Netflix's 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt': What the Critics Are Saying
The already renewed quirky comedy from Robert Carlock and Tina Fey stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Sol Miranda and Carol Kane.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created by 30 Rock's Robert Carlock and Tina Fey, stars Ellie Kemper as a woman who was rescued from a doomsday cult and is adjusting to New York City life after 15 years spent in a bunker.
Already renewed for a second season by Netflix, the quirky comedy series (originally slated for NBC) also stars Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Sol Miranda and Carol Kane, and debuts in full on Friday, March 6.
See what top critics are saying about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:
The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman writes, "The good news is that Kimmy is already really good; in the first six episodes, each one gets better as it goes (though the pilot is particularly strong). Kemper gives a virtuoso performance as Kimmy Schmidt. ... Kemper is really the show — everyone is orbiting around her boundless, infectious energy. Like most series, the supporting roles eventually flesh themselves out over time, but the main character really has to nail it, and Kemper does that in every scene. Krakowski, ever the pro at this kind of role, also is given numerous great lines of her own."
Additionally, "Fey and Carlock as the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt writers do an excellent job balancing the many stories available to them, though perhaps a little too much emphasis is placed on Jacqueline’s (Krakowski) family. Kimmy trying to keep her secret so people don’t freak out on her (or about her) coupled with her enthusiasm for overcoming life’s obstacles is more than enough fodder. ... Though Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt joins other strong freshman comedies like Fresh Off the Boat and The Last Man on Earth, I have a feeling the show will be something even better next season, when it’s a wholly Netflix entity and Fey and Carlock can discover what that kind of creative freedom allows them."
The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley says, "The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny. Fey, who created 30 Rock, and Carlock, its showrunner, apply that show’s alchemy to this one, and it works. Almost every scene has both whimsy and something darker, at once daftly effervescent and snidely cynical." Of being on Netflix, she notes, "Sitcoms aren’t dead, but they’re increasingly spreading beyond the traditional networks. ... The streaming service will release all 13 episodes of 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' on Friday, and that’s useful, because the series finds its full comic verve after the first two, which have to establish a lot of back story."
Time's James Poniewozik says NBC's decision to sell to Netflix "was probably the best thing possible for Kimmy, which is delightful but strange even by the standards of 30 Rock, and could have easily, quickly died on network TV. ... The show’s zaniness, broad characters and rapid-fire jokes are pure 30 Rock, as is its overall aesthetic." With a "sunnier presence," a "darker core" and "even more pronounced" feminism, "it’s connecting and contrasting the experience of outsiders, black and white, straight woman and gay man, sister-wife and trophy wife. And like 30 Rock, it draws comedy from the myriad ways an expensive, competitive city like New York beats people down." Plus, "Kemper and Kimmy make one of TV’s most natural matches of actor and character since someone decided to make Lou Ferrigno the Hulk. She’s a terrific physical comic, able to combine naivete with a sense of cunning, and she’s contagiously joyous — it’s as if Lucille Ball had a baby with a rainbow."
RogerEbert.com's Brian Tallerico says the show is "defiantly strange, and I think that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. ... People upset about the SNL ISIS commercial may want to avoid Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s a dark, strange show, complete with flashbacks to Kimmy’s time in the bunker. The hook of the program is that while Kimmy has been through stuff that anyone would find horrific, she refuses to let life get her down, but the people she meets in NYC who often have everything do nothing but complain. And Kemper’s 'aw shucks' timing is phenomenal. She jumps in with both feet and as many broad expressions as she can find. It’s the kind of awesome, committed performance you see from Sacha Baron Cohen in his films — ridiculously over-the-top but unafraid at the same time."
The San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand writes that it "may be cut from similar comedic cloth as 30 Rock, but no one who loves rich, offbeat comedy will be complaining. ... The humor is based on a savvy understanding of sketch-comedy exaggeration and satire, worked into an episodic sitcom format." Krakowski "seems to have put whatever reservations she might have had about becoming too much of a type on the back burner for a chance to work in a Fey-Carlock show again," and "Kemper is hilarious, advancing perkiness to a comically psychotic level without having Kimmy ever lose her fundamental appeal."