Imagine living in a bomb shelter with three other women and a deranged person for for fifteen years of your life, knowing nothing else but what you remember from before you were taken. Now imagine being released for the first time. Does this sound like a comedy plot? Netflix sure thinks so! It has picked up a new comedy exclusively for its website, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.
Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper), was just a young girl of fifteen when she was taken by a failing deejay. The “preacher”, as he told Kimmy and three other women—Cyndee (Sara Chase), Gretchen (Lauren Adams) and Donna (Sol Miranda)-he was called, lured the girls into a bunker by various methods, and told them that an apocalypse had wiped out the earth and that they were the only ones alive. For fifteen years, Kimmy was kept in the bunker, believing that the world had ended. The FBI soon breaks into the bunker and releases the women. They are each offered a great sum of money from a fund that had been created to help the “Indiana Mole Women”, and sent back to their home town of Durnsville to start over. Kimmy, however, after going to New York to do an interview on Good Morning America, stays in the Big Apple and tries to make a life for herself. There, she rooms with the flamboyant actor Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), who’s apartment is under the house of their quirky, crazy landlady Lillian (Carol Kane). Kimmy also finds a job, working as a nanny and maid for Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
Originally, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was set to air on NBC on October 31, 2013 as a 13 episode series called “Tooken”, but that was put on hold. Finally, on November 21, 2014, NBC announced that they would sell the show to Netflix, who released it on March 6, 2015.
Netflix, in its tradition of streaming, original shows, has released all of the first season of “Unbreakable”, and if the plot isn’t enough to catch interest, then the writers and creators will. It is written by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the writers of the acclaimed show “30 Rock”, so the show has witty humor supplied by Titus, and slapstick comedy in the scenarios that Kimmy gets into, sometimes of her own doing. One could also bet that with a co-writer like Fey, who is an avid feminist and advocate for strong female characters, the character of Kimmy is just what the title says: unbreakable, and willing to do what it takes to make it in New York city and not go back to Durnsville. However, the show isn’t always witty humor and funny situations.
Fey and Carlock don’t shy away from serious subjects that one would face in the aftermath of a truamatic event like living with a cult for fifteen years, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, starting over and showing how the media warps and uses trauma victims for publicity. Each topic is handled with the care it deserves-like Kimmy having her friends tell her it is okay to need to talk to someone after being rescued when Kimmy has nightmares, and Kimmy learning that it is up to the person how they deal with their trauma and that one person’s recovery isn’t always everyone’s. The show even touches on a little bit of feminism, when Kimmy tries to convince Jacqueline and everyone else in the waiting room of a plastic surgeon’s office that beauty doesn’t come from the outside. On top of everything else, the cast is mostly women and people of color. All these aspects make “Unbreakable” a well rounded, enjoyable show.
Critics and audiences also love the show. The Washington Post printed an article about the death of sictom TV, but the writer said that they were glad that “Unbreakable” was moved forward to help save the sitcom. TV.com calls it “as funny and quoteable as ‘30 Rock’ and every bit as cheerful and heartwarming as ‘Parks and Recreation’”. There are no rating statistics as of yet.
All 13 episodes are available for streaming on Netflix-and just in time, too. Due to the drama involving major cable companies Time-Warner Cable and Comcast cable, the FCC has decided to phase out cable television and buy into online streaming. This means that popular shows will no longer be available on public and private television networks, only for online streaming. The phasing has been slated to begin in early 2016, using 2015 as a gap year to give television networks the ability to start going into online streaming. This, however, means that online streaming from major websites-NBC, ABC and the like-may stop being free in order for them to receive revenue. The networks hope to have all of their shows moved online by the end of December.

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