And we’re back! Welcome to the second half of my binge review of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season Two!
So I finished the season and, overall, I still love it. BUT I have some quibbles, concerns and annoyances to get off my chest so we’re bringing back the format of Part One!
Quick refresher: There are three categories. 1) What I’m Not Loving. 2) What I’m Unsure About. 3) What Is Just As Amazing As Bunny And Kitty Being Best Friends.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to revisit each of my points from part one, adding to them based on the latter six episodes and reevaluating which category they fall into.
Get it? Got it? Awesome. Oh, and, once more, with feeling: SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!
But first, a quick recap:
Kimmy’s relationship with Dong heats up. And then falls apart. Lillian continues her campaign against gentrification in her neighborhood. Kimmy starts therapy. Jacquline meets a new man. Titus and Mikey are the most adorable thing ever and everyone starts taking new steps in both relationships and careers. Plus, we meet Kimmy’s mom!
So let’s dive in, shall we?
What I’m Not Loving.
- All the stuff with Jacqueline’s past as a member of the Lakota tribe. So the latter half of the season does not hit this quite as hard but it’s still there and it’s still not great. Jacqueline’s offense over her new boyfriend’s use of the term ‘Redskin’ for their sportsball team is great (I mean, it’s an offensive name) but it’s all tinged by the fact that Jane Krakowski, as good an actress as she is, IS STILL A VERY WHITE WOMAN PORTRAYING A MEMBER OF THE LAKOTA TRIBE. And her set up for next season being her and [Russ?] taking down his asshole family and changing the team name does not fill me with hope that this will be phased out as a concept.
- The fact they seem to be leaving a lot of great material on the table. Oh this has most certainly not gone away. If anything, it got WORSE. It also didn’t help as the show neared its finale the characters became increasingly split geographically. So the show lost the usual commentary and involvement between the characters which might have helped raise the comedic bar even higher.
- Sam Page didn’t show up as Keith again. And I liked Keith. And if you check out Part One you’ll know I wanted more of him. So the lack of Keith is a problem for me (hence the move to this category). I’m hoping for a return in season three!
- Anna Camp also didn’t show up again. So we have a second mover. Deirdre Robbespierre was wonderful and I want more of her. Season three also, please?
- The last scene. This is probably my biggest issue with the season. In the final scene Kimmy gets a call from Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne telling her he’s fallen in love so they need to get a divorce. Now, I adore Jon Hamm, but this feels like a massive misstep tonally for the show. The Reverend has been a shadow over Kimmy throughout season two, as he should be. That sort of trauma doesn’t just go away. We’ve seen the Reverend throughout the season in the literal shadows, and with his face flipped upside down and in animation form (and getting ripped apart by animals). To actually have the actor show up again and add yet another layer to Kimmy’s trauma? It feels like the show doesn’t want to move on. It’s finding ways of upping the ante with what happened in the bunker so they can retread the same emotional beats in season three. I hope that’s not the case. The scene reads like it’s supposed to be comedic but it made be literally recoil in horror and instead of ending season two laughing, I ended it disturbed and with a bad taste in my mouth.
What I’m Unsure About.
- Kimmy and Dong. Okay. So this didn’t get better but it didn’t exactly get worse. Their plotlines remained repetitive but, as I said before the actors are good and make the material work better than it should. And there was only one more episode focused on them as a couple before Dong got deported and was absent for the rest of the show. I’m unsure because this one very much depends on what they do moving forward. If that’s it for Dong? He’s just deported and is not longer a part of the story? Well, it’s a lot of time to put into a character to have them drop away like that. But then again, life is shitty like that sometimes (I speak from personal experience on this one). But if they bring him back and instantly start doing the same sort of thing? Let’s hope not. Dong and Kimmy could make an interesting couple if the show is willing to evolve them as the seasons go by.
- The above-mentioned animation sequences. There were two. The first happy one and the second, murdery one with animals ripping the Reverend to shreds. Maybe it was simply that I didn’t like the animation style but even the first ‘happy’ one just made me want to run and hide. It’s very possible that is the point, but MAN those were some creepy bunnies.
What Is Just As Amazing As Bunny And Kitty Being Best Friends.
- This show is amazing with keeping its supporting cast from the previous season in rotation. Cyndee came back! For an entire episode! And it was kind of wonderful. I love how protective Kimmy is of her and the thought of losing her will make Kimmy break down in a way fifteen years in the bunker never did. I also realized I forgot to mention Donna Maria in Part One. She’s back too but only in flashbacks. But the consistency, even in those little moments, is much appreciated.
- Lillian’s anti-gentrification campaign. Carol Kane doesn’t need another person in the room to bounce off of. She can literally be alone, chained to a bulldozer and have me wildly laughing. Her many monologues to herself about the ruination of the neighborhood are so well delivered. And the season end hint at her potentially running for office to keep her neighborhood ungentrified? Well. I am all for that!
- The main foursome. They continue to be wonderful. All have stand out moments. See above for my feels on Carol Kane. Seriously the woman can make ANYTHING funny. Jane Krakowski doing Jacqueline’s identity crisis over Russ by talking to herself in a mirror? Solid gold. Anything that ever comes out of Tituss Burgess’ mouth? Showstopping. Though I’ll give a particular shout out to his crazy-ass monologue against bigotry on the front steps of Mikey’s childhood home. And Ellie Kemper really holds it all together. It’s a job that could so easily cause her to fade into the background but through a combination of brightly colored outfits and Kemper’s talent that never happens.
- Mikey. I CONTINUE TO LOVE MIKEY. I was so scared when I realized one episode would feature him coming out to his conservative Italian family but MAN did they nail that scene. No lie: I cried a little. All I have to say is that Mikey and Titus better be SOLID AS A FUCKING ROCK from now on because if they decide to break them up I’ll need a new category called Things That Are Unforgiveable. Seriously though, it’s one of the best portrayals of a gay relationship I’ve seen on TV. It’s something that’s been in short supply lately. And when they have turned up, they’ve usually fallen victim to the Bury Your Gays trope. I don’t see that in the future for these two (seriously, show, don’t let me down). Plus they already created their couple names in dialogue: Mikus and Titey. Need I say more?
- Tina Fey as the worst/best psychologist ever. Tina Fey is always great. And the zanier she gets to be the better she is. Her turn as Andrea allows her to go off the rails, forcing Kimmy into the role of adult with hilarious results. And seriously, putting two comedic wonders like Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper in room together? That stuff’s going to be HILARIOUS.
- LISA KUDROW. I squealed with happiness when she showed up. What absolutely perfect bloody casting for Kimmy’s mom. Despite breaking Kimmy away from the rest of the cast for most of the final episode the show made up for it by putting these two actresses together for multiple scenes that were simultaneously hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming.
- Joshua Jackson made a cameo. I may have bounced up and down when he appeared on my screen (because PETER BISHOP). The only thing that could have made his appearance better is if John Noble popped up behind Kimmy and Dong as another customer doing a full on mad scientist/Walter Bishop shtick (and, yes, I am massive Fringe nerd).
And that’s all folks! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching season two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I laughed a lot. And loudly. I came downstairs to get something to eat at one point and was asked “You watching something funny?” because apparently my laughter was reverberating throughout the house. I’m nervous about the direction they seem to be headed for season three but only the episodes will tell. Despite some reservations (the Lakota plot and that final scene keep me worried), I am excited for another round of Kimmy Schmidt and I wish we didn’t have to wait so darn long to get it!