#MUFFApproved: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-)
Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock
Actress: Ellie Kemper
Cue the exam season jokes about binge-watching Netflix when you're supposed to be studying because that is how I watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and that is probably how you should do it too—by replacing your immediate responsibilities with Ellie Kemper being adorably determined and resilient. Freed from a doomsday cult after fifteen years of imprisonment, Kimmy takes to the streets of New York to learn about the world she thought has ended.
Tina Fey returns to television writing with Kimmy Schmidt to bring about a show that is refreshingly critical and self-aware and unapologetically laden with pop culture references. Taking a conscious jab at the media's treatment of women, Kimmy Schmidt plays with and speaks back to stereotypical images of marginalized groups rather than relying on them for comedic value. No way is Kimmy, or any female character for that matter, a powerless victim to her circumstances. They're unbreakable! They're alive, dammit! Females are strong as hell! Yup, even the theme song serves as a self-affirmative truism for females everywhere.
The show has a widely diverse and fiercely female-charged cast with plenty of notable and recurring guest roles. I gargled out a fan-girl-like squeal when a certain handsome and dapper middle-aged man best known for his lead role on AMC's Mad Men appeared on-screen. But, as with other straight white male characters, he is not central to the premise of the show and is cast to the sidelines.
Although Kimmy might initially come across as annoyingly naïve, you can't deny that she is a strong female—even more so because she doesn't uphold a masculinized ideal of power and strength through dominance (e.g. she doesn't have to be stoic, bitch-faced, or stepping over others to be perceived as strong). She can be simple, child-like, and gullible without being portrayed as flawed or fragile—she knows she has a lot to learn and she can go her own way about it. Sure, Kimmy's can-do attitude might be a bit cheesy, but I shamelessly adore rooting for her. Stop, it's Kimmy time!
If you commit to anything in your next 12-hour Netflix coma, let it be Kimmy.
NATASHA GERMANA is currently a full-time student pursuing a degree in Women's Studies and Philosophy. She is a bit off-grid (that's a nicer way of saying she doesn't keep up with her social media accounts), but if you really want to find her, she has a personal Tumblr.
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