Last year, Netflix struck gold again with an original show of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The comedy show began with a serious situation as Kimmy was freed from a bunker after 15 years of being held by a cult leader. She then comes to New York to start her new life, a little naïve and scarred, but with a lot of niceness and determination. This is a Season 2 Recap, as well as news of the Release Date for Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3.
Season 2 was considered equally good as Season 1, and a step up by audiences and critics. It held its 95 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, while increasing from 78 to 82 on Metacritic. For those who watched and hopefully enjoyed Seasons 1 and 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, there is some good news, as Netflix announced at the beginning of this year that the show was already renewed for a third season, according to Entertainment Weekly. Yes, this means that Netflix already figured that Season 2 was going to be a hit as much as Season 1, and planned the cliffhanger at the end of the season appropriately.
The cliffhanger being a call from The Reverend (played by the one and only Jon Hamm) saying that he needs a divorce from Kimmy (Ellie Kemper). Considering that Season 1 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was spent with Kimmy trying to relinquish the man's control, it is surprising to see this character resurface and give Kimmy even more trouble. In other words, the show is in danger of repeating itself, and it is doing it at great cost as Jon Hamm can't come cheap.
Personally, I thought Season 1 was a strong beginning for this show, introducing very complex characters with Kimmy being the strongest of all. Season 1 was weak when the Reverend was on trial, especially when it seemed that the Reverend could win his court case by his sheer charm alone. I wasn't certain if this was a parody of Jon Hamm (the show is, at its heart, parody), but realistically, other cult leaders who are tried are often crucified and not praised by the media. So what was this satirizing? It was the lowest point of Season 1, which seemed to be a grounded situation comedy.
Season 2 was an interesting mix, as the story of the show took a much more dramatic turn, and yet still tried to do comedy. I will emphasize the "trying", because there are some serious things happening with Kimmy, but there is an attempt to keep it light with the other characters.
With Titus Andromedon finalizing his divorce with Vonda (Pernell Walker), it is clear in this season that he has left that behind and started a relationship with Mikey (Mike Carlsen). He has also got serious about his dream of being a performer by going on the cruise ship gig for the next four months, and Season 3 will undoubtedly begin with him trying to rekindle his relationship with Mikey. Considering that Titus is a fan-favorite of the series, there are a lot of people that want to see Titus and Mikey stay together.
As for Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), she has clumsily attempted to start a new life after her divorce. She is still rich, but not enough to survive in her former social circles, but she does her best to attempt to fit in, constantly feuding with wealthy socialite Desiree (Anna Camp) and getting help from Mimi (Amy Sedaris, a good comedienne who seems wasted here). There wasn't a lot of focus on Jacqueline as a mother like there was in the last season, except for an interesting episode where she bonds with her son. She seems to be getting involved in another relationship by the end of the Season 2 with Russ Snyder (David Cross). From that, there is this plotline about renaming the Washington Redskins that comes off very awkwardly because it is not a parody, because people actually want this. Again, I'm not certain what this is satirizing.
As for Lillian (Carol Kane), she had a bit more to do this season, but all her plotlines were all comical in nature. Her best moments were when she attempted to keep the neighborhood from getting classy, and it was admittedly understandable. Like all the other side characters, she has a plotline that was barely touched upon as she apparently had a love interest, Bobby Durst (played by SNL alum and Portlandia star Fred Armisen).
As for Kimmy herself, the relationship with Dong (Ki Hong Lee) was teased, but nothing came of it, at least for this season. In spite of all the other scene-stealing characters, there was still room to keep the focus on Kimmy and what she is going through. Her belches were the sign of her repression, and her meeting with a soldier shows that she has some serious PTSD issues.
It was interesting to see the relationship that Kimmy built as an Uber driver with Andrea Brayden (Tina Fey, the second role she has played on the show). Andrea being a psychologist is able to help Kimmy out as best as she can, but Kimmy has 15 years of issues to deal with.
In fact, Kimmy's PTSD is one of the show's subplots that really needs to be handled better, even though it might take away all comedy from the show. One thing that the show glosses over is that Kimmy spent 15 years in a bunker as the wife of the Reverend. There is no way that she was not abused sexually during that time, and the show, being a comedy, glosses over this. The closest Season 2 got to it is how Kimmy will instinctively attack anyone who tries to get physically intimate with her, and that is a big and heavy topic for any show to handle.
This season, the show did a pretty serious turn as it showed Kimmy facing her mother (Lisa Kudrow), but not blaming her for the reason why she was locked up. The scene comes off as very dramatic, and this is really where the show needs to go.
In fact, Season 2 had very few laugh-out-loud moments and was downright unengaging as a comedy. This is because it was trying a little bit too hard for them. The show started with the same spirit of zaniness that came with Tina Fey, the creator of 30 Rock and co-creator of this show, but in many cases, the comedy fell very flat of what really should be a serious storyline. There is one scene that ends with a parody of a Mentos ad, and while that is funny for nostalgic reasons, it feels out of place on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, at least as this show is progressing (and it is a good sign that it is progressing).
This season had a lot of throwaway/ignorance jokes. I don't know how to describe it other than an example.
Kimmy: It's like I waited 15 years to get my life back, and then I got a job, and I got a boyfriend, but then the world was like "Psych".
Lillian: I know, dear, you want it all right now, the career, the husband, the teardrop tattoo, but hey, have a little fun for five minutes.
Now, with Lillian's line about "the teardrop tattoo", the camera gets Kimmy's reaction, which is an understandably questionable look which probably matches the audience. However, Kimmy doesn't do what most people would do and question the oddity of the line. Season 2 is full of this type of dialogue, and it is done to death.
The show also really needs to make a decision about how much of our present day culture that Kimmy knows or doesn't know. Much of the comedy of Season 1 came from Kimmy being out of touch with things, but those jokes are getting really old, really fast for Season 2.
In short, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt really needs to tone down its zaniness factor and crank up the serious factor, as what Kimmy is really dealing with PTSD and undeniable abuse really needs to be handled delicately, and it might be able to be handled in a humorous manner. After all, the show is really about how we all have some kind of setback in our life, and we must persevere to get through them. Each of the characters, Titus, Lillian, and Jacqueline all have dreams that were dying, but when Kimmy met them, they renewed their lives as Kimmy was trying to start her life over.
As mentioned before, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be back next year, and most likely in the Spring of 2017. We'll have to wait to see what direction the story and tone of the show goes, but I honestly hope that it gets more serious.