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YMMV / Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Young people. A few younger characters, like Xan, have Hidden Depths, but most characters under thirty are coddled basketcases, Soapbox Sadies, pretentious hipsters, or some combo of the above.
    • Rich people, too. With few exceptions, every wealthy character on the show is a self-important and haughty jerk with little to no redeeming qualities.
  • Applicability: It's a story about a woman trying to figure out her identity after being subjected to years of abuse by a highly controlling male authority figure—inviting many feminist interpretations. It's also a story about a young Millennial trying to make it in the 21st century, despite never being taught how to survive in the world on her own—inviting many political and social interpretations.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After the controversy of how the show handled Native American issues in its first season, the Season 2 finale (and subsequently, several episodes of season 3) attempted to make humor of the Washington Redskins debacle.
    • Season 2 similarly got a lot of flak with its dismissive response to the controversy, portraying everyone who complained as whiny Social Justice Warrior stereotypes. Season 3 introduces Xan's college roommates, who are similarly liberally inclined but portrayed far more sympathetically, while the same episode introducing them also features a similarly exaggerated right-wing Conspiracy Theorist character. (Similarly, in Season 4, The Reverend's friends while he's in jail are Men's Rights Activists.)
  • Awesome Music: All of the songs from "Kimmy's Roommate Lemonades!".
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Dong. Some find him to be adorkable and funny and enjoy his chemistry with Kimmy, while others find him to be an obnoxious Ethnic Scrappy. And then there are those that just find him to be bland and boring and an underwhelming love interest character.
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    • Mimi Kanasis, particularly after she became an Ascended Extra in Season 2. Depending on who you ask, she's either hilarious or annoying. Her decreasing appearances in subsequent seasons seem to reflect this.
  • Broken Base:
    • The trial storyline of the final three episodes of the first season had the the fanbase sharply divided due to the darker nature of the plot events being made a subject of comedy, as well as a divided reaction to some of the characters appearing on those episodes.
    • "Kimmy Goes to a Play" divided audience members on whether its Take That, Critics! jokes at the expense of critics of their Native American casting were funny or insulting.
    • "Kimmy Goes to a Play" also received a divided reaction to its Asian-American protest storyline, again over whether the jokes were funny or insulting.
  • Critical Research Failure: Granted, it's probably part of the joke, but DJ Fingablast's DJ "mixing" (spinning two vinyl records on a turntable) is such an inaccurate Shallow Parody of how DJing works that it's just cringey.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Titus lies about knowing the deceased at a funeral, then has to cover his lies by claiming that the family requested that he sing at the funeral. He interrupts a silent moment of prayer to begin singing a soulful song, then realizes too late that the lyrics to Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" are extremely inappropriate, but he must soldier on.
    • Lillian claims she's not racist because her late husband was black. When pressed, she admits that she shot her husband because she didn't recognize him in the dark one night and assumed he was a burglar because he was black.
    • All of the bunker flashback scenes. When you actually stop and think about it, the fact that these four women have been kidnapped, forced underground, imprisoned, been psychologically abused and lied to, (and, as far as we're aware, specifically for Kimmy, raped) for fifteen years is deeply unsettling and horrifying. But all of the scenes in the bunker are just so over-the-top and ridiculous that it's impossible not to chuckle at them.
    • Mikey's grandmother, who's so decrepit that not even her family is entirely sure that she's human and she's played by a Swedish Chef-style puppet.
    • Titus singing backup vocals on a bunch of outrageously racist, sexist, and otherwise extremely far right-wing songs, all while seeming completely oblivious to the content. Then the one he has a problem with is simply an ode to large-breasted California girls.
    • In a meta example, the casting of Jane Krakowski as a Lakota. Casting someone with no (or infinitesimally small) ancestry as a Native American has been long an issue in Hollywood, but when the actor is unambiguously white, it's much easier to know you're in parody territory.
  • First Installment Wins: This show was Netflix's first attempt at comedy, and became one of its earliest smash hits, a review would go as far as to call it "the first great comedy of the streaming era", and while there have been Netflix comedies that have come since that have equaled it in acclaim, the show is still seen as a big stepping stone.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With 30 Rock, due to some shared jokes and cast members, particularly Tina Fey. There are several Guest Stars of 30 Rock actors that appear on this show, which strengthened the bonds of the fandoms.
    • A small one with Orange Is the New Black, due to a small crossover in the end of episode 5 of the third season, in which Gretchen gets sent to the jail where the show takes place, even befriending Black Cindy and with intentions of starting her new women-only cult there.
  • Glurge: How some view the final season.
  • Growing the Beard: As beloved as the first season already was, the show benefited a lot when the crew was able to start writing directly for the Netflix format in Season 2: episodes last a full 30 minutes, no need for act breaks, and more use of long-form storytelling.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The accident-filled Spider-Man play becomes a lot less funny after an accident during the pre-production of a now-canceled Attack on Titan stage play claimed the life of actor Kazutaka Yoshino. To be fair, the Spidey show was an extended Take That! at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which was infamous for multiple accidents before it even officially opened.
    • It was easier to poke fun at "Marcia" and "Chris" when, as Marcia notes, O.J. Simpson was in prison anyway. However, since that episode aired, Simpson was released from prison and a whole TV series was made exploring his trial, so the issue of his failed murder case is a more serious topic again.
    • The success of Kimmy's book is mirroring that of Harry Potter would become awkward in 2020, after J. K. Rowling made transphbic comments on twitter
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Season 4, Jacqueline shuts down Xan's jerk ex-boyfriend by telling him that he should respect women and he's not more important just because he can drive a car in Saudi Arabia. Before this episode came out, the Saudi Arabian government has begun allowing women to drive in 2017.
  • Iron Woobie: Kimmy, as the title of the show implies. She got kidnapped when she was a teenager and was forced into being the personal pet of a deranged man running an underground cult for fifteen years. Yet she refuses to let her trauma define her and remains upbeat and kind throughout the series.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jacqueline is self-absorbed, demanding, and arrogant — a straightforward stereotype of a spoiled trophy wife. However, she's also trapped in a loveless marriage to a husband who's never home, manipulated by her marriage counselor, and bereft of any real friends until Kimmy comes along.
    • Xanthippe and Buckley are spoiled, boorish, and disrespectful, but much of their behavior can be attributed to a father who's never home and a stepmother (for Xan)/mother (for Buckley) who fails to show them attention or discipline.
    • Donna Maria is the most callous of the four Mole Women, publicly referring to her three fellow captives as "bitches". However, being held captive alongside people who don't speak your language and who treat you as an outsider is enough to make anyone bitter and insensitive.
  • Les Yay:
    • Between Kimmy and Jacqueline; Jacqueline asks Kimmy to spoon with her, she gets Kimmy to pretend to be her lesbian date and at one point she has an Almost Kiss with her.
    • Kimmy and Cyndee have some as well, considering Cyndee made Kimmy pretend to be her boyfriend down in the bunker.
    • Jacqueline and Deirdre are dripping with Foe Yay, including another Almost Kiss.
    • Xan's RA mistakes her and Kimmy for a couple, and goes out of her way to show how accepting she is of them.
    • Jacqueline hallucinates (maybe) an intimate encounter in the kitchen with Russ' elderly grandmother, in an extended parody of the pottery scene from Ghost.
  • Love to Hate: Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne is such a disgusting pervert and all around horrible human being, but Jon Hamm's Hammy and charismatic performance, has made it hard not to laugh at the Reverend.
  • Memetic Mutation: Several quotes on the show have become this thanks to Tumblr.
    • "I need to rush out of here making weird panic noises!"
    • "I'm Lemonade-ing!" note 
    • "Your experiences are not universal."
    • "I said I'm a homosexual having a panic attack!!"
    • "What white nonsense is this/was that?"
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Logan crosses it in his attempts to resolve the Love Triangle between him, Kimmy, and Dong. Specifically, he alerts immigration to Dong's status as an illegal alien, putting the latter under constant danger of being deported for the rest of Season 1. Dong only managed to escape the raid on his workplace because he was out on a delivery at the time. To top it all off, Logan actually revels in his decision. It's what leads Kimmy to dump him on the spot.
    • If Orson Snyder didn't cross it with his horrible abuse of his son Russ, he most definitely crosses it when he has Duke, his other son, set up as an ISIS agent and arranges for his arrest all so Jacqueline can't use him to shame the NFL. While Duke himself is far from a saint and gleefully partook in abusing Russ himself, Duke was portrayed as Orson's "favorite" son compared to Russ being the least liked son, Orson's willingness to throw the former under the bus and treated like it was nothing, really highlights Orson's reprehensible character. It's no wonder Jacqueline calls him the most horrible person she had ever met.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Joshua Jackson as Purvis, the cashier who has a suspiciously encyclopedic knowledge of Joshua Jackson's career.
  • Signature Scene: Not in small part due to the heavy advertising on it, Titus' parody of "Hold Up" became this.
  • The Scrappy: Randy, Kimmy's stepfather, is widely disliked because of his Too Dumb to Live nature (which is extreme even for this show) and how he's not nearly as interesting as the other characters. In particular, many fans were disappointed when he made a return in the last couple of episodes of Season 1 and yet Kimmy's half-sister Kymmi didn't.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • In season 2, Lillian tells Kimmy that on some occasions giving up on some certain things isn't necessarily bad all the time, as it can be healthy for you in the long run and lets you look forward to much better things in life.
    • The last episode of season 2 drops this anvil: some people have parents who aren't always around or did a terrible job in raising them and sure, Calling the Old Man Out may sound appealing, but in the end, no matter what has been said, it ultimately doesn't change the past and the only thing you can do for yourself is to accept what has happened and move on with your life.
    Kimmy: But there's nothing I can say that will un-kidnap me or fix my childhood or give you the life you wanted before you had me.
    • Staying married to a sex offender while stopping someone else from marrying them will not do you any favors down the road no matter how noble your actions are.
  • Squick:
    • In Season 2, Kimmy takes Buckley and his play-date into the sewer system for a Ninja Turtles-themed birthday party. They emerge boasting, "We ate sewer pizza," complete with brown smudges around their mouths.
    • Then there's watching Kimmy drink from the kitchen tap. The... fluid that comes out is viscus, pale orange, and apparently crunchy, given the sound effects.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Kimmy telling Gretchen in Season 3 that she's failing at being a cult leader not because she's a woman but because she's a Gretchen is supposed to be wrong, as shown by Kimmy ultimately changing her mind. But seriously now... if you can't make a bunch of teenage boys obey you when you have an arms locker full of guns to point at them, the Double Standard may just be the least of your problems. Sure, the way law enforcement treats Gretchen with silken gloves and seems terrified of hurting her feelings while trying to arrest her is... odd... but that should make her job easier, not harder.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: We never get any real focus on Kimmy working at the Christmas store in Season 2.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Often as a result of the show's reluctance to tie the four leads into a relationship for longer than a season.
    • In "Kimmy Goes to a Bar", Kimmy meets a Romantic False Lead Keith, a handsome Ranger who suffers from PTSD, awkwardly flirts with her and seems to understand her a bit better than previous love interests (Logan, Dong and Charles) since he also had gone through a traumatic experience. During the party, he and Kimmy have a falling out when he advises her to move on and she wants to regain lost time. After that, he is gone for the rest of the season and we never hear of him again.
    • In a non-romantic example, Xanthippe receives a lot of focus and Character Development in the first season, only to be sent off to college at the season's end. She returns for only an episode or two in each subsequent season.
    • In season 4, Artie. He's Killed Offscreen in between seasons and only shows up in a flashback and a recorded will.
    • Perry. Different from Kimmy's other love interests (being relatively smart, down-to-earth and calmer all around), he isn't gone and their parting was shown as very amicable, showing them as still friends afterwards, with Kimmy knowing exactly where he is. Despite that, he doesn't come back in season 4, nor does Kimmy get a new Love Interest, and some fans wanted them to be the endgame couple of the show.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Kimmy advises Titus to give the impression he's interested in what someone is saying by imagining their eyes and mouth have switched places. The result is horrifying.
    • The episode "Kimmy Goes to Her Happy Place!" is full of this. For one thing, there's Kimmy's face in the animated Disney Acid Sequence that is the titular happy place. And then there's Mikey's grandmother. Brrr...
  • Unfortunate Implications: The series has garnered criticism from critics for casting Jane Krakowski, a white Polish-American, as a Native American pretending to be Caucasian and hiding her past.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Cyndee to many fans. She's painted up as a mess of a person who needs attention, but her self-destructive tendencies, self-absorbed attitude, naivete bordering almost on Too Dumb to Live and occasional wangst makes it hard to feel all that bad for her.
    • Lori-Ann, Kimmy's mother. While she does seem to have genuinely tried her best as a mother, and it's clear that she was unfairly vilified by the media after Kimmy was kidnapped, many still find it hard to sympathize with her since she didn't even bother to call Kimmy after she was rescued because she "didn't want to deal with it"... and she also abandoned her other daughter, Kymmi. While the intended Aesop of "even if you confront those who did you wrong, you can't change the past" is true, many felt that Kimmy's forgiveness was completely undeserved.

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