BY VICTORIA PIGNATELLI
The way Netflix releases its original content is a bit shaky to get used to as a consumer. Unless you’ve kept up with press releases and know the exact dates when new shows will be launched, they’ll all be a surprise to you. This is what happened with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. March 5, 2015 began a very weird, contemporary look at the sitcom. In its thirteen episodes, Kimmy Schmidt displays a carefully crafted comedy, viral ability and the impact of the Netflix original.
The plot surrounds Kimmy Schmidt, as the title clearly tells its viewer. Her story is told through her adventures in New York City after she and four other women escape a cult of “mole women.” Kimmy Schmidt is played by Ellie Kemper whom viewers may recognise as Erin from The Office. In essence, this premier season explores Kimmy re-entering the real world, learning about things she’d missed since the 1990s, and re-adjusting to a semi-normal life. Of course it wouldn’t be a comedy without mishaps and oddities, especially coming from writers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
The show was originally made for NBC’s comedy block that has now lost its heavy hitters like Parks and Recreation, Community and 30 Rock. However network execs didn’t option it for last fall’s premiere season, so to Netflix it went. This seems like a trend now, but instead of newer shows, cancelled fan favorites are making their way to Netflix to have another life outside of their network failure.
The show initially has a very 30 Rock-esque feeling to it, as is evidenced by Tina Fey’s work on that project. The viewers are presented with a wide array of characters that seem to symbolize the very strange world that Kimmy has come from and the world she has entered. Kimmy, after being stuck underground for nearly 15 years has virtually no concept of much of popular culture, which other main characters continually present her with. Aside from Ellie Kemper, the show stars Titus Burgess as Kimmy’s best friend Titus Andromedon, Carol Kane as their eccentric landlord, and Jane Krakowski portraying Kimmy’s socialite employer. The main cast works together in creating an oddly uncomfortable yet aware piece of entertainment.
Of course that just scratches the surface, as Kimmy isn’t simply exploring the new environment that she’s placed in. Her role towards the end of the season is to testify against the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (portrayed by Jon Hamm), her captor. That segment creates a rather long dull point in the season’s final 5 episodes.
However, in a general sense, the series has proven to be a decent comedy. It isn’t without its uncomfortable jokes or questionable moments and parts that don’t quite have a place. For instance, there is a point within the series that Jane Krakowski’s character, Jaqueline has a flashback to her childhood. It is revealed that she is a Native American. This caused some stir with viewers, as Jane Krakowski is not Native American herself. The series proves itself to be funny, which is the goal. If the writers can work out some kinks in the plot, and characters, it may just be the next Parks and Recreation. It is easily accessible, the jokes hit spot on, and the characters interact in a wonderfully weird way, creating a sense of exciting comedy that Netflix hasn’t worked with yet.
Netflix has already ordered a second season, which shows how powerful the on-demand market for television is.