Tuesday, March 10, 2015

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy Goes After What She Wants in Life in 'Kimmy Kisses a Boy!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 1.05 "Kimmy Kisses a Boy!"

Kimmy's bunker-mate Cyndee visits New York with her new boyfriend, Brandon, whom Titus promptly outs. Charles makes his move with Kimmy.

So far, Kimmy hasn't wanted her identity as a mole woman to be the one thing defining her life. She doesn't want that experience to break her even though it is still a prevalent part of her life. She hasn't completely moved on from it but she has been making strides in her life in New York City. She is happy with the success she has found for herself. She has a room with a window in it! She has a steady job! She has a guy who is interested in her! This isn't the future she envisioned for herself. She was given this opportunity to rediscover herself and live life to the fullest. She shouldn't fall into a routine. She's still getting used to the society of the present-day. But that doesn't mean she has to give up on her own dreams.

Her old bunker-mate Cyndee visits Kimmy in New York with her new boyfriend, Brandon. Cyndee is a vastly differently person than the one who lived all those years with Kimmy in the bunker. She was like a younger sister to Kimmy. She was always looking out for Cyndee and helping her achieve the illusion of her fantasies while they were down in the bunker. Now that she is back in Indiana society, Cyndee has already found everything that she wanted in order to have a happy life. She is dating her high school crush and moving into a big house with him. It's all because she has embraced her identity as a mole woman. She gladly accepts the pity of others because it means she can make her dreams a reality. Sure, it still remains a fantasy. Brandon is gay and in love with another man but he wants to be Cyndee's boyfriend-turned-fiancé because he feels sorry for her. It's not the healthiest of ways to live life. And yet, Cyndee is happy even though she knows that her life isn't real. She would rather pretend that it is because it is everything she ever dreamed of. If none of this can be true, then what was the point of her holding onto those dreams during those years in the bunker.

Kimmy is happy with the progress she has made in her life recently. However, she doesn't have anything that feels real yet. Charles finally makes his move on her. They start kissing regularly. And yet, Kimmy doesn't completely know how dating and relationships work in 2015. She is ready to say "I love you" to him after they only kiss twice. They have never been on a date. And yet, she is willing to embrace the briskness of this relationship because it was nice to know that some guy liked her. She still has to deal with the problems of her past. She isn't ready for a relationship yet. So, of course, everything implodes on her. The phone call where Charles asks to take things to the next level was actually just a butt dial while he was playing a video game with a friend. It's good that both of them took this risk to see what would happen if they admitted their feelings for each other. But Kimmy is still overly enthusiastic and that quirky quality led to her not reading this situation correctly.

That is disappointing for Kimmy. Charles has had his eyes on her ever since he first appeared. But the episode doesn't end unhappily for Kimmy. Cyndee's visit helped her realize that she has bigger dreams than what she is currently living. Sure, she doesn't want to take a shortcut like Cyndee did. Nor does she want to be solely identified as a mole woman. (Sidenote: For how long will people actually pity the mole woman? In Indiana, it could be forever. But in New York, why would people really care all that much after awhile? Surely, some new shocking story will replace theirs.) She wants a life that is real. But that means she can no longer just avoid the harshness of life. She has a stable job and solid friends. But she also needs to do things for herself. So, to start off, she wants to complete her education. It's funny how she thinks she can just re-enroll in the eighth grade - just because it's what Billy Madison did. A grown woman in middle school would be a pretty funny story. But it is much more realistic that she would work for her GED. It's not the best possible solution. But it's the exact thing she needs to do in order to go where she is going. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy Kisses a Boy!" was written by Allison Silverman and directed by Linda Mendoza.
  • Titus worries that he is becoming an old, black, gay man because he is not able to seduce Brandon. He's afraid he's lost his desirable edge. He worries that he will only be seen as the man with wise advice. Fortunately though, he gets a morale boost when the construction worker who hit on Kimmy in the teaser realizes the truth about himself and asks Titus out. Titus doesn't accept but it's the offer that puts the spring back in his step.
  • Titus: "Am I a bear now? Or a daddy? Or a... Huxtable?!" That Cosby joke worked for me because of the latter payoff of Titus walking down the street in a colorful sweater but underneath it was a shirt that said "Baby Slut."
  • Titus left a wife back in Mississippi. Wait, what?
  • Smooth jazzercise may be my new favorite thing.
  • I barely noticed that Jacqueline wasn't in this episode at all. 
  • Construction worker: "Bigger picture, does the world really need another bank?"
  • Titus: "That was smoke and mirrors, Kimmy, two things gay men love."