Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
|Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt|
|Opening theme||"Unbreakable" by The Gregory Brothers and Mike Britt|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22–28 minutes|
|Picture format||1080p (16:9 HDTV), season 1
4K (16:9 Ultra HD), season 2
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1 with Descriptive Video Service track|
|Original release||March 6, 2015– present|
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an American web television sitcom created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, starring Ellie Kemper in the title role, that has streamed on Netflix since March 6, 2015. Originally set for a 13-episode first season on NBC for spring 2015, the show was sold to Netflix and given a two-season order.
The series follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Kemper) as she adjusts to life in New York City after her rescue from a doomsday cult in Indiana where she and three other women were held by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) for 15 years. Determined to be seen as something other than a victim and armed only with a positive attitude, Kimmy decides to restart her life by moving to New York City, where she quickly befriends her street-wise landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane), finds a roommate in struggling actor Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), and gains a job as a nanny for the melancholy and out-of-touch socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
Since its premiere, the show has received critical acclaim, with critic Scott Meslow calling it "the first great sitcom of the streaming era". As of July 14, 2016, the series has been nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, including two nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Production and developmentEdit
The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock when NBC executives asked them to develop a show for Ellie Kemper. Fey stated that they found an "innocence" about Kemper's face, but also noted there was a "strength" to it. One idea was for the show to center on Kemper's character waking up from a coma, but this idea was abandoned in favor of the cult-survivor storyline.
The show was initially under development for NBC under the title Tooken. However, this was later changed to the current title. Eventually NBC sold the series to Netflix. Fey has stated that this was in part due to NBC "not feeling confident about watching comedies". Prior to the network switch, NBC planned to air the series as either a mid-season replacement or as a summer series.
Casting announcements for the remaining roles were held on March 2014, with Tituss Burgess cast as the role of Kimmy's roommate, Titus Andromedon. Titus is a talented singer who works odd entertainment jobs such as dressing up like a robot in Times Square or as a singing waiter at a theme restaurant. Also cast was Carol Kane as Kimmy and Titus' landlord Lillian Kaushtupper.
Shortly afterwards, Sara Chase and Lauren Adams joined the series. Chase signed on for the role of Cyndee, Kimmy's closest friend during their years in the cult; Adams was cast in the role of Gretchen, a 10-year member of the cult who believes everything that she is told. Jane Krakowski was later cast in the role of Jacqueline Voorhees, a wealthy Manhattanite who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Megan Dodds was originally cast before she was replaced with Krakowski.
The show's theme song, "Unbreakable", was produced by The Gregory Brothers and written by Jeff Richmond. It is a tribute to The Gregory Brothers’ YouTube show Songify the News – auto-tuned news interviews that became viral videos. Richmond also wrote "Peeno Noir", a song performed by character Titus Andromedon during season 1, episode 6 of the series.
In the first season, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was in 8th grade when she was kidnapped for fifteen years by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). The Reverend held Kimmy and three other women hostage in an underground bunker, and convinced them that doomsday had come, gone, and had left them the sole survivors of humanity. Once the women are rescued, they go on to appear on the Today Show in New York City. After the show, Kimmy finds herself not wanting to return to Indiana, but instead to start a new life in New York City. Roaming around the city, Kimmy comes across landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane). Kaushtupper offers Kimmy a chance to room with Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) in her downstairs apartment. However, Kimmy has to seek a job in order to get the apartment. Returning a child who has tried to steal candy, Kimmy encounters his mother, Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) a Manhattan trophy wife, who mistakes her for a nanny, and who Kimmy mistakes as someone trapped in a cult. Soon after, Jacqueline hires Kimmy to be a nanny for her 10-year-old son. As Season 1 continues, Kimmy falls in love with a Vietnamese man, named Dong (Ki Hong Lee) from her G.E.D. class, goes to court to testify against the Reverend, and discovers how the world has changed in the 15 years she was locked up.
In the second season, Kimmy is sick of working for Jacqueline and acquires a job at a year round Christmas store and then as an Uber driver. She tries to get over Dong who enters a green card marriage with another G.E.D. student and eventually is deported. As Kimmy tries to move on, so do Titus and Jacqueline, who both find boyfriends. Titus begins dating a construction worker (Mike Carlsen) and Jaqueline begins dating a lawyer (David Cross). Jacqueline also goes back to her Native American heritage and decides to take down the Redskins, who her boyfriend's father happens to own. When Season 2 ends, Titus leaves to be a performer on a cruise and Lillian protests the invasion of hipsters on her neighborhood, while Kimmy makes amends with her mother (Lisa Kudrow) after advice from her therapist (Tina Fey) before receiving a phone call from The Reverend in prison, telling her that they need to get a divorce.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Ellie Kemper as Kimberly "Kimmy" Cougar Schmidt, the titular character. Armed with only unflagging optimism, a childlike sense of wonder and an 8th-grade education, she attempts to regain the life that was taken from her and navigate her way through the unfamiliar struggles of New York life.
- Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon (born Ronald Wilkerson), Kimmy's flamboyantly gay roommate and an aspiring actor and singer. Melodramatic and self-centered, Titus nevertheless cares deeply for, and is very protective of Kimmy. Despite his talent and ego, he is plagued by self-doubt after years of rejection in the business.
- Carol Kane as Lillian Kaushtupper, Kimmy and Titus' odd landlady. A proud born-and-bred New Yorker with a long, complex criminal history, she fights tooth and nail against the possible gentrification of her neighborhood. Despite her willingness to do anything to make a buck, she has a very big heart and will go out of her way to help her tenants.
- Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline White (formerly Voorhees; née Jackie Lynn White), a wealthy and insecure socialite who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Despite coming across as arrogant, condescending and out of touch, she is very fond of (and heavily reliant on) her new employee, who helps her gain perspective on her unhappy marriage. She is secretly of Lakota Native American descent and is passing for white. As the series progresses, she reconnects with her family and her heritage.
- Dylan Gelula as Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees, the pretty, popular, and bratty stepdaughter of Jacqueline, who is later revealed to be hiding her high achieving, 'good girl' personality. After her father divorces Jacqueline, she is sent to Connecticut to move back in with her mother, and only appears in one episode in season 2.
- Ki Hong Lee as Dong Nguyen, Kimmy's GED study buddy and love interest. An undocumented immigrant from Vietnam, he spends much of the show hiding from the authorities under the name "Richard Pennsylvania." He was deported in Season Two of the show.
- Adam Campbell as Logan Beekman, a wealthy acquaintance of Julian's, who becomes intrigued by Kimmy after discovering she has no idea he is from one of New York's richest families. They briefly date before his jealously over Dong spoils their romance.
- Sara Chase as Cyndee Pokorny, Kimmy's best friend from the cult.
- Lauren Adams as Gretchen Chalker, a willing member of the cult, who believes everything she was told.
- Sol Miranda as Donna Maria Nuñez, a cult member who pretends to not speak English during her time in the bunker, and is revealed to be using the "Mole Woman" name to advertise products.
- Mike Britt as Walter Bankston, a witness to the raid on the Bunker, whose remixed interview (set to music by The Gregory Brothers) serves as the series' theme song. Walter Bankston is loosely based on Charles Ramsey, one of the rescuers of the captives of the Ariel Castro kidnappings.
- Tanner Flood as Buckley Voorhees, Jacqueline's hyperactive, violent son.
- Andy Ridings (Season 1) as Charles, Buckley's tutor, who has a crush on Kimmy.
- Susanna Guzman as Vera, Jacqueline's housekeeper in season 1 and thus, Kimmy's co-worker. She believes Kimmy looks like "Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers"
- Tim Blake Nelson as Randy, Kimmy's stepfather, a very incompetent state trooper who met Kimmy's mother while searching for and failing to locate the missing Kimmy.
- Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, the man who imprisoned Kimmy, Cyndee, Gretchen and Donna Maria in an underground bunker for fifteen years and led them to believe that they had survived the end of the world.
- Tina Fey (Season 1) and Jerry Minor as Marcia and Chris, incompetent prosecutors in the case against Richard Wayne. They are heavily implied to be Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, the lead prosecutors in the OJ Simpson murder case.
- Tina Fey (Season 2) as Dr. Andrea Bayden, an alcoholic psychiatrist who begins treating Kimmy for her experiences in the bunker.
- Sheri Foster and Gil Birmingham as Fern and Virgil White, Jacqueline's Lakota parents.
- Amy Sedaris as Mimi Kanasis, an acquaintance of Jacqueline's who is desperate to regain social status after her divorce.
- Fred Armisen as Bobby, a former flame of Lillian's.
- Mike Carlsen as Mikey Politano, a construction worker who started questioning his sexuality after receiving an unexpected answer when he hit on Kimmy in season one. In season two, he starts dating Titus.
- Anna Camp as Deirdre Robespierre, a wealthy, intelligent and dangerously bored trophy wife who becomes Jacqueline's rival.
- Chris Northrop as Meth-Head Charlie, Kimmy and Titus' neighbor.
- Doug Plaut as Terry, Kimmy's boss at the year round Christmas Store
- Brandon Jones as Brandon Yeagley, Cyndee's childhood crush and later ex-fiancée.
- Julie Tice-Bubolz as Yuko, a humanoid robot.
- James Monroe Iglehart as Coriolanus Burt, Titus' rival.
- Jason Kravits as Gary Dubbin, Jacqueline's divorce lawyer.
- David Cross as Russ Snyder, a pro-bono attorney that Jacqueline pursues.
- John Ellison Conlee as Rick, a cast member at Professor Dracula's, a Times Square theme restaurant where Titus works.
- Suzan Perry as Sonja, an old and unusual student at Kimmy's GED class. At the end of season one, she marries Dong so that he can stay in the United States.
- John McMartin as Grant, a friend of the Voorhees' and a war veteran ("Kimmy Goes on a Date!")
- Martin Short as Dr. Grant (pronounced "Franff"), Jacqueline's plastic surgeon ("Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!").
- Pat Battle as herself, providing a report on the news, advertising the play Titus wishes to audition for ("Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!")
- Richard Kind as Mr. Lefkovitz, Kimmy's GED teacher ("Kimmy Goes to School!")
- Mark Harelik as Julian Voorhees, Jacqueline's adulterous husband ("Kimmy Goes to a Party!")
- Kiernan Shipka as Kymmi, Kimmy's half-sister ("Kimmy Has a Birthday!")
- Christine Ebersole as Helene, Xanthippe's biological mother ("Kimmy's in a Love Triangle!")
- Dean Norris as M. Le Loup, a coach who helps Titus pass as a straight man in order to improve his casting chances ("Kimmy's in a Love Triangle!")
- Kenan Thompson as Roland, Lillian's deceased husband ("Kimmy Drives a Car!")
- Zosia Mamet and Evan Jonigkeit as Sue and Bob Thompstein, a pair of hipsters from Austin ("Kimmy Drives a Car!")
- Samuel Page as Keith Habersohl ("Kimmy Walks Into a Bar!")
- Joshua Jackson as Purvis ("Kimmy Goes to a Hotel!")
- Billy Eichner as himself ("Kimmy Meets a Drunk Lady!")
- Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Dave, a talk show host ("Kimmy Meets a Celebrity!")
- Ice-T as himself ("Kimmy Sees a Sunset!")
- Judy Gold as Judy ("Kimmy Sees a Sunset!")
- Josh Charles as Duke ("Kimmy Finds Her Mom!")
- Lisa Kudrow as Lori-Ann Schmidt, Kimmy's mother ("Kimmy Finds Her Mom!")
|1||13||March 6, 2015|
|2||13||April 15, 2016|
The show has been widely acclaimed by television critics, who have praised the writing and cast.
The first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 95%, based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blessed with originality and a spot-on performance from Ellie Kemper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is as odd as it is hilarious." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Scott Meslow of The Week called the series "the first great sitcom of the streaming era", praising its wit, edge, and feminist tone. Brian Moylan of The Guardian noted that it is "the sort of show that could benefit from multiple viewings, because the jokes are so packed in you’re sure to miss something while laughing." TV Guide named it the "best new comedy of 2015". IGN reviewer Max Nicholson gave the first season an 8.3 out of 10 'Great' rating, saying "Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is another winner in Netflix's original series catalog. Not only is it charming and funny, but it's unabashedly kooky, and Ellie Kemper nails the lead role."
Some reviewers have criticized the show's portrayal of Native Americans, with Vulture referring to a prominent Native American subplot as "offensive." BuzzFeed cited the lack of a plurality of portrayals of Native Americans as the main issue with the subplot, stating that "the way Native Americans are represented on this show matters. It's not one representation among a cornucopia of representations; it's the single mainstream representation in years."
In the wake of the controversy, Tina Fey retorted: "I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There's a real culture of demanding apologies, and I'm opting out of that."
The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has received further critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a 100% approval rating, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Not letting up in season two, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is still odd in the best of ways, wonderfully building on its unique comedy stylings and brilliantly funny cast." On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The series' second season was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, including a second nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The season's third episode, "Kimmy Goes to a Play!," drew criticism due to its portrayal of an Asian-American protest group, which was seen as a thinly-veiled dismissal of the criticisms the series had received during its first season. Anna Akana, in her 2016 Asians in Entertainment Key Note speech, stated that "the plot fe[lt] like a pointed, ironic response to anyone who has criticized Fey's past projects..."
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