Saturday, March 7, 2015

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy Throws a Birthday Party & Counts to 10 in 'Kimmy Gets a Job!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 1.02 "Kimmy Gets a Job!"

Kimmy has to throw an acceptable kids' birthday party to keep her new job with the filthy rich Voorhees family.

At the end of the first episode, Kimmy vowed not to let this world break her as she tries to take back her life. Her enthusiasm is wonderful to see and her conviction is admirable. But first things first, she has to go win her job back with the Voorhees family. It's a job she wandered into briefly in the premiere. It was enough for her to be happy for herself and the amount of work she had accomplished so quickly in her journey to New York City. That quality didn't last long. She was two hours late for her first day and Jacqueline fires her immediately. There really is no reason why Jacqueline should give Kimmy another chance - other than her optimism and desire to do a better job. Fortunately for Kimmy, she is given a second chance. She's asked to throw a superhero-themed birthday party for young Buckley. Kimmy is so excited to be given this opportunity and is ready for the challenge because she learned how to put things together quickly during her time in the bunker. She is happy and willing to do this but is ill-prepared for the chaos that is the Voorhees family.

Jacqueline is making such a big deal out of this party because it promises the return of her husband, Julian. She is so desperate to impress him that she completely undercuts and forgets that this day is suppose to be about her son. Buckley is a monster. He doesn't like superheroes. He likes super villains because he thinks it would be cool to blow up hospitals. And then, there is new discovery, Xanthrippe, Jacqueline's step-daughter - and the source of a great running gag when Kimmy tries pronouncing her name. Xan is a pretty and popular girl who terrorizes both Jacqueline and Kimmy. Jacqueline is so afraid of her and often doesn't know what to do with her. That has led to Xan become a vicious young person who believes that she too is the boss of Kimmy and can get her to do whatever she wants. It's a character that Dylan Gelula has played before - on ABC Family's Chasing Life and TV Land's Jennifer Falls. But there's a much stronger specificity to it on display here that makes it funnier than it has any right being. Of course, all the build-up of Julian's arrival is all for nothing as Jacqueline learns from his assistant that he hasn't and isn't leaving London. You can just tell from the fact that she's hearing all of this from his assistant that things aren't going well between them. This party was to impress him. Without him, she believes that Kimmy has failed. No one in the Voorhees family is happy and thusly they shouldn't have Kimmy working for them.

And yet, Kimmy loves helping people. It becomes more clear that she was often the one who kept the small family unit together down in the bunker. Her optimism kept the women happy. It's all because of her belief that anything can be good for 10 seconds. All you have to do is live 10 seconds at a time and then things won't be as bad as they seem. It's what kept her sane in her previous situation that just gets more and more twisted. The women had to turn a mysterious lever constantly and to this day they still don't know what it did. But the 10 second rule comforted Kimmy and kept her the same bubbly person she always is. She is able to save the day with the Voohees...eses because of it. She is able to comfort Jacqueline in a time where she just needs a friend. She figures out how to get the power back in her dynamic with Xan. And lastly, she gives Buckley the present he wants by letting him beat up Titus while he's wearing his Iron Man knockoff costume. She still has much more work to do in order to become a trusted and crucial part of this family. But she's learning how to become a working part of their crazy and rich way of life. Yes, this chaos screams "Kimmy should get out of there as quickly as possible." And yet, Kimmy still wants and can help the Voorhees family. That's where she feels needed right now. She succeeds this time. I'm expecting more ups and downs with this job in the future. But right now, she has a win in her column.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy Gets a Job!" was written by Sam Means and directed by Tristram Shapeero.
  • Titus' story about bringing the costumed performers together to stand against the costume store owner who doesn't want to give back any of their security deposits didn't tell us anything new about him. However, he's no longer just content with this as his lifestyle. Sure, he has to put the costume back on in the end. But he did something great and that felt good.
  • Titus learned about Intellectual Property laws when he tried staging his own version of The Lion King. It was largely just a bad one-man show with a cat - with the only person in the audience being one of Disney's lawyers.
  • The Voorhees family don't know that Kimmy is one of the bunker women. However, Xan vows to find out all of her secrets after Kimmy grounds her.
  • Jacqueline wants to be seen as young - i.e. claiming to be the same age as Xan and taken offense by being called a MILF. They are some pretty weak jokes. However, I still like the human moment she has with Kimmy in the end where she realizes her marriage isn't working but still wants to be spooned.
  • Xan's friends seem equally as terrible. One can't go to the hospital because her dad's running for Congress. Another enjoys having sex when she visits her grandparents.
  • Kimmy singing: "They call me cool Kimmy cuz I like to rap!"
  • Kimmy to Jacqueline: "A scrunchie that's also a wallet?" How would that even work? And yet, I'm still intrigued by it.
  • Kimmy to Xan: "Your stepmother expects you to be at your half-brother's party when your full father gets here."
  • Titus: "Damnit, what white bitch got him golf clubs?!"