Learning from its past mistakes, the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns to the irreverence and frivolity that made this show a huge hit for Netflix.
This season picks up right as Kimmy (Elle Kempler) is receiving her GED and Titus (Titus Burgess) is off on a cruise ship living out his Broadway dreams. Lillian (Carol Kane) is running for city council so she can stick it to the man. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) is getting cozier and more intimate with the Snyder family (in particular Russ Snyder played by David Cross). Her dreams of earning the respect of her Native American family by getting the Washington Redskins to change their name are becoming more of reality. The unifying theme between all of their narratives is finding their direction. Kimmy is trying to figure out what her next step should be now that she’s graduated high school. When Titus’s “Broadway” gig falls apart, and his relationship appears to be on the rocks, how will he proceed? Can Jacqueline keep focused on her goals or will love just get in the way? Is Lillian’s (Carol Kane) new purpose in life, to stick it to the man going to give her life meaning?
Robert Carlock and Tina Fey stayed away from trying to make any social statements this season and focused on making each 30-minute episode as fun as possible. Part of what made the first season such a treat was how silly each episode was. Even when it was evident that most of the first season was a statement on our judicial system as well as pop culture, at least we were in on the joke. In the second season, they seemed to be occupied with making statements about woman’s independence, Native American rights, and being empowered. While the third season is about the direction that each of these characters is headed in, they are doing it in the same exaggerated reality that worked so well in season one.
The show is making a concerted effort to highlight the comedic talents of Titus Burgess. In the six episodes that we were given to screen, Burgess has multiple instances where he’s singing and one case where his comedic stage talents are fully highlighted. The scene everyone will be guffawing about will be Titus when he went “Lemonading” on his boyfriend. One couldn’t help but wonder if he was just waiting for them to tell him to take it down a notch. I imagine when he smashed the window of his man’s truck that everyone realized that taking it down a notch wasn’t an option.
Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) is back to demonstrating what it means to be an arrogant/naive socialite. We are no longer lamenting her divorce and wondering how she was going to make it as a single mother. Now it’s back to schemes involving cat roofies, fake boyfriends, and body sushi. On top of all of these shenanigans, she let’s slip that her alma mater has something in common with the 45th President of the United States. This is the character that made us giggle in season one, and she’s even funnier in season three.
The chemistry between the ensemble was top notch. I’m not sure if anyone of these actors (Ellie Kempler, Titus Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane) could individually carry a show on their own but together they are responsible for one of T.V’s must-watch comedies.
What Did Not Work
The storyline involving the forced marriage between Kimmy and Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) didn’t seem to fit into this season. Those scenes didn’t add much comedic value to the narrative. At this point, the whole story line with the Reverend had the whole “been there .. done that” feel to it.
The narrative, tone, and overall comedic value of season 3 of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are very reminiscent of how we all felt about the first season. While the second season dragged along, the third season is fast, witty, and above all else hysterical. It’s certainly binge-worthy as each episode is only 30 minutes and sometimes a little break from reality isn’t a bad thing.