I don't really have as much time as I'd like to gush over Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the new Netflix comedy from 30 Rock producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, but I don't know if I'll ever have enough time to talk about this series at the length and depth I'd like. This is a show that won me over for life in the opening minutes - hell, from the first promo I saw. It's bright and colorful and charming and weird and wholesome and hilarious, taking the skewed absurdity of 30 Rock and marrying it with the heart-scrunching optimism of Parks and Recreation.
And there's plenty here that's all Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too, and that's namely Kimmy Schmidt. Ellie Kemper is, to quote Titus, "te-nay-she-us," the queen of "sticktoittivity." Kemper's been a highlight of any project she's joined, but this role is especially meant for her, with her berserk energy, cheerful intransigence, her nearly unhinged levels of positivity. Kimmy's relentlessly cheerful, until she's not, and when she screws up her face and lets the rage free, she's somehow even better.
She's joined here by an incredible supporting cast. Tituss Burgess takes a role borne of cliché, the sassy and theatrical black gay man, and makes it entirely his and entirely new. His tendency for melodrama is the perfect foil for Kimmy's plucky perseverance, and the third in their crappy domicile threesome, the great Carol Kane, is never funnier or better than she is here, and that is after a decades-long career of being the literal best. Lillian's as untrusting as she is untrustworthy, hard and strange, fiercely loyal and completely insane. She's a miracle.
Fey certainly learned how to write for Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock; she delivers these cluelessly blueblooded lines with such remarkable panache, and the reveal of the actor behind Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, which I won't spoil here for anyone who hasn't finished the season yet, was absolutely perfect. Who better to play a man so charismatic that one of his kidnap victims is still worshipping him?
It's great that Fey's husband Jeff Richmond is executive producing: he's responsible for some of the best gags on 30 Rock, and certainly the best music, a credit I assume has made its way to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with its catalogue of weird, catchy songs.
What a relief that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, originally slated for NBC, made the move to Netflix, because this is a show so smart and odd and sweet that its ratings would suffer terribly on a typical network. Netflix is the perfect home for such an eccentric, colorful bird, and not least because we don't have to wait a week in between episodes.
Are you guys watching? Tell me you are! This gosh-darn show is a treasure.