If you haven’t watched “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix yet, then I have a question for you: What are you doing with your life? This is Tina Fey’s latest show, and if you were a fan of “30 Rock,” her memoir “Bossypants,” or any of the numerous sketches she wrote and performed on “Saturday Night Live,” then you’re missing out by not watching it right now.
Ellie Kemper (“Bridesmaids,” “The Office”) plays Kimmy Schmidt, a young woman who gets rescued from a doomsday cult in Indiana and decides to start her life anew in New York City. She meets a colorful cast of stereotypical New Yorkers, including her roommate Titus Andromedon (played by Tituss Burgess), a gay and larger-than-life aspiring Broadway performer; Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock”) as Jacqueline Voorhees, a wealthy housewife in Manhattan who hires Kimmy as a nanny; and Carol Kane (“Seinfeld”) as Lillian Kaushtupper, the landlady and likely drug dealer.
Tina and her writers have a talent for satirical humor. They capture the New York stereotype well, with a sort of self-effacing awareness of how absurd stereotypes actually are. Take for example Kim’s roommate Titus, who in one episode, takes up a job as a performer at a dinner theater called “Professor Dracula’s Spooky Laboratory and Bar and Grill.” He dresses up like a “franken-werewolf” every day. Soon he realizes that he gets treated better as a werewolf than he was ever treated as an African American male.
The show also tackles classist issues. Lillian, the landlady, is terrified of gentrification—a term that describes the rebuilding that occurs when wealthy people move into a neighborhood and often push out lower-class people. She becomes paranoid whenever a pothole gets filled in the street or if a wealthy person happens to be in the neighborhood.
The dialogue is so quick and witty that you will catch something new every time you watch it. In addition to little gems like Kimmy saying “hashbrown” instead of “hashtag,” the show is also rich with allusions to pop culture. You will never be bored, and the best part is, you can binge the whole season on Netflix right now!
So what does this show tell us? Our culture can be pretty screwed up and laughably absurd. But from Kimmy’s perspective, at least it’s not the end of the world!