With many of us feeling understandably anxious during this period of uncertainty, the timing has never been better to revisit the overwhelming optimism of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
For its first original sitcom, the streaming service went to legendary actress and writer Tina Fey, who dreamt up this delightfully odd story with her 30 Rock collaborator Robert Carlock.
After being abducted by a cult leader, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) spent 15 years in an underground bunker with three fellow abductees, believing the Earth had been reduced to a nuclear wasteland.
In the opening of the first episode, the Indiana Mole Women (as the media quickly labels them) are rescued by a SWAT team and discover that the world remains full of life.
As her “sisters” return to the small town of Durnsville, Kimmy is determined to build a whole new life for herself in New York City – but with some severely undeveloped social skills and a complete lack of life experience, it’s not going to be easy…
Here’s why Kimmy Schmidt is the show we all need right now.
It’s endlessly optimistic
While the premise may sound a little dark, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a comedy through and through, with the same zany sense of humour that made Fey’s previous series such a hit.
As the title would suggest, Kimmy has an extraordinarily upbeat outlook on life that refuses to be ground down by the many obstacles she encounters – and her attitude is infectious.
It’s inspiring to see this boundless optimism in a character who has experienced such hardship, especially as Kimmy’s feelings of isolation and claustrophobia are probably being felt quite widely at the moment.
While the series certainly depicts a heightened version of reality that isn’t always directly applicable to our own, the mantra set out by Kimmy in the first episode is one we should all take into consideration.
“Life beats you up. You can either curl up in a ball and die or you can stand up and say: We’re different. We’re the strong ones and you can’t break us.”
The cast is hilarious
Kemper is electric in the lead role, personifying a level of childlike glee that proves the perfect antidote to the cynical world around her, but she’s not the only star in this cast.
She quickly befriends her flamboyant flatmate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), whose unique blend of sloth and sass produces an endless stream of quotable lines.
Whether composing his original song titled Peeno Noir or bluffing his way into the nonsensical musical Cats, Titus is always getting himself into hysterical situations that are a joy to watch unfold.
Carol Kane is a comedy powerhouse as eccentric landlord Lillian, who lends her distinctive delivery to a number of the script’s most surreal jokes.
Fey chose her 30 Rock co-star Jane Krakowski for the role of wealthy socialite Jacqueline Voorhes, who begins as an entertaining parody of the privileged upper classes but goes on to have one of the show’s most interesting character arcs.
The core cast is rock solid and joined by a number of fantastic guest stars over the course of the series, including Amy Sedaris (Bojack Horseman), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Jeff Goldblum (Thor Ragnarok) and Fey herself in two different roles.
The story is complete
While Netflix cancellations have left a number of shows in the lurch, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently concluded its fourth and final season with a satisfying level of closure.
Not only does that mean there are 51 episodes ready and waiting for you on the streaming service, but also that you can rest assured the story is actually going somewhere and won’t be left with unresolved plot threads.
That’s not to say Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is gone forever, as Netflix are currently working on a special interactive episode using the same technology as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (seriously).
Daniel Radcliffe has been tapped to guest star in the new instalment, said to be the absolute last in the series, which is slated for release at some point in 2020.
Perfect entertainment for the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, this series sees the best in its characters and the world they inhabit, all the while being one of the funniest television comedies of recent memory.
When this pandemic is over and we emerge from our own respective bunkers, it would be a wonderful thing indeed if we shared the same exuberant appreciation for the world around us as Kimmy Schmidt.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is streaming now on Netflix