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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt may see Kimmy reach her breaking point in season two.
After having a slew of misadventures in season one, the former mole woman, in season two, is shown helping her friends and trying to finally take charge of her own life — including a new job at a Christmas store, moving on from her first love and reconnecting with someone in her family.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Robert Carlock reveals how the episode structure shifted this season, why Tina Fey’s new character will help Kimmy “rid herself of her past demons” in an unexpected way, the new way Jon Hamm’s Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne will return and what cliffhangers to expect at season’s end.
Did the longer episodes this season give you more freedom in the writers’ room?
Definitely…. Our job, always, is to not overstay our welcome, but you do have more room. We had more room to let those stories breathe and things didn’t have to get boiled down as much. If last season was really Kimmy driving every single episode and us feeling out and discovering how great the ensemble is and what the relationships are between the characters, this season is more balance. It’s still Kimmy’s show, for sure. But, in part, having that extra time allowed us to make sure we were telling some weightier Titus stories and get into some things that we didn’t have the runway to do in the first 13.
Did you get any push from Netflix to give Kimmy more in the love department instead of keeping her hung up on Dong?
No, we haven’t. We put pressure on ourselves to get there and in some ways we do get there and there is a resolution down the road to Dong and consequences to that. We knew we had left off with a complicated situation between her and this first adult love that she still also, I think, isn’t sure what it means, because it is first. We wanted to make sure we gave that the room that we felt it deserved, because it felt significant for the character and also, because Ki Hong [Lee] is great. He is in the first six [episodes] and he comes back again in eight, and by the end of that she’s in a different place…. But also, in season one, that was such a nice thing to have her in a place where she was putting herself out there and experimenting, saying the wrong word, but trying to feel feelings that she hadn’t had access to for so long. We wanted to make sure we didn’t leave her locked into something. Because it always has to be a character who’s searching and going forward and exploring the world.
Titus also gets a love interest this season, marking a gay and biracial storyline.
Our show is organically diverse in a lot of different ways. It’s fun to just tell that story, that Titus story as a love story and see where it takes us.
Do you have any plans to bring Jon Hamm back in any capacity?
The reverend is in jail, but he continues to play in flashbacks. Jon’s been nice enough to lend his voice to some flashback stuff. There’s a wonderful animated sequence that comes up in a later episode, but I will leave the mystery of whether the reverend’s head pops up again. We would like to see him again, and hopefully America would as well.
What is Tina’s character like this year?
This character uses Tina’s real hair, or I should say, Tina’s favorite wig. The other character, that wig, when she played Marcia, that wig was actually one of Liz Lemon’s flashback wigs. I think that was one of her high school, bad perm wigs. She comes back in a few episodes in a very meaty, fun role as someone who, in an unexpected way, intersects with Kimmy and is someone who perhaps can offer a new kind of help to Kimmy in her effort to rid herself of her past demons.
Are we going to see Kimmy’s family, her biological family?
We are going to see a very important member of that biological family, with whom she might have some unexplored issues. In the first half, Kimmy is buffeted a little bit, and is always helping other people and the second half of the season is her trying to take the reins and get back in charge of her own life with some great family stuff at the end that I think is really special.
Do you have ideas for season three?
Season two ends with some kind of big cliffhangers. We do have, going into season three, some big motors and some stuff to deal with. Some having to do with Kimmy’s past, Titus’ present and Jacqueline’s future, and Lillian as well has an interesting new opportunity presented to her in the final episode. All of which will be really fun to pick up in season three.
Is the end of the show where Kimmy can stand on her own and she’s a true New Yorker? How long will that take?
We certainly want her to. There’s so many ways she already stands on her own, and then she has so many gaps to fill. We want to get her to a place where we know that she can succeed in the real world without her losing the core of who she is. I think, to become a real New Yorker — or to become a real person in society today — you often have to have that shell, that protective suit of emotional armor. We don’t ever really want her to get hardened. That’s always the fun challenge at the core of the show, letting her move forward without changing who she is. Season two we saw very much as, all right, if season one is her getting her feet under herself a bit and having a job and some friends and a place to live and dealing with some of the stuff in her past, season two is her realizing and coming to terms with the fact that there’s some things she’ll never be over and she has to accept that. There’s some people you can’t fix, and she has to accept that. Doesn’t mean she won’t stop trying, and she won’t stop trying to put her past in the past.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season two premieres April 15 on Netflix.
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