Why Kimmy Schmidt is Slightly Broken…Ramble


Hear me out Kimmy sycophants, I like the series.

The opening theme-song is hilarious and on-point perfection. Ellie Kemper, who plays Kimmy, is incredible in this role. She is another example of how Hollywood loves a red head. The ensemble cast is strong, especially Kimmy’s roommate, Titus, couldn’t be more hilarious, especially about his interest in the trial of the insane preacher who kept Kimmy and the rest of the “Mole Women” locked in an underground bunker, and his music video for “Peenot Noir“:

I’ve been discussing the Netflix series with other Tina Fey fans. Maybe we’ve been starving for great comedy since our other favorite comedian, Amy Poehler, wrapped up “Parks and Rec,” so “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” helps to fill that gap. There are a lot of characters with traits similar to those on “30 Rock” – a natural comparison when there are so many crossovers of actors from the two series, yet that didn’t bother me. I liked it. Familiarity, like with a new song, breeds fandom.

The series falls short a during the trial of the insane preacher, when Tina Fey’s inept lawyer characters asks “is that a Black thing?” as a joke. I expect something a little more original from Tina. A friend called me the other day to discuss the types of female roles that exist for African American female actors. She is excited to see new, complex ones in the past several years in mainstream media. “Is that a Black thing?” comes across as dated now as “that’s what she said” jokes. Haven’t we moved on people?

Meanwhile, Asians rally around “Fresh Off The Boat” as our one show –the first Asian lead cast since Margaret Cho’s disastrous “American Girl” two decades ago. Several of my Asian and minority friends are scared to admit they don’t like it. They don’t have options to feel any sort of representation in mainstream television and relate more to ABC’s other race-based show “blackish.”

That leads me why I’m writing this ramble, the main Asian character on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a delivery guy, named Dong. Really? Haven’t we moved past this stereotyping yet? How about the delivery guy used to be a professor in China, but is reduced to delivery guy in this country? How would he meet Kimmy? He could have been her GED tutor. Why she didn’t ask the tutor (who completely faded from the show after they didn’t work out as a couple, to tutor her is silly, and not in a good way. Why would you go to other students who were as uneducated as you are? It’s not a study group like law school.) To go with the show’s lack of originality, let’s talk about the name “Dong”- insert penis joke here, and they do as a way of saying don’t do that, but they never pull it off convincingly. It’s not like Tina Fey isn’t aware of that being dangerous territory:

There’s nothing new that the Dong character contributes as satire. He is yet another illegal alien who is “great at math” and has a heart of gold, underneath his broken English. Ugh. It weighed down the series for me. There are some other clunky bits, but mostly, I adored this show, I hope season two will not have any recycled jokes the way Tina awkwardly recycled Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-il on The Golden Globes this year. If it does, I will my attention will go elsewhere.

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