Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt review
Well, I guess I’m in the minority of people who dislikes the new comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It feels weird to be on the outside of this particular trend as I am a big fan of zany comedy. However, it’s also an unfortunate truth that many comedians lose their edge as they get older and they start going back to the same well of jokes that served them in the past. But since comedy needs an element of surprise or new observation this can become tedious for the audience.
My main problem with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt boils down to this: lazy.
Many of the characters are the same as from 30 Rock. Isn’t Kimmy a version of Kenneth’s naive Pollyanna? I mean, Krakowski could be doing her Jenna role in this new show and we surely wouldn’t notice a difference. Apart from the fact that she’s wearing bronzer because she’s supposed to be… Native American passing as white? Seriously?
The flashback jokes around Krawkowski’s biological family were so unbearably hackneyed I cringed. If you’re going to flirt with racism by putting a white woman in red face at least make the jokes sharp and fresh. “We flew in the great metal sky bird. Just kidding, I know what an airplane is.”
The score is by the same guy who did 30 Rock’s music and is basically identical and distracting and lazy.
Many of the jokes are recycled from 30 Rock. For example, the scene where Kimmy gives an eloquent speech at the plastic surgeon’s office but in reality she’s speaking medication-induced gibberish? We saw that several times on 30 Rock. It’s tired.
The characters mostly yell their lines. This is a known rule of improv: if you’re about to say a tired line say it loud and with a big delivery and you’ll probably still land a laugh. Comics who commit can get away with a lot of lazy jokes if they come at you fast and loud. This is okay when you’re making it up as you go along, but the writers for Kimmy are leaning on the enthusiasm of their able cast way too often in order to land their soft material.
I also don’t mind situations beggaring belief in order to hit a funny punchline. It works quite well with the flashbacks to the cult Kimmy experienced. However, it’s also getting used for lazy stories. For example, the teenage girl Kimmy has to ground just happens to steal a story element from one of only two books Kimmy read when she was in the cult. And yet somehow it takes Kimmy several scenes to make the connection to the character names and plot she knows like the back of her hand? Seriously?
The goof on NYC feels like 30 Rock recycled jokes. Particularly the poking fun at hipsters and rich people. It’s so tired.
In fact, most of the jokes designed to poke fun at the late 90s (recycled due to Kimmy having been out of society since then) feel dated and lazy. They even make fun of her somewhat childish outfit even though NYC is a place where you can wear Saran wrap as a full outfit and it’ll be okay. Who would judge an adorable white woman dressed in a yellow jumper? No one. She would fit in just fine. Mocking her appearance is lazy comedy.
I could go on and on. I’ll probably try a couple more episodes before I give up on the show. And that’s disappointing.
I like the theme song. I really wish I could like the show, too, but apparently I’m alone as it’s getting great reviews.