Netflix strikes again with ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Hope Austin

Need something to lighten you up after binge-watching “House of Cards”? Netflix original “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is exactly what you are looking for.

The comedy follows shenanigans of the titular, 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) after she and three other women escape the clutches of an apocalyptic cult leader (John Hamm).  After 15 years in a bunker, Schmidt is ready to go out and see the world.  Unfortunately for her, she only has a middle school level education and sense of maturity.

Finding herself in New York without a job or apartment, Schmidt receives help from Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her would-be thespian roommate and Lillian, their streetwise landlord.  In desperate need of a job, Schmidt becomes the assistant of the wealthy Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski).  Schmidt’s lack of familiarity with pop culture and technological advances throughout the past 15 years leads to several Amelia Bedelia-esque hijinks.

Co-created by Tina Fey, the show is a brighter, sunnier version of  “30 Rock.”  The biting satire and witty one-liners are all present, but there’s also this undercurrent of qualities reminiscent of shows like “Parks and Recreation.” One just can’t help but root for these characters.  Kimmy is burningly optimistic and terribly naïve, a combination of traits that has a high potential to be very irritating, but Kemper’s charm saves Kimmy from falling into this trap.

Even when it’s being funny, “Unbreakable” isn’t all puppies and rainbows.  Kimmy was kidnapped and held hostage for 15 years, and rather than abandoning this premise once she gets to New York, the show forces her come to terms with it.  One of the main conflicts of the show centers on Kimmy’s identity.

“Unbreakable,” though charming, is not perfect.  Although the show seems to be able to satirize some aspects of modern society, it falters when it comes to race.  The jokes can range from hilarious to shockingly out of touch.  If the show wishes to play with racial humor, it needs to gain a little more self-awareness.  Some viewers also might lose patience with Kimmy andher constant “is this what the future is like” jokes.