Welcome to The A.V. Club’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge-watch. From Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17, Gwen Ihnat will be watching and reviewing every episode of the Netflix sitcom’s second season. You can watch and comment along with her here, or chime in on the individual episode reviews. For those watching the show at a more moderate pace, daily reviews by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya will start running Monday, April 18.

We’re about halfway through this binge now, and we’ve all had fun laughing at Mentos explosions and ’90s pop-culture mentions and especially, a shoutout to the end of Mad Men. If these one-liners were all that Kimmy Schmidt had to offer us, solid-gold that they are, it would still be a whole hell of a lot, and an extremely enjoyable show.

But Kimmy Schmidt is taking us even further than that. I started this season wondering about what makes Kimmy Kimmy, and how her time in the bunker might have affected her. While last season was all about Kimmy defeating her old demons (putting the reverend in jail) and building a new life, now she has to deal with the stuff she’s shoved away in her own mental bunker. Like her new friend Keith says, just because you’re out of it, doesn’t mean it’s out of you, and Kimmy still is not over her past (as her frequent burps indicate).

Jacqueline also has trouble dealing with her past, specifically the past of her ancestors (highlighted with a sweet phone call from her parents). She hijacks Deirdre’s gala based on her history as a mistress and a scheme worthy of the Ocean’s movies (Her raising her arms slowly as all the men flee the gala was especially impressive). Unfortunately, she soon finds out that no one she can pitch to will rally around her cause. She slumps to the floor in a pretty dark ending for this show (Kimmy has already stormed out to delusionally set up fake Christmas), leaving an episode on quite a cliffhanger for once.

But there is so much delight that comes before: Amy Sedaris’ various degrees of histrionics, Titus and Mikey’s budding relationship conservations, and Kimmy and Keith are out-and-out cute. Jacqueline and Deirdre are like a clash of the society titans, with Anna Camp somehow believably pulling off playing a former state department employee who is now at a loss with what to do with her intellect when all she’s faced with is boring-ass galas. Buoyed by the mistresses (nice nod to the flashback ’90s scene with Rachel haircuts and cosmopolitans), Jacqueline beats Deirdre at her own game, but since Deirdre wanted Jacqueline to rise so much, it’s almost a win for her as well.

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Grade: A-. Might as well just leave this grade up here for the duration. Damn, this show.

Stray observations

  • I feel like the courtroom-stalling trick was a knock at the sloth scene in Zootopia, which I totally get.
  • Meta-Kimmy commentary: “Men find funny women disgusting.”
  • Best Amy Sedaris moment: Okay, it’s now to the point where I have to stop watching because I’m missing lines because she’s making me laugh too hard. Then later I’ll just start laughing at the sink or something and someone in my family will ask me why and it’s because I was thinking of Amy Sedaris and the ostrich. So yes, this episode, her best moment (in a sea of great moments) is freaking out about the fact that an ostrich can run 30 miles an hour (“What? No! Help!?”), then about the phone call immediately after it (“Don’t answer it! It’s an ostrich!”)
  • Kimmy doesn’t get it: Thinking the garment bag is a dress.
  • Kimmy non-swears: “What the Hellman’s Mayonnaise was that?”
  • Unbreakable guest spot: Sam Page, mean Dr. Rapist Greg Harris from Mad Men, as well as a vital Mindy Project guest star, is downright swoonworthy here as Keith, an army vet who is the first to correctly diagnose Kimmy with PTSD. Also, Anna Camp continues to delight as the unhinged Deirdre. And we got a upside-down faced Jon Hamm cameo, as he takes credit for a number of movie plots, actually based on the films of M. Night Shyamalan.
  • Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pop-culture reference: Although Titus thinks John Cusack is fat now, he still would.
  • Spot-on signage: “In dog beers, I’ve only had one.”
  • Kimmy cartoon-character outfit: Heart-and-flowers pattern cardigan. Her lace dress for the gala was nice, but all that dress-shopping Jaqueline did was worth it; hers was stunning.

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