Review: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2

If you don’t like Tina Fey, this is where you depart. If you didn’t like 30 Rock or Mean Girls or any of Tina’s stuff from SNL, you won’t like this. Don’t torture yourself trying to get what all the cool people rave about. I’m not sure when you missed your opportunity to be cool, but it happened and you probably need to examine that at least a little. Otherwise, the rest of your life will just be a pointless journey

Ah, the darkness

When I tried to explain the premise of Kimmy, people who weren’t familiar with it would recoil when I would explain it was about a woman who was kidnapped and enslaved by a cult leader in an underground bunker, but then rescued and had to adjust to life in New York City and the ensuing emotional pain. Come to think of it, as I type that, I can see that it doesn’t really seem that funny. Not like “wacky black doctor and his lawyer wife navigate family life as he wears loud sweaters”

Too soon?

But, that’s sort of the thing about Tina Fey’s voice. She insists on doing things the hard way. How can anyone give a damn about a spoiled bunch of people producing a late night TV show? Well, she made us do it. She’s that good and that smart. It’s kind of confounding

One of the great weapons she has going for her in Kimmy is the delightful Ellie Kemper. It is literally impossible not to like Ellie Kemper. I think that somewhere, ISIS leaders have even instructed their guys to give her a pass. She’s just one of those people whose onscreen persona makes you want to hang with her or bake her something or buy her a gift card, but the gift card would probably put her in a tough spot, because you always go over on those and then you’re making the recipient come out-of-pocket, which sucks. And then, you, maybe come up a little short and you end up with a gift card with like $1.83 left on it and that won’t buy anything, so you just have this damn gift card on your bar at home next to the electric bill and it just sits there for like 8 months because it’s not good for anything

Ellie Kemper would forgive you for the lousy gift card

In season 2 of Kimmy, things do, indeed, get darker, as Kimmy tries to find her mother (Lisa Kudrow, in some damn fine casting), while trying to help her alcoholic shrink (Fey) and deal with one of her former bunker mates getting married. Along the way, she gets a job as an Uber driver and has to deal with many outrageous situations

Her friend Titus (Tituss Burgess) gets out of his own selfishness long enough to score a boyfriend, which brings about many hilarious complications. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) navigates life after divorce and Lilian (Carol Kane) does some crazy stuff, but it doesn’t really matter because watching Carol Kane do just about anything is amazing

Also, we get one of the most disturbing cartoon sequences in the history of entertainment. Seriously, if your kids wander into the living room in the middle of this and go “OOH! Cartoons!”, don’t let them watch this or you’ll be setting them up for a lifetime of anti psychotics and millions of dollars in therapy

I’m serious

And Tina did it again. She made me care about this disparate group of people living in a place I’ve visited twice in my life. She’s just got this weird way of making it happen. I don’t know if the second season was as good, to me, as the first, but it was pretty darn funny

They leave a nice cliffhanger for season three. I can see them getting, maybe a fourth season, before Tina brings it to an end. I get the feeling that she felt 30 Rock went on a season too long. I think she’d rather end Kimmy a little soon than risk going on too long

So, yeah, it’s a light, airy sitcom about a woman dealing with abandonment issues. It’s definitely one of those quirky comedies that networks have no idea how to market these days (Community, anyone?). That’s why Netflix is Netflix: They make it work when the networks can’t

But, trust me, on that cartoon thing

(Season 2 of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is now streaming on Netflix)