BY PARVEEN BHAMBRA
We have been entertained by her comedic writing in Saturday Night Live, coupled with her acting in 30 Rock as the head writer of a fictional sketch show ‘The Girlie Show’, later changed to ‘TGS with Tracy Jordan.’ Most recently, we loved her consecutive 3-year run as one half of the hilarious Golden Globe hosting partnership; with Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler. Since then she has made us cry from laughter from her acting abilities, but now she has returned to her role behind the camera, behind the story.
Tina Fey brings us an entertaining new sitcom of a young woman starting afresh, finding new friends and a new job in the Big Apple. Ok, it seems like we have heard of that before, yes pretty much every sitcom has that set up, with slight modifications. These slight differences become their hooks, such as How I Met Your Mother with its own mystery; the titular secret. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt follows this rule of thumb with its very unique hook line – she is a mole woman! After being kept underground by a crazy reverend under the pretence of an impending apocalypse since she was 15, Kimmy has missed out on a typical American teenage life, and now at the brink of turning 30 she has pretty much missed out on everything.
Starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, she embarks on a journey of rebuilding her life, where her idea of New York is far from reality. Prancing around with her bright yellow sweater, her cute backpack and new colourful trainers, Kimmy finds a place to live, and a job. But her pretty sweet set up on her first day in the big city is all snatched from her within seconds. This is where a imaginary banner should have read, in bright lights, ‘Welcome to New York City Kimmy, it sucks!’ This 13-episode opening season follows her finding her feet in a new place of VERY different, and to her, very strange, ways. The first season continues to push her down with city folks’ 21st century (rapidly evolving to levels of insanity) way of living,; fake drinking water, naming your child Xanthippe and basically living, breathing, eating, drinking and any other possible method of inhaling, plastic surgery treatments. But, despite being mindnumbingly weird in its characterisation and comedic content, Fey has basically created a coming-of-age show with a young lady trying to find friendship, love and a new beginning, but of course she cannot completely forget the task of destroying her mole woman status, the usual stuff.
Aside from the main premise of the show, the other components that make it the big success it should be lack in comparison. The small battles Kimmy embarks upon in each episode are ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ kind of situations – her friend’s gay but pretending to be straight boyfriend, the fake ‘I’m rich’ gig and finding herself stuck in a love triangle – as well as the typical characters of an overly feminine gay man and the self-absorbed Manhattanite. Despite seeing all this before, it is still funny, well, because it’s happening to a ditzy, cute 15 year old girl in the body of a woman pushing 30. The art of mismatch always seems to make our bodies hurt from laughing too much, much like Adam Sandler in Billy Madison, a pop cultural reference Kimmy herself makes as she studies to get her GED.
To round up, this new sitcom has all the elements of a successful funny sitcom, but is it really that much different and unique from what we have seen before? Let’s hope it gets renewed for a second season because I would quite like to what happens to Kimmy and her friends after the last episode.
Overall, it’s not that bad, at least worthy of 3 stars out of 5.