~*~The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt~*~
I, like a huge part of the world, am obsessed with the hilariousness that Tina Fey is guaranteed to produce, so I was anxiously awaiting The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Netflix premiere on March 6th and just finished binge watching the entire series in less than 24 hours. Granted, it's only about thirteen 23-25 minute episodes, but still. Initially sold to NBC, Netflix bought it with a two season guarantee, which means we will have more Kimmy next March! For this, I am super excited. After watching season one, I would guess that there's a lot of hope for future seasons.
Firstly, Kimmy Schmidt is hilarious and oddly relatable. Sure, we haven't been kidnapped and held underground in a doomsday cult for 15 years, but we can relate to her overwhelming positivity, being an outsider in her community, her desire to explore and be happy, and her ability to embrace her general weirdness. Plus, she's still a kid trapped in a 30 year old's body because she's obsessed with the world she left behind as an almost 8th-grader, meaning her pop culture references will make us long for our childhoods and also make us laugh in embarrassment of our old obsessions.
Throw in Titus, her gay roommate that is a Broadway wannabee, Lillian, her hilarious no-filter elder landlord, and Jacqueline, played by the always amazing Jane Krakowski, who is her rich employer currently going through a terrible marriage whose young son is a super-villain in training, and you have a great cast. I mean, Jane alone is a scene stealer.
But, if you ask me, the show does gas out a little near the end. Some issues about race arise, which I'll cover later, and the plots become a little different than the whimsy found in the beginning. The purpose of certain subplots become questionable, and the direction of the series does shift. It's not enough to deter me from the series, but I am curious what season two will cover with the directions they are choosing to take the show now.
~*~The Guest Stars~*~
There is also a huge plethora of amazing guest stars in this series. I want to focus on four because they really had me freaking out, but there have been so many more. Firstly...MARTIN SHORT! Martin Short plays a heavily disfigured plastic surgeon to the point where he is nearly unrecognizable, and while he is only in the show for a single episode, I'd love to see his royal weirdness again. I was heavily debating on showing a picture in this post, but I am leaving it to your imagination if you haven't watched the show yet because the fact that Martin Short is hidden in that hilarious get-up is part of the fun.
Dean Norris, who played Hank in Breaking Bad. Now, my first "My Current Obsession" post was on the aforementioned show, so you can imagine how much fangirling and freaking out occurred in my dorm room when I realized Dean Norris had a guest role for an episode. I'm not going to say who he plays, but he's still got that great machismo attitude down without having to play a gun-toting DEA agent.
Lastly, we have two Broadway big-wigs! Nic Roleau and Jefferson Mays both had guest appearances in a musical number that made me laugh hysterically. Nic was the second Elder Price (took over for the amazing Andrew Rannells) in the hilariously offensive Broadway show THE BOOK OF MORMON. Jefferson Mays has been murdered thousands of times since he plays the enter D'ysquith family in A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER and he kills it every dang time! Keep going strong, Jefferson! You rock!
Click the Broadway show titles if you want to read my reviews of their respective shows. I've been fortunate enough to see them both on-stage strutting their stuff and they are ridiculously talented.
~*~Some Personal Weirdness~*~
The show has a level of unbelievability, doomsday apocalypse survival thing aside. All the guys falling at Kimmy's feet, combined with Xanthippe's behavior was just weird to me. The guys are self-explanatory just because, well, Kimmy is weird and very cute, but the world just doesn't work that way. Xanthippe is Jacqueline's step-daughter that is hell-bent on getting Kimmy fired because she doesn't let her pretend to do illegal things and she calls her out on her fake stories. While her stand-off's with Kimmy are hilarious, her characterization is just really off to me. She's a bored-looking teenager that pretends she's cooler than she is to impress her friends, but she threatens Kimmy in a movie-villain mastermind "I own you" way that just felt off to me. No other way to put it. I kind of was really happy when they figured out a way to remove her from the show. I don't know if it's because she will be back later, or because Tina Fey realized her character just wasn't working.
~*~The Questionable Stuff~*~
There's a lot of controversy surrounding this show because of race. The question is whether the show is toeing the line of using satire about racism and stereotypes to show people how terrible it is, or whether the content is really racist. The way they are choosing to portray two communities can be considered to be racist depending on how you view the comedy and jokes. Some people from those communities have spoken how they do not believe it is racist, while others believe it is, and the same goes for general viewers who are not Asian-American or Native American. A lot of people are saying that the community's are not as accurately portrayed as they could be, like in Fresh Off The Boat.
Titus, Kimmy's roommate, is a gay black man from rural Mississippi that ran away from a marriage so that he could be himself in New York City. He undergoes the trials and tribulations of being a black male even though the city is a diverse area, and we do witness that the color of one's skin can mean something and change how you are treated (see the werewolf episode for reference). However, the show tackles Asian-American's and Native American populations differently, though Titus's story will always be more in depth because he is a leading character.
When Dong, a guy from Vietnam who is working towards his GED with Kimmy, becomes her friend, there are jokes about him being good at math and not liking to be touched, and other stereotypical things. Eventually, he becomes a big character, though. SPOILER ALERT: He has a huge crush on Kimmy and he actually eventually wins her heart, which does not normally happen with the Asian-American characters, but because immigration is after him he is forced to marry someone to get his citizenship so he can stay in America. END SPOILER. Aside from that big spoiler, Dong is constantly running from immigration because he is in the country illegally, and the show could have used this as a soapbox or a way to educate people, which they chose not to, and instead used some cliches and questionable story-lines to surround his character's existences.
The Native Americans in the show are played by actual Native American actors. Gil Birmingham, who many people will recognize from the TWILIGHT franchise, is Comanche and Sheri Foster is Cherokee. They both play Jacqueline's parents, and Jacqueline is played by the white Jane Krakowski. So Jane, a white actress, is playing a girl who is Native American that is trying to be white because she feels like an outsider in her community and identifies more with popular culture outside of her community. So, like Kimmy, they are using an outsider storyline with her and allowing her parents to bring in the realistic Native American community beliefs to the show, which isn't done that respectfully heritage-wise in my opinion. I do believe that if either Birmingham, a very successful actor, and/or Foster has an issue with the portrayal of Native Americans on the show, they would not have taken these roles, but such a thing is up to the discretion of the viewer.
~*~Other Serious Topics~*~
The show does tackle serious topics though, as mentioned in Titus's case. There's also the viewing of using pity money after a personal disaster becomes a nationwide news story. Education due to funding is joked about, the fact that women are held to certain physical standards to the point where they change everything about them via surgery is noted, the way teenagers feel like illegal things are the way to be cool is touched upon, the charisma of cray cray cult leaders is explored, and even the cult-like behavior of work-out phenomenons is touched upon. This was actually pretty funny.
Plus, Tina Fey makes an appearance in a terrible perm wig. So there's that, too.
The show is not the ultimate best because it does have some controversy that is worth discussing, but it is a hilarious tale of a naive, doe-eyed girl navigating the big city that a lot of people will find entertaining. It's a fast binge that is good for sick days and can serve as a nice pick-me-up when needed. The cast is strong and the storyline is a little wonky, but in a way that works due to the execution. I recognize that there is controversy that will deter some viewers as will the changing plot a little over half way through that can make viewers seem disillusioned, but for now, I am still curious about what season two has to offer after the interesting ending to season one even though I have to wait another year for it. I think the show is worth giving a chance and viewers can draw their own conclusions after experiencing the comedy for themselves!
Have you seen the show yet? What are your thoughts? Share them below!
Don't forget to comment with what you think my next Netflix binge should be!
All GIFs were taken off of the Internet and are not my property of any kind, they are the intellectual property of their creators.