(Not) Movie Review: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

By Barbara Young —

I’ve been forced to review a television series that isn’t even on TV due to the crappy quality of the movies that have come out recently. There is no way I’m going to see “Get Hard” or “Home,” the two newest movies in theater. So instead, I’m going to take a look at the Netflix original series, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” this week.

The new series, launched in March, stars the ridiculously adorable Ellie Kemper, best known for her time playing Erin on “The Office,” as Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who lived in an underground bunker for 15 years because of a crazy preacher. Now she’s out, living in New York and discovering she doesn’t know much about the way the world works.

The show, written by Tina Fey, brings Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess from Fey’s previous project, “30 Rock.” The cast as a general whole are over the top, but ridiculous enough to be funny and not induce headaches.

The show’s premise is simple enough. Each episode follows Kimmy as she tries to get a job, a boyfriend and forget about her past as a “mole woman.”

This was the first Netflix series I had seen, and I was impressed by the quality of the show. For the most part the editing and script was well executed, and the comedic timing was on point.

There were a few times when I thought the comedy went for lower blows. It’s not an overly intelligent comedy, but it kept a good medium level, hovering somewhere between gags and full on racism. The show’s greatest downfall comes in the times when it stoops for the easy laughs and gets a little too close to insulting. That being said, I appreciate that the show is aimed for an adult audience, but it doesn’t constantly rely on awkward sex jokes that seem to be the go-to for current TV comedies.

Another comedy staple of recent years, the poorly executed flash-back, was abundant in this show, but I didn’t dislike it. Each flashback revealed a part of Kimmy’s life in the bunker, which proved to be material that could be spread throughout the remainder of the season, and not just used as a one-time bit joke.

The characters are an interesting mix of clichés and new ideas. I really enjoyed the landlady role of Lillian. She was an interesting take on a crazy New Yorker who commonly referenced her shady and backward past.

The show relies on secondary characters to play the role of the straight man who isn’t in on the jokes. While this works sometimes, it would be nice to have a more constant role of non-ridiculousness to compare the rest of the cast to.

Overall, it’s a great show to fill in your hours of boredom, but it’s not a piece of art. You’re not going to fall in love with the characters like you do in “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” but you will thoroughly enjoy their quirky personalities and antics.

3.5/5

 

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