“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” might be the worst television show I have ever seen. Propped up solely by childish and unfunny jokes I am surprised I was able to make it through four episodes. The show is about a woman who has survived a prolonged abduction and now has decided to start her life of freedom in New York City. This woman is Kimmy Schmidt, who from four episodes worth of knowledge I have learned was abducted when she was in middle school by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, senior prophet of Savior Rick’s Spooky Church of the Scary Apocalypse. She and three other women were held in an underground bunker for more than a decade having been told that God had scorched the earth to fire and ash. There is a serious, dramatic film to be made about the survivor(s) of a prolonged and traumatic abduction, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a comedy which is not funny, and dramatic in all the wrong ways.
The obnoxious quality of the show is no surprise as two of the main characters are played some of the most sickening actresses from otherwise great TV shows. Kimmy is played by Ellie Kemper whom we all remember as the clueless and naïve Erin Hannon from the office. Jane Krakowski, widely known for her role as the high maintenance actress from 30 Rock, Jenna Maroney, plays a rich city housewife for whom Kimmy is employed. Jacqueline Voorhees (Krakowski) is a similarly moody and insecure character as her Jenna Maroney from 30 Rock, but in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” her qualities are pushed to new extremes.
Most of the cracks in the show are references to how "new" everything in the city is to Kimmy. These might come off as amusing at best if we haven't seen the same exact types of jokes exercised in movies such as “Elf” and “Big”. Innocent-soul in the big city is so commonplace that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” feels like it is retracing ground any half-experienced viewer has already trodden. In episode one, Kimmy goes out into the city and buys light up sketchers, rides the metro in total excitement, is fascinated by an automatic sink, and walks into a candy store and exclaims “I’m having candy for dinner!” Hannon delivers all of her lines with a contrived excitement, which makes them all the tackier.
Another problem with the show is that it doesn’t know what audience it wants. Most of the jokes would be laughed at by 1st to 4th graders, however, sprinkled in are 90s references and some raunchy sex jokes that feel very out of place. The slew of 90s references are used by Kimmy because the last time she was in the real world she was a middle-school student in the 90s. Most of the references I didn’t understand, and had to look up. I don’t know how many grown adults who could grasp the 90s jokes would be watching a show that feels tailored to lower school students 90% of the time. In episode two, Kimmy secures a job as a nanny with Mrs. Jacqueline Voorhees, and is tasked with putting on a birthday party for Buckley Voorhees, a spoiled little boy in elementary school. The party is especially important to Jacqueline, as her husband Julian will be returning from a long business trip to attend the party. During the day Kimmy is faced with all sorts of silly problems and tries to confront Jacqueline who responds that she can’t talk because, “In preperation for Julian’s return I went to the gyne-dermataologist. I need to lie down with my feet and heart above my vagina.” That is just one glaring example of the weird sex references that only an older viewership could appreciate, but is delivered in a 1st-4th-grade manner. In another scene Kimmy has an epiphany and exclaims “Urethra!” instead of “Eureka!”
I am telling you the dumb jokes are just endless, and it is almost physically painful to watch. I can deal with a silly TV show; I have enjoyed countless episodes of “How I Met Your Mother”, “Friends” and even “Spongebob Squarepants”. However, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" is on a whole other level of stupidity, and it would require an almost lethal dose of painkillers to get me through another episode.