Wednesday, March 11, 2015

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy Tries to Learn & Titus Sings About Pinot Noir in 'Kimmy Goes to School!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 1.06 "Kimmy Goes to School!"

Kimmy's GED class isn't as educational as she'd hoped. Lillian helps Titus shoot a music video - in Jacqueline's house.

At the end of the last episode, Kimmy was very excited to scratch one of the biggest things off of her to-do list in her new life: finish school. She's too old to enroll in high school again but she's fortunate enough to be a part of the GED program. She has the week off from working for the Voorhees family because Jacqueline is out of town and gave all the staff the time off. So, she is able to fully commit to this endeavor. The only problem she faces is a teacher who doesn't want to teach. All he wants to do is show movies to the class while he sleeps - and hopes that he'll awake from his slumber. Kimmy is expecting something different from this experience. She has a willingness to learn. She wants to know more about this world. She wants the system she is in to be just as passionate about learning as she is.

To her dismay though, the system is broken. Budget cuts have really beaten this school down. The principal is as serious about learning as Kimmy is but he spends all his time away from the school. A kid is living in the vents and is best friends with the school secretary. And they are also renting out lockers to Japanese businessman as changing rooms. Kimmy's class is filled with ex-cons and immigrants. She stands out in this environment because she wants to be there and learn as much as she can. But no one else is putting forth that amount of enthusiasm or dedication to these students. Richard Kind's Mr. Lefkovitz wants to do a bad job so he can be sent to The Rubber Room. He can't be fired because he has tenure. One more compliant and he can live out his dream of putting even less effort into this job while still getting paid.

Kimmy wants to believe that there is a good man inside Mr. L and that he has simply lost his passion for teaching. It's understandable. Years in this kind of system constantly battling cutbacks after cutbacks could cause someone to lose their complete faith in it doing anything worthwhile. Kimmy fully believes if he simply saw that his presence did something good for a former student he would be reinvigorated and want to actually teach again. The opposite is true however. He has always been a horrible teacher. The former student only agrees to come back to this school so that he can beat Mr. L up. It's not the effect Kimmy wanted and it doesn't help her one bit in helping change Mr. L's attitude. He's simply a man who knows how this system works and only uses it to benefit himself. Sure, he's living in the basement of people who don't know he's down there. But he has a huge crush on Beverly D'Angelo and a willingness to put no effort into anything he does. No matter what happens he will come out of it as a winner. When that outcome is already clear, why does he need to work hard at all?

Kimmy is defeated for a moment. This was a passion project for her and her new unbreakable attitude. She still attends the class because she needs to get her GED, but it's not doing her much luck. That is until she realizes how to win in this war between her and the teacher because of the movie they are watching. She doesn't need this teacher in order to pass this test. She is sitting in a room full of people who also want to get their GEDs. They can rely on each other and can possibly pass the test together. They don't need the teacher to teach. That way he can't get what he wants and she and the rest of the class can.

Meanwhile, Titus and Lillian also have to deal with a story about changing someone's perception. Titus just wants to film a music video for his career because it's something that came to him in a dream. It's not a well-thought out plan. He plans on the words coming to him in the moment because the lyrics are the least important part of a song. He and Lillian eventually wind up filming the majority of it at the Voorhees family house because remember Jacqueline is out of town. It's a humorous subplot that gets some more weight added to it when Xan comes home and they have to help each other out. Xan won't get Kimmy fired for letting her friends into the house if they help Xan clean up the mess her friends made during the party she had last night. It's a deal Titus makes easily because he likes Kimmy and doesn't want her to lose the job because of him. Xan doesn't understand that and Titus and Lillian don't do a great job explaining why they care so much about Kimmy. They just do. And they also make Xan see that the people she is hanging out with and the person she is may not be the best. Xan started the episode texting with her friend who was walking right next to her. And then, she ended it still hanging out with her friends but feeling more out-of-place than she was before.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy Goes to School!" was written by Dan Rubin & Lon Zimmet and directed by Michael Engler.
  • How in the world did Titus film so much of his music video at the Voorhees home but never enter the kitchen and living room to see what kind of a mess Xan and her friends left.
  • What is your favorite rhyme that Titus comes up with for Pinot Noir? Mine are "Mid-sized car" and "Myanmar."
  • Titus was a jock and prom king in high school and that experience was still horrible for him. It's a twist on the typical high school struggle of a young gay man but the pain of it was still as real even though it was different.
  • Lillian vows to do to Julian Voorhees' bathroom what he did to the middle class. Her anger towards this wealthy man was very exciting to see. And then, she only came back to rescue Titus after seeing the cat she thinks looks like him.
  • I'm so grateful that we got to see a full edition of Titus' music video.
  • Titus: "It's called: Pinot Noir: An Ode to Black Penis."
  • Lillian: "They won't even know we were there! I sanded off my fingerprints years ago."