While You Weren't Looking, 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Ended Its Run
The final six episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schdmit arrived a couple of weeks ago with nary a sound on the Internet after the fourth season was inexplicably split into two (the first seven episodes aired in May 2018). Not a lot has been written about the final seasons of Kimmy. I’m honestly not sure if it’s because no one is watching it anymore or if everyone is watching and there’s just nothing to say (Kimmy Schmidt has been a notoriously difficult show to cover, because it typically does not lend itself to Internet think pieces), or if everyone has been so preoccupied with the phenomenal Sex Education and Russian Doll that they simply haven’t gotten around to it yet.
In either respect, I thought that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s at least warranted a mention here, if only because the joy the first couple of seasons of the Tina Fey/Robert Carlock series brought us (also, the catchiest, most joyful theme song in recent memory).
The final six episodes are sublimely funny, chock full of pop-culture references, scattered with spectacular cameos, and the satire is spot-on, except when it isn’t. As biting and on point as Kimmy Schmidt can often be, it also occasionally whiffs in uncomfortably tone-deaf ways. That is no more apparent than in the #MeToo episode here, where — in a flashback — Titus is sexually harassed during his Sesame Street audition by a puppeteer and the puppeteer’s puppet (it involves touching a puppet penis). It’s not that the accusation isn’t taken seriously — Ronan Farrow makes a cameo appearance! — it’s that the only reason Titus wants to tell his story is so that he can appear at the Tony Awards. The storyline mostly falls flat and feels weirdly dismissive. I have no idea why the second half of the season was split apart by eight months, but if I had to guess, it was because someone thought that this episode would be funnier if it had some distance from the #MeToo movement (it is not, the outstanding Ronan Farrow cameo notwithstanding).
Likewise, the hour-long Sliding Doors parody — in which we get a glimpse of an alternate timeline in which Kimmy never gets in the van with Richard Wayne Gary Wayne — drags on for way too long before revealing that Kimmy and the Gang largely end up more successful and miserable than their real-life counterparts. Other than the fact that Sliding Doors frames much of the latter half of the season, it’s an episode that can be skipped.
The other four episodes, however, are terrific, even if the series finale does feel rushed. There are some great cameos in those, too, including the return of Busy Phillips and Greg Kinnear, plus Jon Bernthal and Zachary Quinto, who plays an eventual love interest to Jacqueline. The jokes come so fast and furious that there’s hardly a moment to process them before the next one comes along, and while that makes for incredibly enjoyable watching, it never leaves much of a lasting impression. It is, however, a wildly entertaining way to pass the time.
For those who have given up on the series, however, and just want to know how it ends, here’s a very brief overview SPOILERS:
Lilian’s apartment is demolished by the city to make way for more gentrification, although the spirit of old-school New York City lives on through Lilian, as she becomes the crusty, yelling voice for the subway system. After sneaking into a Broadway performance of Cats and discovering that’s how all the Cats cast members landed their jobs, Titus eventually segues into a major role in The Lion King on Broadway before marrying Mikey and becoming a movie star, starring in Sliding Doors 2: Tokyo Doors. Jacqueline becomes not just Titus’ agent, but Greg Kinnear’s agent, too, and ends up in a relationship with her blind agent rival, played by Quinto. As for Kimmy? She grows up and matures, but she still hangs on to her childlike wonder, becoming the author of a children’s book so successful that it launches amusement parks. Her Mom (Lisa Kudrow) is on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Header Image Source: Netflix