Netflix has been a source for numerous popular television series in the past few years. Some of these include: Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Arrested Development. In conjunction, a series of particular interest this season is, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. This is not the first series created by comedienne Tina Fey, however it certainly has darker undertones than, “30 Rock”, which therefore allows it to be a contestant of the unique.
This comedic series follows main character Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper). It shows Kimmy, a young woman, taking on a new life in New York City after being rescued from a doomsday cult. Since the premise of the show is not laughable, the comedy is respectful and does not ignore the seriousness of the Kimmy’s situation, nor that of the other fellow characters stories within the show.
Kimmy repeatedly covers up her past from her new friends. She feels that this is the best way to avoid pity as a “Mole Woman”. Kimmy is insistent on leaving her old life behind. She starts her life anew by getting a job, roommate, and (possibly) her GED. However, all the cover ups are eventually ineffective, for Kimmy ultimately has to face her past as a part of her character development and to move on. For instance, during the trial of her kidnapper, she is forced to face her past life and hardships.
But Kimmy is not the only one with a complex story. Kimmy’s employer, Jacqueline Voorhees, has a convoluted narrative of her own. A child of two Lakota parents, Jacqueline tries to make a more successful life for herself by making herself white passing in appearance. While this subplot appears to get aspect of the Lakota culture correct, the casting of Jane Krakowski for the role is a questionable one. The casting of a white actress for the role of a white-passing Native American woman, I believe, takes away from the narrative. Since it would be more authentic and respectful to cast a Native American actress instead.
Another character that exemplifies relatable struggles and complexities is Jacqueline Voorhee’s stepdaughter, Xantippe (Dylan Gelulla) who shows the struggles of teen years. In example, Xantippe spends much of her time with her “cool crowd” friends, and feels pressured to drink and party with them. She also covers up her interest in fine arts order to maintain friends/”cool kid” image.
Overall, with the exception of Krakowski’s casting, this show does a nice job of exploring the complex stories of women from teens to adults. Since these women face a variety of issues, stretching from peer pressure, to racism, to kidnapping. I am excited and curious to see how the series will continue exploring the complexities of womanhood in season two.