Commentary by Sydney Nazloo, contributor
The struggle to find a new show to binge on Netflix can be a daunting challenge. Hours can be spent scrolling through endless shows and movies before settling on something to watch. With thousands of titles to choose from, it’s not surprising that many high quality shows and movies slip through the cracks. Comedienne Tina Fey’s newest series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, released on Netflix in March of this year, received a 94 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes and is nominated for eight Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series.
Despite such high critical acclaim, many people have neither heard of the series nor watched it. Freshman Frankie Keller thinks this is because Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt isn’t talked about as much as other more popular shows.
“No one really talks about it,” Keller said. “Some shows have a lot of people that are really into them and they get talked about a lot, but I feel like this doesn’t get as much attention.”
Netflix has released many shows recently that have gained a lot of press. Netflix original series Orange is the New Black has become a cult favorite.
Netflix often releases its original series with little promotion or advertisement. This lack of fanfare could be one reason why Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has not been accepted as widely as other shows within the same genre.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt follows the story of a young woman named Kimmy Schmidt who is a victim of cult leader John Wayne Gary Wayne. After being kept in a bunker for 15 years with three other women, Kimmy is released. She moves to New York City to start her life over. Naïve and clueless about the modern world, Kimmy moves in with aspiring Broadway actor Titus Andromedon and their eccentric and misbehaved landlady, Lillian. Kimmy finds a job as a nanny for a wealthy family and befriends her employer, Jacqueline Voorhees. Throughout the series, Kimmy takes on adventures that teach her about modern life and aid her transition from life in the bunker to life on the outside. Kimmy sets out to better her life and the lives of those around her, getting her GED in “Kimmy Goes to School!,” or helping Mrs. Voorhees through a messy divorce with her adulterous husband in “Kimmy Rides a Bike!.”
Unbreakable is full of recognizable faces. Kimmy is played by Ellie Kemper, also known as Erin to fans of The Office. Ridiculous cult leader John Wayne Gary Wayne is portrayed by Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame. Timothy Blake Nelson, who many young people may recognize as Dr. Pendanski from the 2003 film Holes, portrays Kimmy’s stepfather Randy. Show creator and executive producer Tina Fey even makes a cameo as incompetent attorney Marcia defending Kimmy and her fellow captives.
Unbreakable is an outlier in the world of sitcoms for the sole reason that it is unapologetically positive. Kimmy’s horrible past haunts her, but she chooses not to be seen as a victim and to instead move forward and make her life better. Kimmy faces difficult decisions that she must make in order to make her life her own, and she makes them keeping in mind the things that are important to her.
Unbreakable also empowers women. The sisterhood and interdependence that Kimmy and her fellow captives developed during the 15 years they spent in the bunker is depicted as an important part of Kimmy’s development as a woman in the outside world. You may never have heard of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but it’s never too late to learn.