TV Review: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ is Solid Despite a Condensed Season

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One of the benefits of Netflix’s distribution model is having the ability to release shows as the Emmy window closes. However, some of that flexibility can be a double-edged sword.  “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has been one of the better comedies on television over the past few years. The show has picked up 16 Emmy nominations since premiering in 2015, including two for Ellie Kemper and three for Tituss Burgess. While Burgess and Kemper continue to knock it out of the park, the show can’t quite take a step forward due to a condensed season.

Produced and run by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock the show continues to excel at its joke-per-minute formula. Unfortunately, with Fey’s time split between “Kimmy Schmidt” and “Mean Girls: The Musical,” the TV series only dropped 6 episodes this season. This ultimately stops the show from taking a step forward but remains consistently hilarious. Fey and Carlock push the show to take chances in the condensed season. They use one of the six episodes on a parody of “Making a Murderer” and other true-crime documentaries. Another showcases extended sequences with a Muppet-style backpack puppet. Once again, Fey and Carlock use wordplay and visual humor to sell jokes throughout. This keeps the series as funny as ever.

Once again, the performances from the core cast are hilarious as always. The series continues to use Kemper to perfection. Her ability to bring positivity throughout the season is great as always. Kemper’s performance remains criminally underrated, especially given the show hinges on it. Burgess slays every episode, providing the show with a consistently strong comedic presence to the show. The two give Emmy worthy performances again and should hold onto their nominations in a down year.

Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski are hilarious throughout the season. However, some of their bits don’t quite hit (although Kane selling the ashes of her lover to rich boys who think its cocaine is hilarious). Krakowski is simultaneously given more and less to do this season. She’s moving forward in her career as Titus’ agent, but almost everything she does revolves around Titus. Kane is on fire as a joke-delivery vehicle, but unfortunately, that’s all she’s given this season. Both aren’t quite as developed as they probably needed to get Emmy attention, so they’ll miss out again. Despite this, the performances are still solid.

Guest stars come and go almost every episode, once again showcasing some very fun performances. An entire episode is devoted to Jon Hamm reprising his role as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. The episode is led by Derek Klena, who is a surprisingly funny recurring character, DJ Fingablast. Bobby Moynihan stands out with one of his weirder characters, a men’s rights activist. Perhaps the funniest guest star of the season is Paul Walter Hauser as the walking definition of white male privilege. His turn likely won’t draw Emmy attention, but it is hilarious all the same.

With the series nearing the end of its run (this season is its last), the season is another solid entry for the show. Unfortunately, Netflix’s flexibility may also be its downfall for Emmy season. Debuting so late in the game may hurt the season. Yet the fact the show has picked up nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series each year does favor the show. With the pedigree, awards-worthy performances, and very funny writing, the show could still be an awards magnet. Regardless of Emmy love or not, the season remains as clever and enjoyable as ever.

What did you think of the new season? Does “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” live up to the previous seasons? How do you like the condensed season? Let us know in the comments below! 

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is streaming on Netflix. You can read previous season reviews here. 

GRADE: (★★★½)