Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What makes Kimmy Schmidt so darned Unbreakable, anyway?

Illustration for article titled What makes iKimmy Schmidt /iso darned iUnbreakable/i, anyway?

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.


So my in-depth exploration of of Kimmy Schmidt over the next 48 hours is leading me to think more about Kimmy’s sunny personality. Yes, I realize that the show is actually called Unbreakable, but as I delve more into these episodes, it’s almost bizarre how impenetrable this person is. This episode, which compares Kimmy to Gretchen, offers even more insight. Even a dumbfounded Kimmy asks Lillian, “Do people change?”

Gretchen, apparently, was always an easily led lummox, all the way back to her fast-food reference-dropping gymnastics coach. Maybe there are some people who just make bad choices, or in Gretchen’s case, were never given the chance to make their own choices, so she automatically goes for the wrong ones. Like Kimmy says, she can’t even choose her own adventure. (Although Lauren Adams’ delivery of “Let’s go to Red Hook with these Porpets and get pregnant!” may be my favorite line-reading ever on this show.) So it makes sense that Gretchen would be the mole woman who stayed the most faithful to Reverend Wayne, and the one most vindictive afterwards. And also the one most likely to lead a cult of her own. Kimmy, on the other hand, seemingly always had the strength and forthrightness to survive something like the bunker with her sunniness intact, but where did it all come from?


Titus also hasn’t really changed. He’s watched various men drift in and out of his apartment (giving Lillian a parade for free) and been hurt every time. He and Mikey have a downright adorable first date, leading Titus to retreat under his blanket (“You’ll never hurt me, blanket”) away from actual intimacy with Mikey, who even shares with Titus the basis of all great relationships: a love of The Lion King. At the beginning of the episode, Mikey is the Queer Eye fixup guy, but that’s all external. As Mikey rightly calls out by the end of the episode, Titus himself is a project worthy of the Property Brothers, needing foundation work, and rewiring on his insides. A relationship based on the Lion King and love of different reality TV programs: How can they fail?

In the end, most everyone gets their own happy ending: Gretchen with her plastic-bag- and-wet-T-shirt-based cult, and Titus with Mikey. In a way, it’s just like that great crime team, Bunny And Kitty, who become friends even though they’re from different sides of the law (fed/non-fed). Clearly, Bunny And Kitty are examples for all of us to follow, along with a theme song that I’ll be goddamned if I can get out of my head anytime soon.

Grade: A

Stray observations

  • “You gotta make like a 30-year-old single girl and settle.”
  • Also, pick your favorite Madonna era, “and there are wrong answers.” This was an amazing Titus episode. Keep him out of the thrift shop, and more into one-man shows and trying to get into clubs.
  • Robert Durst will only throw a hammer at you if he likes you.
  • No Jacqueline this episode, but surprisingly she wasn’t missed, because everyone else was so awesome.
  • I love how Kimmy and Cyndee speak the same ’90s speak, with their electronic mail and surfing the world wide web.
  • Meta-Kimmy commentary: “Now that’s what I call a MILF!” “Don’t tell us what you think it stands for! We already know it’s wrong!” “My interesting lady friend!”
  • Kimmy doesn’t get it: Thinking “nose candy” sounds harmless, but let’s ask around.
  • Kimmy non-swears: “Aw, cracker on a cracker!”
  • Unbreakable guest spots: Steve Buscemi and Kelsey Grammer as the celebrity voices in Gretchen’s Apple watch, but more importantly: an uncredited Will Arnett along with Dean Winters as Bunny And Kitty. Rated MA. We already pegged this as the theme song of the summer.
  • Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pop-culture reference: A brilliant nod to Jon Hamm and the end of Mad Men: “The reverend was a psycho liar who claimed he came up with the ‘Buy The World A Coke’ commercial.”
  • Spot-on signage: A homemade “Gretchen Check-in” sign is enough to derail Gretchen off the Cosmetology (by way of Scientology) cruise.
  • Kimmy cartoon-character outfit: Overall jumper dress on top of mustard sweater, underneath weird print baseball jacket. She also wears a lot of purses.
  • Up next: Look for five more Kimmy Schmidt episodes tomorrow, the last four on Sunday. This is my weekend schedule, and I’m sticking to it.

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