Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pilot Review: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Premiered March 6

To call this show highly anticipated would be an understatement. Tina Fey is an enormous talent taking on her first television project post “30 Rock,” and she decided to team up with her showrunner Robert Carlock to make this series that didn’t end up airing on NBC, a smart team with plenty of Emmys between them. This show certainly has heart, there’s no doubt about that, and otherwise its first installment is still figuring out a few kinks about its invented universe. I’m sure many have already marathoned through the entire thirteen-episode first season, which would likely be more fulfilling than watching the way I plan to, one episode per week. Yet I can already tell that this show should be decently entertaining at the very least, thanks in large part to Kemper. Adorable as the dim-witted but kind-hearted Erin on “The Office,” Kemper brings the right upbeat attitude to Kimmy, imbuing her with a genuine enthusiasm and refusal to see the bad in people. Her pursuit of a young thief was particularly charming, and she should remain endearing as long as her innocence doesn’t allow her to be taken advantage of too many times. I’m not so sold on her new roommate Titus and her landlord Lillian, both of whom are caricatures, but I do like Jane Krakowski’s exaggerated socialite, a perfect fit for her following “30 Rock.” I think there’s still some comedy to be milked from her cult past, and as long as this skews towards the believable, it should get gradually funnier and harder to resist, as its main character already is.

How will it work as a series? Thirteen episodes is a shorter season than most half-hour comedies get, though Netflix is more of a cable network than a broadcast one if it were to be classified as either. I think it’s just the right length to be able to tease out some basic storylines as this show becomes more and more comfortable with itself.
How long will it last? A long time. It already got picked up for a second season before its premiere, and Netflix seems pretty gung ho about their existing shows and should have no problem keeping this one on the “air” as long as Fey is interested in producing more of it.

Pilot grade: B

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