Netflix is simply jam-packed with great original shows at the moment.
From the by-turns hilarious and gripping Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, to the tense political drama House of Cards, there’s an overwhelming amount of quality on the streaming service.
So it’s understandable if your TV binge time is limited at the moment, but here are a few reasons why you should give The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt a place on your Netflix schedule…
1. The premise
On paper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s central premise sounds like just another quirky, offbeat comedy idea: the show follows Kimmy Schmidt as she attempts to adjust to her new life in New York City after being found in a bunker that housed a group of doomsday cult victims for years. What’s so ingenious about the show’s use of this premise is the way it doesn’t allow it to dominate proceedings – only sparingly introducing it to reinforce the comedy of the show. It allows for character development and comedy, and the sheer absurdity sets the tone for the entire show.
2. The humour
Former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock comedian Tina Fey has worked wonders with this script. Every episode is overflowing with jokes, visual gags and outlandish behaviour. The balance of humour is fantastic, striking a middle-ground between laugh out loud moments and subtle references – giving the series a high rewatchability factor.
3. Its representation of the LGBT community
It’s a rare and wonderful thing when a show treats LGBT characters with proper respect. Too often they are disrespectfully flaunted as token, card-board cut-outs whose only purpose serves to prop up the comedy with their exaggerated behaviour. What Kimmy Schmidt does is extremely clever: taking the aforementioned tropes of LGBT representation, it deliberately breaks them down to show how dated and offensive they are. Titus, Kimmy’s wannabe-thespian room-mate, happens to be one of the most thoughtful and well developed LGBT characters to emerge from a TV show since Justin Suarez in Ugly Betty.
4. Colour, colour and more colour!
One of the first things that jumps out at you when you watch Kimmy Schmidt is the wonderful world of colour it paints. From the clothing of Titus and Kimmy to the extravagant and bold way of showing New York – everything in the show pops with a vibrancy and energy. It’s not just about making the show more appealing; it’s applied in a variety of interesting ways to contrast Kimmy’s new life of colour and possibility against her unhappy beige existence under the bunker.
5. Its positive message on being an individual
The main lesson Kimmy learns during the show is how to be an individual. It was her inability to think for herself that led to her predicament in the bunker, and as she gains experience in the new world she learns to accept the way she is. As the show progresses we see Kimmy teach others not to follow a crowd and to embrace originality and “weirdness”. This transformation allows Kimmy to overcome the barriers put up by society and live a life that makes her happy. A pretty cool message if you ask me.
6. The subversive feminist narrative
Another great thing about Kimmy Schmidt is its head-on grappling with gender issues. For a show with a light and irreverent tone, it’s not afraid to infuse its narrative with a defiant, feminist message. The patriarchal male figures in the show are systematically exposed, shamed and eventually overcome in triumphant fashion- subverting a genre which is too often dominated by male leads.
7. Ellie Kemper
Finally, praise must be heaped on former The Office (US) actress, Ellie Kemper. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role with such natural comedic sensibility, while maintaining the child-like innocence that makes Kimmy such a loveable and warm character. Kemper demonstrates an incredible range of expressions that allow Kimmy to go from mad to sad via overjoyed in the span of one short scene.
For more Netflix inspiration check out our regular series of guides.
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