Review: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

Netflix’s new comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper (The Office) as an innocent young woman who is discovered with three other women living in an underground bunker in the Midwest for 15 years after following a doomsday cult leader’s end-of-the-world predictions.

The discovery of Schmidt along with her “mole women” counterparts becomes newsworthy and lands the girls a humorous interview with Matt Lauer in New York. Rather than return to her Midwestern roots after the interview, Schmidt decides to go it alone and try to make a life for herself in the Big Apple.

The naïve Schmidt at first enjoys her adaptation to modern life (eating candy for dinner is one of the lifestyle changes she partakes in) but soon realizes that she needs a job and a place to live if she’s going to survive.

A chance meeting with wealthy Manhattanite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) lands her a job as the recently divorced woman’s nanny, while an apartment ad in the newspaper leads her to share a pad with a gay, would-be singer Titus (Tituss Burgess) who’s job is to wear a robot suit in Times Square.

The pilot conveniently makes light of Schmidt’s acclimation to her new surroundings with numerous dated references. Schmidt, for example, predicts that Titus’s singing talent will eventually lead him to sing onstage with the now deceased Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston) as well as Schmidt’s innocence about today’s culture.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created by 30 Rock alums Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, was originally slated to air on NBC but the network sold the series rights to Netflix, which has already green-lighted a second season. NBC’s loss may be Netflix’s gain, as this is a silly but warm series that will have viewers rooting for the “unbreakable” Schmidt to succeed in her new life.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.