By Declan Hertel Staff Writer
The plan was to play “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – one of the latest original offerings from Netflix – in the background while I wrote this piece so that it might have reminded me of things to talk about. What actually happened
was I ended up re-watching the whole series and upon finishing, realized my deadline was in three hours and I needed to write the review.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is an easy show to get lost in as it follows the trials and tribulations of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper, “Bridesmaids”), a young woman trying to make it in New York after being saved from the underground bunker she was kept in as part of a doomsday cult. As the brainchild of one of the foremost comic geniuses of our time, Tina Fey (“30 Rock,” “Mean Girls”), the show is irreverent, hilarious, quotable and uplifting.
The ensemble cast is without a weak link. Kemper’s Kimmy Schmidt is undoubtedly the star of the show, and she plays the unbridled enthusiasm and adorable cluelessness of the character very well. But she is given a run for her money in every single scene she shares with any of her co-stars.
Tituss Burgess, who originated the role of Sebastian the Crab in “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway in 2008, plays Titus Andromedon, the gay, black, insecure struggling actor Kimmy rooms with upon her arrival in New York City. The chemistry between Kemper and Burgess makes the friendship of their characters a delight to watch (“read a nature video!”).
There is one actor who really does steal the show every time she appears, and that is the insanely talented Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock”). Krakowski plays Jacqueline Voorhees who is a rich New York wife, a constant slave to trends and her absentee husband, and Kimmy’s employer. If there is anything perfect about this show, it is Krakowski’s performance.
The humor in “Kimmy Schmidt” depends on fully embracing not only these strange, silly characters but also the pacing and proper delivery of the well-crafted dialogue, and no one in the cast is better at both of these than Jane Krakowski. It is truly a pleasure to see her rock it in every scene.
In addition to the regular cast members, there are many high-profile guest stars throughout the run of the show, which will be especially appreciated by fans of television. I found such great delight in their reveals, it seems a shame to spoil them, so I won’t.
I have nothing but good things to say about “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” It starts strong and just keeps going, like Kimmy herself. Beyond the pitch-perfect comedy, the show has an uplifting theme: the world is tough, and sometimes it seems like too much to handle, but if you believe in yourself and never stop moving forward, nothing can keep you down for long.
As brilliant-but-bleak shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” leave the air, perhaps “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” signals a shift toward brilliant-and-bubbly in the world of television. I’m excited to find out.