If there’s one thing that can’t be said about Netflix’s latest original show The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is that it’s unoriginal. The show traces us through the story of Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who was brainwashed into a (literally) underground cult when she was fourteen, and kept in a bunker for fifteen years. Now, having been found, Kimmy tries to navigate the adulthood she never prepared for, full of 21st century misunderstandings and general cluelessness.
With the minds behind 30 Rock and just Tina Fey’s brain in general, it’s no surprise that this has been endlessly entertaining; funny in a fast and understated way. There’s a quiet, unpretentious charm to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: it has no grand sentiments or ideas to put across; just an overly hopeful, awkward but peppy almost-30 year old trying to figure her life out.
As the titular character, Ellie Kemper is obviously the star, but also in the sense that she fully encapsulates Kimmy, and does not let your attention drift to anyone else. Having played Erin on The Office US, it seems finding the perfect frequency for just perky enough comes easy to Kemper. On a different show, Kimmy’s inevitable PTSD would be the central conflict but, aside from the fact that this is a comedy, the show is really about, as the title states, the unwavering, un-something, unbreakable will to get past life in the bunker and proceed to live as normally and happily as possible.
This isn’t to say that the show doesn’t have its dark moments – some flashbacks to the bunker days often fulfil this function in the story, especially towards the end of the season – but, much like Kimmy, it dwells less on those for the sake of keeping the story going. And of course, with such shenanigans, from getting her high school diploma and kissing boys, Kimmy is bound to have her own band of misfits. Titus and Jane Krakowski’s Mrs Vorhees are personal favourites, but the more-New-York-than-pizza-and-the-Statue-of-Liberty landlady and Kimmy’s inexplicably many and short-lived suitors each have their own special appeal.
In a world of dozens of Buzzfeed articles published every day dedicated to everything we miss about the 90’s, audiences are sure to enjoy what are Kimmy’s only point of pop culture references. It serves the purpose of reminding the audience of just how much Kimmy has missed out on, but also providing an insight on just how much has changed in the last fifteen years, in a way we probably take for granted.
With the names attached, and the medium through which it was released, a second season was announced before the first even arrived. There’s still so much to explore with Kimmy’s growth, and so much else we still don’t know whether she knows about. Imagine Kimmy with her first job, or on Twitter or eating a cronut. The mind boggles.