Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
GenreSitcom
Created by
Starring
Opening theme"Unbreakable" by Jeff Richmond
ComposerJeff Richmond
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
EditorKen Eluto
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22–53 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format1080p (16:9 HDTV) (season 1)
4K (16:9 Ultra HD) (seasons 2–4)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1 with Descriptive Video Service track
Original releaseMarch 6, 2015 (2015-03-06) –
January 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
Interactive special:
May 12, 2020
External links
Website

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an American streaming television sitcom created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, starring Ellie Kemper in the title role. It premiered on March 6, 2015, on Netflix and ran for four seasons, ending on January 25, 2019. An interactive special premiered on May 12, 2020.

The series follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Kemper) as she adjusts to life after being rescued from a doomsday cult in the fictional town of Durnsville, Indiana, where she and three other women were held captive by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) for 15 years. Determined to be seen as something other than a victim and armed only with a positive attitude, Kimmy decides to restart her life by moving to New York City, where she quickly befriends her street-wise landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane), finds a roommate in struggling actor Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), and gains a job as a nanny for the melancholic and out-of-touch socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).

Throughout its run, the series received critical acclaim, with critic Scott Meslow calling it "the first great sitcom of the streaming era". It received a total of twenty Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including four nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series and a nomination for Outstanding Television Movie for the 2020 special: Kimmy vs. the Reverend.[1]

Synopsis

Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was in eighth grade when she was kidnapped by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). The Reverend held Kimmy and three other women captive for 15 years in an underground bunker and convinced them that a nuclear apocalypse had come, gone, and had left them the sole survivors of humanity.

In the first season, the women are rescued, and go on to appear on the Today Show in New York City. After the show, Kimmy decides she does not want to return to Indiana, and does not want to be seen by everyone as a victim, so she starts a new life in New York City. Roaming around the city, Kimmy comes across landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane). Kaushtupper offers Kimmy a chance to room with Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) in her downstairs apartment. However, Kimmy has to find a job in order to get the apartment. Upon attempting to get a job at a nearby candy store, Kimmy sees a boy stealing candy. She pursues him back to his home, and ends up encountering his mother, Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), a Manhattan trophy wife, who mistakes her for a nanny, and whom Kimmy mistakes as someone trapped in a cult. Soon after, Jacqueline hires Kimmy as a nanny for her 10-year-old son.[2] As Season 1 continues, Kimmy falls in love with a Vietnamese man, Dong (Ki Hong Lee) from her G.E.D. class, goes to court to testify against the Reverend, and discovers how the world has changed in the 15 years she was held captive.

In the second season, Kimmy is sick of working for Jacqueline and gets a job at a year-round Christmas store and then as an Uber driver. She tries to get over Dong, who enters a green card marriage with another G.E.D. student and is eventually deported. As Kimmy tries to move on, so do Titus and Jacqueline, who both find boyfriends. Titus begins dating construction worker Mikey Politano (Mike Carlsen) and Jacqueline begins dating lawyer Russ Snyder (David Cross). Jacqueline also goes back to her Native American heritage and decides to take down the Washington Redskins, who her boyfriend's father happens to own. Kimmy reunites with Gretchen and Cyndee to save them from joining another cult and getting married on television, respectively. When Season 2 ends, Titus leaves to be a performer on a cruise and Lillian protests the invasion of hipsters in her neighborhood, while Kimmy makes amends with her mother (Lisa Kudrow) after advice from her therapist (Tina Fey) before receiving a phone call from the Reverend in prison, telling her that they need to get a divorce.

In the third season, Kimmy proceeds with the divorce from the Reverend but hits a snag when she learns that a devoted fan (guest star Laura Dern) wants to marry him. After getting her G.E.D., Kimmy decides to go to college and ends up at Columbia University, where she is popular but fails academically. She forms a friendship with Perry (Daveed Diggs), a philosophy and religion transfer student who, like Kimmy, doesn't fit in with the rich, elitist Ivy League students. Titus returns from his stint on the cruise harboring a secret and, determined to come home to Mikey with money and a job, he auditions for Sesame Street. However after the man auditioning Titus asks him to perform sexual acts on a puppet, Titus leaves and runs home to Mikey. However, Titus sees Mikey out with another man, and breaks up with him in true Beyonce fashion. Lillian is elected to the city council and attempts to block the construction of a supermarket chain for fear it will gentrify the neighborhood. She later starts a relationship with the owner of the chain (Peter Riegert). Meanwhile, Jacqueline and Russ execute their plan to force his family to change the name of the Redskins and Titus makes it big with the single "Boobs in California". At the end of season three, Titus vows to win Mikey back from his new boyfriend, Jacqueline finds a profession, and Kimmy lands a job at a tech start-up.

In the fourth and final season, Kimmy is working at Giztoob, the tech company started by a former classmate at Columbia, and Jacqueline is representing Titus as his agent. After acting in an anti-bullying performance for a middle school, Titus gets a job as director of the school play and, in an attempt to impress Mikey, pretends to write and star in a superhero television show called "The Capist," starring Greg Kinnear. Meanwhile, Lillian's boyfriend Artie dies and she is put in charge of his adult daughter's trust. Kimmy reunites with Donna Maria, who is now a successful businesswoman. Outraged and inspired by men's rights activists, Kimmy writes a children's book that empowers girls and encourages boys to be kind; by the end of season four, Kimmy has found success as a children's author. Season 4 features two episodes that veer from the main plot. In the first, a standalone mockumentary episode, Jacqueline's former boy toy Doug, a.k.a. DJ Fingablast, creates a true crime documentary called Party Monster: Scratching the Surface, which sympathizes with the Reverend and paints Kimmy and the other Mole Women negatively. The second episode, "Sliding Van Doors", presents an alternate universe in which Kimmy is never kidnapped, Titus does not audition for The Lion King in 1998, Jacqueline does not marry Julian Voorhees, and Lillian runs a Latin street gang. The series concludes with each of the main four characters finding success and purpose in new ventures.

Episodes

Main article: List of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
113March 6, 2015 (2015-03-06)
213April 15, 2016 (2016-04-15)
313May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
4126May 30, 2018 (2018-05-30)
6January 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
SpecialMay 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Guest

Season 1 (2015)

Season 2 (2016)

Season 3 (2017)

Season 4 (2018–19)

Kimmy vs. the Reverend (2020)

Production

Development

This section is missing information about renewals. Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. (January 2019)

The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock when NBC executives asked them to develop a show for Ellie Kemper.[14] Fey stated that they found an "innocence" about Kemper's face, but also noted there was a "strength" to it.[14] One idea was for the show to center on Kemper's character waking up from a coma, but this idea was abandoned in favor of the cult-survivor storyline.[14]

The show was initially under development for NBC under the title Tooken.[15] However, this was later changed to the current title.[16] Eventually, NBC sold the series to Netflix.[17] Fey has stated that this was in part due to NBC "not feeling confident about watching comedies". Prior to the network switch, NBC planned to air the series as either a mid-season replacement or as a summer series.[14] The show was sold to Netflix and given a two-season order.[18]

On June 13, 2017, the show was renewed for a fourth and final season,[19][20] with the first 6 episodes premiering on May 30, 2018.[21] The second half was released on January 25, 2019.[22] On May 8, 2019, it was announced the series will return with an interactive special that premiered on May 12, 2020.[23][24]

Casting

Casting announcements for the remaining roles were held in March 2014, with Tituss Burgess cast as the role of Kimmy's roommate, Titus Andromedon. Titus is a talented singer who works odd entertainment jobs such as dressing up like a robot in Times Square or as a singing waiter at a theme restaurant.[3] Also cast was Carol Kane as Kimmy and Titus' landlady, Lillian Kaushtupper.[25]

Shortly afterwards, Sara Chase and Lauren Adams joined the series. Chase signed on for the role of Cyndee, Kimmy's closest friend during their years in the cult; Adams was cast in the role of Gretchen, a 10-year member of the cult who believes everything that she is told.[26] Jane Krakowski was later cast in the role of Jacqueline Voorhees, a wealthy Manhattanite who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Megan Dodds was originally cast before she was replaced with Krakowski.[5]

Music

The show's theme song, "Unbreakable", was produced by The Gregory Brothers and written by Jeff Richmond.[27] It is a tribute to The Gregory Brothers' YouTube show Songify the Newsauto-tuned news interviews that became popular videos. It specifically parodies the mannerisms of Antoine Dodson in the "Bed Intruder Song". Richmond also wrote "Peeno Noir", a song performed by character Titus Andromedon during season 1, episode 6 of the series.[28]

Artwork

Artwork for the show's opening sequence was produced by a team at Pentagram that included feminist artist Deva Pardue.[29]

Home Video Releases

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt DVD releases
Complete Series DVD and Blu-ray release date
February 18, 2020

Reception

See also: List of awards and nominations received by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The show has been widely acclaimed by television critics, who have praised the writing and cast.[30][31][32]

Season 1

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 95%, based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blessed with originality and a spot-on performance from Ellie Kemper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is as odd as it is hilarious."[33] On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[30]

Scott Meslow of The Week called the series "the first great sitcom of the streaming era", praising its wit, edge, and feminist tone.[34] Brian Moylan of The Guardian noted that it is "the sort of show that could benefit from multiple viewings, because the jokes are so packed in you’re sure to miss something while laughing."[35] TV Guide named it the "best new comedy of 2015".[36] IGN reviewer Max Nicholson gave the first season an 8.3 out of 10 'Great' rating, saying "Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is another winner in Netflix's original series catalog. Not only is it charming and funny, but it's unabashedly kooky, and Ellie Kemper nails the lead role."[37]

The first season was nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards.[38]

Category Nominee(s) Result
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Jennifer Euston and Meredith Tucker Nominated
Outstanding Comedy Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Tina Fey as Marcia Nominated
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program Jill Brown Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees Nominated

Some reviewers have criticized the show's portrayal of Native Americans, with Vulture referring to a prominent Native American subplot as "offensive."[39][40] BuzzFeed wrote that the show has a "major race problem" and cited the lack of a plurality of portrayals of Native Americans as the main issue with the subplot, stating that "the way Native Americans are represented on this show matters. It's not one representation among a cornucopia of representations; it's the single mainstream representation in years."[41] The Daily Beast stated that when it comes to race, “especially in its portrayal of a key Vietnamese character, the show leaves much to be desired.”[42]

In the wake of the controversy, Tina Fey responded: "I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There's a real culture of demanding apologies, and I'm opting out of that."[43]

Season 2

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a 100% approval rating, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Not letting up in season two, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is still odd in the best of ways, wonderfully building on its unique comedy stylings and brilliantly funny cast."[44] On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[31]

The second season was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards.[38]

Category Nominee(s) Result
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Cindy Tolan Nominated
Outstanding Comedy Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon Nominated

There was controversy surrounding the third episode from this season, “Kimmy Goes to a Play!,” which involved the use of yellow-face and the name of a group of Asian-Americans who were critical of yellow-face. The group is referred to as "Respectful Asian Portrayals in Entertainment", or "R.A.P.E" for short. The Asian-Americans shown protesting against yellow-face in the episode are conveyed as unlikable buffoons. Anna Akana criticized the use of yellow-face and the R.A.P.E. acronym during her 2016 Asians in Entertainment Key Note speech. Alex Abad-Santos wrote, “The odd thing about this episode is that it's another Tina Fey project that paints Asian people, specifically Asian women, as crappy characters. [...] The plot feels like a pointed, ironic response to anyone who has criticized Fey's past projects for being lazy and racist.”[45]

Season 3

On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds a 97% approval rating, based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 8.11/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt continues to thrive with a comically agile cast, notable guest stars, and a forceful influx of funny."[46] On Metacritic, the third season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[32]

The third season was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.[38]

Category Nominee(s) Result
Outstanding Comedy Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Music and Lyrics "Hell No" Nominated
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program Jill Brown Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon Nominated

Season 4

On Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth season holds a 94% approval rating, based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 7.77/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ends with a final season that's as topical as it is cheerily irreverent."[47] On Metacritic, the fourth season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 6 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[48]

The fourth season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.[38]

Category Nominee(s) Result
Outstanding Comedy Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon Nominated

Special

Main article: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend

On Rotten Tomatoes, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend special has an approval rating of 94%, based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 7.81/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Kimmy and company return as resilient as ever in a fun and fast paced special that makes excellent use of its interactive capabilities to produce maximum fabulosity."[49]

The special was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.[50]

Category Nominee(s) Result
Outstanding Television Movie Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon Nominated

References

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