….only Donna Maria does so when she starts a food company.
Now while “Kimmy” doesn’t go the “Scrubs” rout in being suddenly dramatic,there is a dark undercurrent in the show,each of the main characters under go some sad moments and I thought that showing Kimmy struggling with what happened to her was a smart move,even if it is played somewhat lightly.
Lillian struggles with finding her neighborhood becoming gentrified,a central theme that runs throughout the series,Jacqueline is trying to find a purpose for her life and Titus is learning to become a hell of a lot less selfish and start thinking about others then himself. His relationship with a burly New York construction worker named Mikey (Mike Carlsen) is actually very sweet and again,beautifully written. Mikey is a great character and I gurantee will make a lot of “normal” manly men a little nervous..
“Kimmy” was co-created by Robert Carlock who was a writer on 30 Rock (and many other shows) and Tina Fey who created 30 Rock and had a long run on Saturday Night Live. It explains why a lot of the humor is so New York driven and the guest stars include a lot of New York based actors and several SNL alumni in guest spots. For the most part,the guests are totally spot on but for the life of God,can ANYONE tell me why Amy Sedaris is considered funny??? Was she the one who put that scar on Tina Fey and is threatening to do worse next time? She is the worst actor on the ahow and she is never funny,ever.
But overall the folks that do come in Kimmy’s world are pretty great including Jon Hamm as the Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne,the man behind the cult that kept the 4 women in that bunker. Other notable guest stars included Anna Camp,Tim Blake Nelson,Fey herself,Josh Charles,Lisa Kudrow and even a actress we know from a great film we reviewed earlier,Ashley Kate Adams pops up. This barely scratches the surface of who pops up but then again,that is a good reason to check out Kimmy.
As for the main cast,I liked the actors very much…..I had never heard of Ellie Kemper before watching this but I know that she is so good,she really is that good. The amount of silliness,wistfullness,regret,hope and anger she channels through each episode is a thing of beauty. Of course you already know I’m looking at Ellie and wondering how would she do in a dramatic role….I have a feeling she would be right at home.
Same goes with Tituss Burgess,never had seen him before but I thought his Titus was both maddening but had a lot of heart as the series went on. And I have never seen such a open and honest gay relationship in a mainstream American show,at least not with two men and biracial at that. It was nice to see Titus have his cake and eat it too at the end of “Kimmy”.
I have adored Jane Krakowski from her days on “Ally McBeal” and her Jacqueline White goes from being a self-absorbed trophy wife in season one to a divorced,more self confident businesswoman,of course not without bumps and bruises. The only arc I didn’t like was having her being a Lakota Indian who is passing,I thought that was weak and poorly conceived,it just wasn’t funny at all. I liked that Jacqueline was able to find her purpose and developed goals for herself and having her become a talent agent was a perfect way to have Jacqueline’s story end.
I really enjoyed “Kimmy” and thought it was funny,charming,a little sad and quite sassy. The one thing I want to note about Netflix airing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is it gave the show four seasons. Because of this,we got 51 episodes plus a new special coming out later this year. Streaming services season’s are very short at between 10-13 episodes season,it does cut costs but in terms of home release,you have to at least put out 50 episodes in a series set like the Mill Creek Entertainment did here. This is the only way that makes sense in terms of buying. Buying single seasons won’t work for streaming releases,people want a bigger bang for their buck these days.
You can buy “Kimmy” by going to the website of Mill Creek Entertainment.
The cheetah and I both give “Kimmy” two thumbs and two paws straight up.
What did you think of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”? Drop a comment below!