A Show That Redefines Feminist And Queer Comedy: Watched It Yet?

Posted on April 26, 2016 in Culture-Vulture

By Rachit:

Netflix, last week premiered the second season of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘. Created by Tina Fey and Robert Callock, the comedy-series features Elle Kemper as ‘Kimmy Schmidt’, a woman rescued from a doomsday cult who starts her life over again in New York. Along with Elle Kemper, the show stars Titus Andromedon, Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski. For those who haven’t had the chance to explore the ‘Unbreakable Life’ of Kimmy Schmidt and her friends, the show is about adapting to what life has to offer and never giving up.

In the first season we see Kimmy Schmidt leaving an underground bunker in which she lived for past 15 years and moving to New York where she finds herself living with Tituss (Played by Titus Andromedon), a flamboyant, sensitive and unapologetically feminine singer who does odd entertaining jobs. Their landlord Lillian Kaushtupper, is a wise old New-Yorker (Played by Carol Kane) who, besides her inability to make a buck, has a big heart and an eagerness to help people around her. Jane Krakowski plays Jacqueline White, a wealthy and insecure socialite who employs Kimmy Schmidt as a nanny for her younger child. Later in season one it is revealed that Jacqueline is of Lakota Native American descent and is passing for white.

After establishing the characters and their past lives in the first season, Callock and Fey take their stories further where they begin exploring how to deal with their past and move forward. ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ is a show that has the potential to appeal to everyone. The show deals with issues of mental health, abuse, gentrification and culture of silence with humor, in a way that has rarely been seen before. It tells the most complex stories in the most relatable and positive way that could possibly make you appreciate life a little bit more.

Here are some reasons as to why you need to add ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ to your weekend binge-watching list.

If there is one episode that stands out in this season, it has to be episode four- ‘Kimmy Kidnaps Gretchen‘. In episode four, Kimmy stages an intervention when ex-mole woman Gretchen joins another cult. The episode makes a successful attempt at reaching out to some of us who have never made our own choices. Who feel like that they are in a cycle, repeating same mistakes. Gretchen resists to Kimmy’s attempt to save her from entering another cult and says that they are two kinds of people – followers and leaders, “The sheep must follow the sheep captain”. A line that will make you laugh and quiver at the same time. The episode shows Gretchen doing drugs with strangers on the street, getting a tattoo, adopting a dog, binging on ice cream and for once in her life, following her heart. PS: Don’t get a tattoo when you are high! The show has a way to make pain seem funny. It’s hard not to laugh when Gretchen puts her hand on a burner, enduring pain in a way that is strangely comical.

In the episode, Tituss takes Mikey, a construction worker on his first gay date and on realizing that it could be more than just a date he decides to abandon him the next day. Next day in the morning Lillian points out to Titus that- “He can’t hide in there forever”. In our modern-urban life, rarely do we give someone a chance to truly love us. The episode talks about our fear of losing the one we might love, of opportunities we let go off because we are scared to give love a chance.

The show has something for everyone. If you are a person who loves playing pretend to what animals think in animal videos, the show has Bunny and Kitty to offer. The creators make fun about the fact that in our busy lives as parents it’s hard not to think about medicating our child to address their attention issues. Or about our nature to resist happiness as soon as we know we are happy.

The second season shows characters evolving and taking control over their lives. Kimmy learns how to give up on a possibility to have a relationship with Dong. She mends her relationship with Jacqueline and asks her if she could drive her car as an Uber driver. She takes charge of her mental health. After noticing physical triggers to male touch, she decides to get help from Andrea, a psychiatrist who she meets on an ‘Uber’ call. Andrea, played by Tina Fey is one of the most pleasant additions to this season. Her character has two versions, day and night time Andrea. During the daytime, she is a professional, disgruntled therapist who also runs a marathon. And at night, she is a bitter, mean and sharp drunk who warns Kimmy – “If you don’t deal with what you are pressing then one day your body is going to take over and do something rough. You’ll find yourself walking along a highway or eating at a Boston market.” The show runners make an effort to talk about access to mental health for all of us. There is a noticeable shift in Kimmy’s Character who feels that she doesn’t need therapy, to someone who is more aware of her actions and physical triggers. Night-time Andrea can save all of us a lot of therapy time, she points out to Kimmy, “During daytime it’s all about the process but the truth is, it’s always the parents, they fuck you up!”

Lastly, the second season is a tribute to all those who celebrate fake festivals with their fake families. It’s a story about three individuals who have all experienced loss and disappointment, but who have chosen to move forward observe things with a sense of compassion.

Packed with hilarious one-liners like, “I don’t get pissed off, I get pissed ON,” the show’s positive take on life is truly infectious. It might not be wrong to say that ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ is redefining feminist and queer comedy.

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