[REVIEW] Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

William Lou
March 12, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

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After proving its potential in the world of television dramas with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix has shifted its attentions towards making viewers laugh. So when 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Robert Carlock approached the streaming network with their latest brainchild Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix jumped at the chance to prove that they’re the place for smart and creative television. After 13 episodes and a series of increasingly bizarre moments, I’m happy to say that, for the most part, they were right.

From the opening theme song alone, anyone who watches Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt knows they are about to watch something unconventional. Sung through the auto-tuned voice of a shocked neighbour in the style of a viral video hits like the “Bed Intruder Song,” viewers are told the strange story of how lead character Kimmy Schmidt (played by The Office’s Ellie Kemper) was trapped in an underground bunker for 15 years by a religious cult leader who allegedly protected them from the apocalypse. After sharing her story as one of the four “Indiana mole women” on television, Kimmy decides to move to New York City with the hopes of finding somthing better.

Kimmy Schmidt’s story of a fish out of water trying to make it in New York isn’t exactly new. Coupled with this is the existence of equally familiar character types, including her eccentric roommate Titus (Tituss Burgess), an aspiring actor frustrated with his lack of stardom, and Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) the stereotypical Manhattan Stepford wife who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Because of this, much of the success of the show is dependent on whether Kemper, Tina Fey, and the rest of the team can effectively separate Kimmy Schmidt from the wealth of other sitcoms set in New York.

Every episode is unpredictable as possible by design, and this works out rather well. The smart writing that fans have come to love from 30 Rock is instantly recognizable, often firing off what feels like hundreds of one-liners and meta-jokes within a single episode. When paired with the effortlessly unique side plots throughout each episode, and a powerful cast of comedic veterans, viewers quickly realize that Kimmy Schmidt is a far cry from unoriginal.

Unfortunately, the same unique storylines that set the show apart from other competing comedies are also what can hold it back. Yes, I did find myself laughing throughout each of the show’s 13 episodes, but there were also several times where it felt like Kimmy Schmidt was more annoying than amusing. The random nature of the show only increases the chance of an episode being a hit or miss.

Despite all that, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is only in its first season, and shows more than enough promise to make up for its faults. Whether you’re a fan of 30 Rock or just looking for something to make you laugh, climb out of your nuclear bunker and turn on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

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