Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reviews Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a Tina Fey -produced project that was originally set to air on NBC. The network passed on the pick-up and Netflix got it instead. The first 13-episode season was released a few months back to mostly positive reviews but I found quite a few things to nitpick despite enjoying it overall.

For one thing, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt literally never misses an opportunity to make a joke. This would normally be a good thing but most of the jokes Kimmy Schmidt cannot contain are lame and predictable - "That's what she said!" - and too many of the "punchlines" are nothing more than dated pop-cultural references no one under 35 is likely to get. Almost as often, characters just interject absurdities because...

All of the characters are one-dimensional, causing a lot of scenarios to fall flat and make it apparent that the plot is a contrivance for some 30 Rock alumnus to do schtick. In fact, there are an awful lot of similarities to 30 Rock. One of the core cast will never do something stupid because they have a stupid character so, when something stupid needs to happen, he magically appears to handle it. Viewers have no problem determining which stock character is used for what purpose because every one lets the audience know within moments of appearing. If the spoiled brat walks into the shot, something will immediately happen or be said to indicate that she is a spoiled brat - no room for guessing, ever. It's all very formulaic, despite the high concept.

It is also painfully self-aware of this and its many other flaws - it is painfully self-aware at all times, in fact, of everything. The actors wink at the cameras, the characters zing themselves, and the writers remind themselves to stop riffing by way of character.

That being said, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is actually funny on occasion - often enough to make it worth watching - but being released a season at a time did it no favors. Had the episodes gotten a weekly release, the holes probably wouldn't have been so noticeable. Its perky attitude is infectious but can also work against it, as can its popcorn-fire tongue-in-cheekery, so I suggest watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt over the course of several sittings.

© The Weirding, 2015

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