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.
My A.V. Club boss Laura Browning recently put a moratorium on the word “hipster,” because it can mean so many things to different people. While I usually agree with Laura (like 99 percent of the time), there is no mistaking the type that Kimmy Schmidt is ending up here. Ably demonstrated (and cast) by Girls’ Zosia Mamet and Tina Fey’s Whiskey tango Foxtrot costar Evan Jonigkeit (who has also appeared on Girls), these two personify the dreaded gentrifiers Lillian has sworn to keep out of her neighborhood, like so many plague-filled pests. I find everything these hipsters do is hilarious, from their pointless hats and suspenders to their name merge to their inability to identify the word “work.” As many shows have done before Kimmy, the scenesters are easily defeated, merely by out-scene-ing them (Titus’ portrayal of a speakeasy door guy only adds to the tremendous evidence of his acting ability).
Aside from Titus and his Etch A Sketch (which is fantastic), Jacqueline’s journey toward empathy continues when she literally takes a walk in another woman’s shoes: Linda, the receptionist at her dentist’s office. This also benefits her relationship with Kimmy, as her insistence on having Kimmy help her for no pay leads us to something we haven’t seen much so far this season: the dark side of Kimmy Schmidt. Even a sunny hopeful, like Kimmy, who would fit perfectly into a Mentos commercial, actually has limits, and leave it to Jacqueline to break them. What this season is so artfully developing is an eventual chink in Kimmy’s unbreakable-ness, because nobody could go through what she’s gone through unchanged. And at almost 20 episodes, it’s time for Kimmy to start visiting the dark side (“Oh sure, let me get the door, your highness!”) And it’s convenient that this happens just around the same time as Jacqueline’s ascension into becoming a nicer person. At the end of the episode, they meet in the middle, right before a perfect Mentos montage.
- Amy Sedaris is completely unhinged in every single scene she’s in and I love it. It’s getting to the point where I start laughing as soon as she shows up. The binge-watch is taking hold, people!
- Speaking of, I know Kimmy and Titus’ apartment is supposed to be crummy but it looks more artistically cozy every time I see it.
- This episode was helmed by Shawn Levy, director of the Night At The Museum movies.
- “Is this the part of town where flies are made?”
- Between Kimmy and Brett on Togetherness, is an Uber driver becoming the new go-to TV profession for unemployed people?
- “From now on, I’m all about getting paid, yo. Like the dad from Mary Poppins before he got them kites, son!”
- Kimmy totally gets it: There’s nothing a Mentos can’t fix, right?
- Kimmy non-swears: Kimmy’s a fudging Uber driver! Also, “cozy uptown duck palace.”
- Unbreakable guest spot: I’m sure this appearance by Mamet and Jonigkeit as the Thomsteins from Austin is a one-off, but they’re so perfect, I’d love it if they came back to watch more Chuck E. Cheese/Full House performances. Also, that was Kenan Thompson, of course, in Lillian’s flashback with her husband Roland.
- Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pop-culture reference: Kimmy wants Jacqueline to pretend to be the voice of Kitt in David Hasselhoff’s Knight Rider.
- Spot-on signage: A Malcolm X street sign refers not to a rapper, but a black pope.
- Kimmy cartoon-character outfit: The retina-damaging purplish Members Only jacket over pink sweater and floral pants.
- The note above mentioning reviews for those who will be watching the show at a more moderate pace is flooring me. Who could possibly watch this show at a more moderate pace? I’m already trying to hold off on the four episodes I’ll wrap up tomorrow. Three more to come today.