Tina Fey brings Netflix an unbreakable comedy

Emma Mills & Samantha D’Alonzo, Contributing Writing, Contributing Writer

When you first hear the premise of the new Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you think, “What kind of sick human being could possibly create a comedy where the main character was held hostage in an underground cult by a psychotic fake preacher for fifteen years?”  Then you remember that Tina Fey writes and produces this show and things make sense again.  The show revolves around Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), one of the aforementioned preacher’s captives.  Upon being rescued from the underground bunker, Kimmy Schmidt moves to New York City to restart her life.  Schmidt is completely clueless and living in the same world she left 15 years ago when she was 14.  Kemper accurately portrays a girl struggling to adapt to this new world. Kemper is known for minor roles in Bridesmaids, The Office, and the Disney TV show Sofia the First, where she played a talking dinosaur named Crackle.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has all the ingredients of a cliche sitcom: an irresistibly catchy theme song, a somewhat repetitive but lovable plot, and stereotypical characters.  With Schmidt, Titus (her “fabulous” gay best friend), Jacqueline (a rich blonde woman going through an identity crisis and a divorce, who also happens to be a closeted Native American), and Dong (a questionably-named, hard-working Vietnamese immigrant) the show should be unbearably corny but is actually laugh-out-loud funny.

In the first 11 episodes, Kemper beautifully executes her role and the sitcom is filled with jokes made at the expense of society and what we accept as normal.  Kimmy was totally hidden from the changing world, so when she sees the modern world she cannot help but question some of its accepted practices.  In one episode, when Jacqueline visits her horrifying plastic surgeon, who has had 17 too many surgeries, to fix her feet, Kimmy cannot help but point out to the waiting clients that beauty comes from the inside and that they should not have to change their bodies.  This message is conveyed in a non-serious fashion in hysterical outburst, and makes use of Kimmy’s middle school language.  Perhaps Fey is trying to portray the simplicity of the issue, telling the audience that this is something a middle-schooler could figure out.  Unfortunately, the series ended its first season on a low note.  Despite the fact that Kemper’s performance was consistent, the plot dragged and just was not as funny in the last couple of episodes as they covered the preacher’s trial.   That being said, Tina Fey did make an appearance as a terrible lawyer with a horrific hairdo.

But as a whole, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an excellent sitcom jam-packed with satire and heart.  Fans of Tina Fey’s previous works will feel right at home watching the new original series.