‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ boasts high ratings

By Kate Joseph
Staff Writer

pic of kimmy
Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt. Photo: eonline.com

Back in 2006, Tina Fey’s sitcom “30 Rock” helped solidify NBC as the go-to network station for smart comedies. So it’s still a mystery why the peacock passed on the Fey and Robert Carlock creation “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” last year, but ultimately it’s a win for Netflix and its comedy-loving users.

“Unbreakable” made its streaming debut on March 6 with 13 hilarious episodes packed with the wonderful writing “30 Rock” defined as the norm for modern sitcoms.

The single-camera series spins a dark premise into an uplifting jaunt from the first few moments of the show. Our heroine, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), starts a new life in New York City after being rescued from an underground cult where she was kept for 15 years after being kidnapped at 14 years old. Despite the awful circumstances, Kimmy finds joy in nearly everything from automatic sinks to light-up sneakers.

An example of just how quickly the series turns from tragic to ridiculous: news footage detailing the rescue of Kimmy and her three bunker-mates warps into an insanely catchy auto-tuned viral video of a neighbor explaining what he saw. Don’t worry about rewinding for another look, though; the song opens each episode and gets better with every listen.

Kemper, an NBC native from her role on “The Office,” plays a naïve and witty Kimmy with incredible charm. Kimmy could easily fall into the hopelessly quirky, incompetent trope, but Kemper brings smarts and strength to a delightful character.

But she’s not exactly pulling dead weight with the rest of the female driven main cast.

Jane Krakowski, who also starred in “30 Rock,” portrays Jacqueline, Kimmy’s snobby and sullen boss, with surprising roots. Titus Burgess plays Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s wannabe Broadway starlet roommate from Mississippi (incidentally, Burgess originated the roll of Sebastian the crab in “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway). And Carol Kane lights up the small screen once again as Lillian, Kimmy and Titus’s eccentric landlord.

The first season also includes several big-name guest stars. Martin Short is nearly unrecognizable as a plastic surgeon; Nick Kroll plays a cult leader/cycling instructor; Tina Fey dons a curly wig and a pantsuit as Kimmy’s lawyer.

Like “30 Rock,” the series also seamlessly incorporates hilarious commentary on hot-button topics like feminism, racism, and religion. One storyline even focuses on Titus, a black man, and his social success with donning a werewolf costume rather than exposing his natural skin color. Tina Fey isn’t here to judge, she just wants to expose the shortsightedness of modern society through comedy.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is easily lovable and marvelously smart. Plus, it’s a short and sweet four-hour-long binge watch.

Viewers anticipate the announcement of the official date for the launching of season two of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” In the meantime, make some popcorn, gather your friends, and catch up on the series that is “unbreakable.” Just remember, females are strong as hell.