Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

In “Kimmy Googles The Internet!,” Titus and Kimmy both attempt to grow up, but they base their efforts on misconceptions of what it means to be an adult. Titus believes that being an adult means dating someone mature, so he tries to make things work with Reuben, who he views as an adult because he has a baby, he takes taxis, and he has been to Rhode Island. Kimmy believes that being an adult means being in total control of her life and also more surface-level things like seeming fancy and important at a fancy and important dinner party that her college professor, played by Rachel Dratch, invites her to.

Right off the bat, the simple conceit of Rachel Dratch playing both halves of a married lesbian couple is one of the most delightful things I’ve seen on television this year. Dratch is always a scene-stealing guest star on any show, and Robert Carlock and Tina Fey thankfully understand that she’s so good she should be two characters at once. In a season full of brilliant guest performances (especially brilliant guest performances from 30 Rock alumni), this one is one of the silliest. And the characters work on a deeper level than just the jokes about ultra-liberal white academics (they’re raising a rescue chicken as their child and one is a professor of “herstory with a focus on the Viet-ma’am War”). But the characters are also used to bring forward a new conflict for Kimmy by exposing her insecurities about her past. In Kimmy’s mind, they’re the epitome of sophistication, but it becomes clear that their motivations are shallow. They only invited people to the dinner party that they have deemed “interesting,” and when it comes to Kimmy, her trauma is what they’re drawn to.

Kimmy naively thinks she was invited to the party because she has made a name for herself by skipping everywhere on campus, and it’s heartbreaking. Because in actuality, she was invited as a mole woman. Once again, Kimmy finds she can’t entirely escape her past. Even she briefly slips and uses present tense before correcting herself to say she was a mole woman, which Ellie Kemper delivers excellently. Kimmy’s humiliated by the fact that people can so easily look up her past and becomes worried that it affects the way people treat her. Sure enough, Perry admits that he was so okay with her flipping out on him because he knew about the bunker. Xanthippe confirms that she knew too, which is why she’s always being “so nice” to her.

Kimmy decides to see for herself, Googling her own name and finding the dozens of posts about the mole women, including mole women Halloween costumes and, in a particularly meta moment, the auto-tuned local news broadcast used as the theme song for the show. Kimmy sees Googling as snooping on people’s private lives, and she’s not wrong. The internet has made complete privacy nearly impossible. As Xan points out, plenty of adults have embarrassing things about them on the internet, including Kimmy’s former therapist Andrea, who appears again when Kimmy goes down to New Jersey to visit her at the mall piercing kiosk where she works. Sadly, she’s still an out-of-control alcoholic, but she still manages to get some good advice out in between her delirium. She tells Kimmy she no longer has to invest so much time and energy into hiding her secret, which should feel like an unburdening.

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Titus also has to let go of his vision of what it means to be an adult in the episode. At first, he plays it cool when Reuben tells him he has a one-year-old daughter. But when he finds out that daughter is named Linda, he freaks out, but only because a baby named Linda makes no sense to him. This spirals down a weird but hilarious tangent where Titus goes to a random office and demands to speak to Linda in HR (“Which one?” “All of them.”) and confirms that a baby named Linda is indeed not right. But he makes a deeper realization, too: He’s not compatible with Reuben, and he shouldn’t pretend to be just for the sake of personal growth. Because at the end of the day, that isn’t real personal growth at all, just the illusion of it. This arc works well, especially since it has its own signature Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt weirdness to it with all the Linda musings.

Similarly, Jacqueline’s character development comes about within a decidedly absurd premise. Every time the word “smoosh” is used in this episode and past ones, it gets me, so kudos to the writers for getting so much mileage out of something so silly, but I never want the smoosh jokes to stop. Russ is almost ready to get out of the hospital, but smooshing patients require a lot of care while recovering, and Jacqueline’s unsure if she can handle it. She practices on Mimi Cannasis, which opens the door for plenty of hilarious Mimi moments (Amy Sedaris is a gem). And after surviving that, it’s clear she can handle just about anything. Her storyline in the episode ends on a final twist when she arrives at the hospital to discover that Russ is hot now (and played by Billy Magnussen), which throws a wrench in Jacqueline’s journey to transcend her shallowness. In a way, all of the characters’ pasts are catching up to them, even as they try to move forward and grow.

Stray observations

  • Life According To Titus: The only people he can think of that he knows who have had babies are his own parents and the octomom.
  • The Bodyguard 2: Guard Harder
  • The decision to have Daveed Diggs be bad at rapping on the show was somewhat predictable, but I still like the ending. Kimmy and Perry’s dynamic is further developed by their willingness to embarrass themselves together.
  • “Which one of these scrunchies says I do crosswords in pen?”
  • “If you are allergic to any of the vegetables mentioned in Shakespeare, you will find none to your liking”
  • “I flipped and ran like a pancake with legs!”

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