TV: Binge on ‘THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT’

unbreakable_kimmy_schmidt_a_lKate Cornell // Columnist

Last month brought us THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT and a perfect example why some TV is not meant to be seen once a week.

Netflix saw the need for binge-watch comedy back with ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. When ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT aired on Fox, it never gained a big audience, which was why it was cancelled in the first place. It wasn’t until the show came out of DVD that it gained a cult following i.e. it wasn’t big until it could be binged.

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THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is a delightful binge that is a wonderfully entertaining return to the single cam format for Tina Fey. THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT follows Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, BRIDESMAIDS), a girl captured by an apocalyptic priest, after she is rescued from the bunker in which she and three other women were held. Rather than live the life of a rescued victim, Kimmy adopts a shroud of anonymity and moves to New York City. Her roommate, Tituss Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), is a failed Broadway actor with a LION KING obsession and her landlord, Lillian (Carol Kane), is a crazy 60’s hippie throwback. The cast is rounded out with Jane Krakowski as Kimmy’s socialite boss. There are several cameos to look forward to during the season.

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I’m not a fan of the word “quirky” though some would probably label TUKS as a “quirky” TV show. Kimmy is so optimistic and bubbly, she makes Leslie Knope (PARKS AND RECREATION) look like a pessimist, but it works. The only problem I can see with the series is one of pacing. It seems like so much is being crammed into each episode that, when we only see certain characters for one or two episodes at a time, we start to notice the absence. The final two episodes are great. I only wish there were a little bit more of a slow burn throughout the rest of the series. Like 30 ROCK, TUKS piles on the comedy. The script is packed with more jokes, quick-witted, tongue-in-cheek, referential, and in a single cam format, you don’t have to wait for the canned laughter, which is good because there’s certainly a follow-up joke. And, again like 30 ROCK, on a rematch, you’ll notice things you missed the first time.

Another interesting thing to note (or not, it really doesn’t factor into your enjoyment of the series) is that all the main characters are either female or a minority. The white male characters are either villains, or have short character arcs that don’t last more than two episodes. It left me wondering if this was why TUKS wasn’t allowed on network TV or we’re finally breaking away from the white male centric comedy.

kimmyschmidtAs quotable as Liz Lemon, as charming as Leslie Knope, THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is worth the binge.

 

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