Who: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.
What: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a situation comedy about a woman who, along with three other women, is rescued from an underground bunker in rural Indiana after being kidnapped or otherwise stuck inside for fifteen years as member of a doomsday cult, the leader of which convinced them that the world had ended, and that the apocalypse had come. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, The Office) decides to start her life over in New York City, out of time and out of place. Hilarity ensues.
When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety on Netflix on March 6, 2015.
Where: The action is set in and around New York City, though there are occasional flashbacks to the bunker, which is in Indiana, and a trial takes place in the Hoosier state as well.
Why: The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the producer/creative team responsible for giving us 30 Rock, of which I’m a huge fan. In addition, I enjoyed Ellie Kemper quite a bit in The Office and in the movie Bridesmaids, as she’s got great comedic timing, so I knew there was a high potential for hilarity. This show was on my list of pilots to watch for the 2014-2015 season and was originally slated to air on NBC, but when Netflix picked it up instead, it was an easy choice to switch over.
How – as in How Was It?
The pilot/premiere rating scale:
***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!
**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.
*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.
** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.
* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt = **** – by consensus of the podcast panel
The heroine of the title, Kimmy Schmidt, is one of five women to emerge from an underground bunker in Indiana, having been, in some respects, unwitting members of a doomsday cult. The five women were trapped in this bunker, with their religious leader Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, for fifteen years; Kimmy and her bunker-mates emerge into the twenty-first century while still stuck in the twentieth. Brimming with endless optimism and a healthy dose of girl power, and after being interviewed by Matt Lauer on The Today Show, Kimmy decides to start her brand new life away from small town Indiana by setting up in New York City. She luckily finds a rent controlled, in a manner of speaking, apartment with a fabulous new roommate named Titus Andromedon (D’Fwan from 30 Rock, Tituss Burgess) and an aging hippie landlord named Lillian, played by – happiest of all surprises – character actress Carol Kane. She secures a job as a nanny with a ridiculously rich Park Avenue family, the Voorhees, the matriarch of which is boss from hell and new best friend Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock/Ally McBeal). Mostly, Kimmy finds herself full of optimism but is otherwise a struggling fish out of water and out of time, as she attempts to create an adult life for herself, having lost such a significant part of her childhood to the spartan and strange life of the bunker.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blew up the internet when it was first released, which is not surprising, because it’s extremely funny, particularly in how it catches the viewer off guard with its wacky humor, witty dialogue (no doubt spearheaded by Fey), stunt casting, and generally zany but positive tone. In fact, it reminded this viewer of 30 Rock on uppers. Thinking I was not alone in my estimation of the show, I decided to ask a group of panelists what their thoughts were. Most of the panel thought the show was hilarious but could use some improvements, but all were interested to see how it might develop in the impending second season. Give this brand new podcast episode a listen, and comment on what you think below!
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is recommended to anyone who enjoys crazy comedies that don’t follow formulas, anyone who enjoys Tina Fey’s humor (which should really be all of America), anyone who liked 30 Rock or The Office, anyone who likes Jane Krakowski, and anyone who likes Carol Kane, which should, again, really be all of America. Tina and Carol are national treasures.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was automatically renewed for a second season, as the deal with Netflix in adopting the program from NBC included a two season order for the show. The second season is expected to premiere in spring 2016, though no official premiere date has yet been announced. Until next year!