Kimmy Manipulates the Masses!
Let us step back in time to the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards. Leading the pack with a whopping eight nominations including “Outstanding Comedy Series” and a double-nomination for “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” is NBC’s darling 30 ROCK. IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA garnered a single nomination for “Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program”, which it didn’t manage to win. In an uncharacteristic display of caring, the SUNNY crew premiered the tongue-in-cheek “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award”, wherein the gang visits the new most popular bar in town, Sudz.
“What’s with all the loud, fake colors?” wonders Mac, as Carly Ray Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” bumps in the background. “Where’s the subtlety?”
“What’s with the black friend no one is acknowledging?” muses Dennis, “Shine a light on it, make sure everyone sees and knows that I have a black friend.”
“Did you see that charged moment between Greg and Amanda?” asks Dennis, in reference to the two attractive bartenders. “I think they should end up together.”
“I’d like to come back next week to see if they do!” exclaims Mac.
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT premiered in spring of 2015 and quickly took the world by storm. Now, it holds seven primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series.
Genius creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (both hailing from 30 ROCK) have got the sitcom down to a science, and that’s all their latest creation is: science. THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is engineered to be a perfectly lovable show – so much so that it lacks heart and authenticity. Set aside your opinions for a moment, pop on your tin foil hat, and let’s explore this adorable Frankenstein.
Whether you’re a primetime network show or a twelve-year-old making a web series in your backyard, the best way to capture the attention of the modern world is to go “viral”. This is something UNBREAKABLE understands to an intimate degree. The theme song itself is more than a parody of the “Bed Intruder Song”, one of the most successful viral videos of all time. It is created by the same team, The Gregory Brothers.
He looks like rejected concept art from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE
UNBREAKABLE enjoyed another stint of viral success with Titus’ “ode to black penis”, “Peeno Noir”. If you’ve talked to another human being anytime since last Spring I don’t need to tell you how popular it is, but if you’re a hermit or perhaps trapped in a bunker like Kimmy herself, you can check it out on countless sources, including The Hollywood Reporter
Entertainment giants like Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Tina Fey herself have ushered in a new era of women on television. Strong female characters are not only appearing on screens across the globe, they are the new hot commodity. UNBREAKABLE knows this and takes every opportunity to capitalize on it.
Don’t misunderstand me – the increased acceptance of powerful women in media is a huge step in the right direction, and I personally pray to Lena Dunham for strength every night. The issue is that UNBREAKABLE markets the most easily digestible brand of feminism imaginable. Kimmy herself is an “every girl”: a lost optimist in a big city with a dark past, a sunny disposition, and an even sunnier sweater. She and her three female bunker-mates face off against the white, male, religious zealot who imprisoned them. Where GIRLS challenges traditional ideas about women through four complex characters, UNBREAKABLE opts for “empowered woman vs. evil white man” and yells “females are strong as hell!” at us in the intro. This works in the show’s favor to garner the coveted progressive stamp of approval, but elicits a heavy sigh from everyone sick of slogging through a Facebook newsfeed full of images like this one:
You know what’s less unbreakable? The patriarchy.
All of this isn’t to say that the show isn’t funny or entertaining. Of course it is. However, before we all start lobbing awards at it, we should stop to consider what UNBREAKABLE has accomplished. Is it challenging form? Is it sharing new and exciting ideas? Or does it simply prove how easy it has become to capture our attention with a few progressive buzz words, Auto-Tune , and some bright colors?
Every consumer’s attention is their currency. They choose to give it to shows, films, and music that work hard to earn it, or surrender it to content that simply reaches out and grabs it by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Everyone is entitled to an impulse buy once in a while, but let us not confuse good content with entertaining content.
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is available in its entirety on Netflix