A woman is rescued from a doomsday cult and starts life over again in New York City.
Creators: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess
Review by Mary Cox
Tina Fey’s award-winning Netflix Original series is back with a brand new season. The dialog is just as tight and consistent as it has been in the past, and Kimmy’s life is just as kooky and her friends are just as goofy as they were before, but that’s kind of the problem: Kimmy Schmidt isn’t bringing anything new to the table, and what it is serving up isn’t that appetizing.
Titus, who normally acts as a supporting character in the series, has some moments in this season where you initially think he’s going to be forced to grow as a person and to make hard choices. After fleeing from his cruise ship job, he returns to New York where he makes a difficult decision about his relationship with Mikey. However, Titus’ mission to be more responsible with his relationships is absolutely ruined by his actions at the end of the episode “Kimmy Bites an Onion.”
Titus’ plot arc encapsulates my major beef with Season 3 of Kimmy Schmidt: nobody grows, nothing changes, and at the end of the day, nothing that happens this season really matters. It feels like the writers are hesitant to encourage growth or development with these characters, because there’s this ongoing futility of Kimmy’s actions that overshadows the entire season.
Kimmy’s struggle to seek higher education is pointless, as an obnoxious Hand of God moment at the very end of the last episode gives Kimmy a plum position at a tech firm. It’s unsatisfying because Kimmy has done absolutely nothing to earn this position. Jaqueline’s plot to rename the Washington Redskins resolves much too early in the season, and the fallout after Russ is accepted back into his family is profoundly unsatisfying.
While this series has previously addressed social issues, this season puts more effort into making a platform where bigger topics can be discussed. However, the way these topics are discussed is sometimes a little questionable. Lillian’s fight to represent East Dogmouth comes off as weirdly pro-gentrification in it’s framing and delivery. Xanthippe’s Columbia adventures seem to defend the idea that privilege is something that we should be entitled to abuse, and that the idea of sexual consent is laughable. Fey’s depiction of Millennial feminists is drastically out-of-touch at best, and actually insulting at worst.
Also, this season tends to sweep Kimmy’s emotional issues under the rug in favor of highlighting the shenanigans of her sidekicks. Kimmy Schmidt has the unique position of being a show that prominently features a female character who is a survivor of serious trauma and abuse. In Season 2, the series explored Kimmy’s PTSD in a way that felt honest and real, but Season 3 puts Kimmy’s trauma in the backseat and barely even acknowledges her past.
Ultimately, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is still an entertaining series, but there’s some love lost in this new season. Hopefully Fey can pull things around by the premiere of Season 4.
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”