There’s a hilarious new series created by TINA FEY on NETFLIX. It’s called UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT. The story follows a woman recently rescued from a Doomsdayers Bunker. Kimmy and 3 other women believe a madman’s preaching of the Apocalypse. They’ve been down in that Apocalypse Cult bunker for 15 years. Now that they are rescued and free they must readjust to society.
ELLIE KEMPER is undeniably lovable as Kimmy. She has an almost FORREST GUMP-like quality to her. She’s gullible and innocent AND totally adorable. She’s so optimistic despite what’s happened to her. In an effort to readjust her life and pursue a career, Kimmy moves to New York City. The so-called wisdom behind this decision is an example of the type of comedy sprinkled throughout each episode.
The first episode established the backstory with a quick set-up before the opening credits. Her fellow cultists decorate a Christmas tree and sing a hymn called “Apocalypse.” Soon enough, the bunker doors burst open and the girls are rescued. The theme song starts, deconstructing our media obsessed society. The news report interviewing a black man who witnessed these white girls’ rescue goes viral when someone auto-tunes it as a hip hop song. You’ll remember how this happened recently in real life with the “Dead Giveaway” mash-up. The social commentary is never heavy-handed despite its abundance.
Kimmy arrives in the Big Apple, hoping to fulfill a Hollywood fantasy and make it big. She’s excited by everything. It’s so refreshing to have an honest and endearing main character in a comedy, without any cynicism. It’s rare for a sitcom not be driven by character lies. Instead, we get the underdog story, as Kimmy starts at the bottom…
She moves into a cramped basement apartment and takes a job as a nanny / personal assistant / maid. From the first few episode we see how Kimmy’s super bright optimism – and equally bright yellow & pink stylings – gets tested against so much conflict. She’s prepared for a long journey… in her totally dazzled out teenage kicks. No matter how difficult her adventure is, I don’t think Kimmy knows how to quit. I’m down for this underdog fairy-tale.
Her roommate, TITUS, is a Kramer-like scene-stealer. This large gay black man dreams of Broadway. He is a theatrical singer trapped in a cheap Iron Man knock off costume, handing out flyers in Times Square to make ends meet. Initially, he takes advantage of Kimmy’s ignorance to pay his bills. He knows he can manipulate her; however, before long he realizes how lovable and genuine she is. Titus tosses aside his reluctance once he sees how much they have in common and they develop a precious relationship.
Titus delivers so many laughs it’s hard to keep up. He alterantely nails dead-pan nonsensical observations and over-the-top flamboyant flare ups. His singing comes to great effect saving him from awkward situations and mis-speaking. The juxtposition between Titus and Kimmy is priceless, almost like an OF MICE & MEN relationship.
CAROL KANE is another scene-stealer as the kooky Landlord. She tosses out tons of non sequiturs from her perch on the front stoop. You never know what she’ll say next. The other main co-star is JANE KRAKOWSKI (from ALLY McBEAL). She’s playing one of those RICH HOUSEWIVES OF NYC types. At first, she seems entirely vapid and self-obsessed, but after a few episodes her backstory adds some much-needed dimensionality.
The first few episodes follow the struggles of Kimmy as a fish out of water. Tina Fey specifically wrote the character with ELLIE KEMPER in mind. And Kemper is a big time 100% revelation. She is so charming and absolutely endearing. There are constant jokes spewing out of her tiny frame. She’s almost like JIM CARREY. She has great timing and an astounding physical pressence. Her Carrey-like rubberface expressions are a pure joy puncuating every punch-line like schrapnel.
I haven’t seen this level of comedic performance from an actress since Elaine from SEINFELD. Kemper is accutely pitch perfect. I just can’t resist her hopeless pop culture references from decades ago. Ellie Kemper is entirely hilarious. I can’t say enough about her.
The characters develop nicely over the first 4 episodes. Kimmy goes from the media-hounded “Mole Woman” to Big City Woman trying to follow her dreams of independence. We watch as Kimmy deals with the demands of her self-obsessed employer to the unruly teenage step-daughter who thinks she’s the boss. This show is like an acidic fairy-tale reminscent of CINDERELLA (as the show later addresses with a hilarious homage).
THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT has a brief learning curve as you aclimatize yourself to the style of comedy. Thankfully, there is no sitcom laugh track here. This means a lot of the dead-pan deliveries of dry jokes might sneak past you. But once you’re used to the variety of humour (from slapstick, to ignorance, to raunchiness, to non sequiturs, to 90s pop culture, to witty social commentary, to absurdity) you really start to go with the flow. And once you do, there’s a seriously high Joke Per Minute counter rivaling the legendary AIRPLANE.
This series is on par with stuff like SEINFELD, SNL, (early) ALLY McBEAL, FRIENDS, MEAN GIRLS, and ANNIE HALL. The comedy is that great. Over a few days, I gobbled up the first half of the season – 7 episodes! And I rarely ever watch more than one episode in a row of anything.
U.K.S. was so impressive I started taking notes by episode 5. There’s just no way I could remember every great thing from each episode. I needed to try and keep track between laughter.
Originally, I thought this show’s concept might run out of steam in a couple of episodes. But it didn’t. So I kept watching. And it got better and better. The plot actually opened up. More storylines are quickly birthed. Example: MARTIN SHORT had a hilarious cameo as a plastic surgeon who’s experimented on himself a little too much. This scene comments on big city glamour and our celeb obsessed culture.
It also comments on insecurity. Kimmy’s optimism and life philosophy allows her to see through the hollow satisfaction of plastic surgery. In between all of Short’s crazy jokes and totally goofy physical performance there is actually a message in there. This series balances these elements so well.
UKS is just so amazing. How have I never heard of it? How did this happen? I never knew of this show and I’m a movie nerd who reads entertainment news all the time. I’m so glad I read the description as I scrolled through the new releases on NETFLIX.
So… it is my duty as a fellow nerd is to pimp this shit out. Whatever you do, don’t let UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT slip/through the cracks.
These 30 minute episodes are so easy to digest I’m thinking a lot of viewers will happily binge-watch this on NETFLIX in only a couple of days. Join the queue.
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is the funniest series on the air today!
No other show makes me laugh out loud as often and as boisterously as this does. The last “comedy” I loved this much was HBO’s NEWSROOM. I’m not into any of the popular sitcoms of today. Sorry.
Well, that is to say not until KIMMY SCHMIDT came along…
Tune in and discover the blinding revelation of ELLIE KEMPER.
Stay tuned to SLIP/THROUGH for episodic reviews with quotes and more specific analysis starting on Episode 5 (through to Episode 13: the finale)… Coming soon.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.