Friday, March 13, 2015

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy Forms a Study Group & Helps Jacqueline See the Truth in 'Kimmy is Bad at Math!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 1.08 "Kimmy is Bad at Math!"

Kimmy studies for her math GED exam with her classmate Dong, while Jacqueline changes her mind about getting divorced.

Kimmy escaped from a horrible situation and chose to start over in New York City. Yes, it was a very scary prospect because she still hadn't fully dealt with what happened to her in Indiana. But it was a risk she was willing to take in order to reinvent her life. She considers herself to be friends with Jacqueline now. They don't have the typical employer-employee relationship. Jacqueline calls Kimmy on her day off and Kimmy is still willing to come be supportive for her. Kimmy cares about Jacqueline and wants her to be happy with her life as well. Jacqueline knows the truth about Julian. Their marriage is crumbling apart. But the prospect of what her life would be without him is very scary to her. She would rather stay in the safe comfort of her life right now than face the uncertainty of the future by herself. It's an understandable reaction to have. Julian is a horrible person. But would her life become better without him and the wealth he can provide?

Jacqueline has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. She simply can't go back to her rough beginnings. She's now the type of person who offers anyone who visits her home a bottle of water - from a fridge filled only with bottled water - and gets laser work done all over her body. To her, the money she stands to collect from this divorce is way too small for her to live on. It would just be easier to stay married. That's the excuse Jacqueline wants to give. The settlement is actually $12 million. For someone who only spends $100,000 per month, she can stand to continue living the way she is with that money. Jacqueline is simply afraid of being alone. She doesn't have any real friends - just people who work for her. And that's a terrifying prospect for her to face.

Kimmy is busy trying to study for her upcoming GED test but she still wants Jacqueline to stand firm with what she wants to do. Getting divorced is the right decision. She just needs a little push - much like the fellow mole women needed when they were being saved. Kimmy does all she can to get Jacqueline to accept this as something that needs to happen and survive afterwards. First it comes with a surprise visit from Mimi (Amy Sedaris), Jacqueline's one divorced friend who is flourishing because of it. Turns out though that Mimi isn't doing that well at all. She is very alone and agreed to this visit just to try and steal Julian from Jacqueline. It's a complete disaster but it doesn't dissuade Kimmy from her mission.

Kimmy has to push harder to show Jacqueline that her life is worth making this change. So, she makes Jacqueline see her and Titus' apartment - which is just a hilarious sequence. This is a place that Jacqueline simply is not comfortable at. She doesn't see it as a place anyone would enjoy living. She figures it has to have an upstairs because it can't be this small and still be inhabited by two people. Kimmy wants to show off how well she is doing after deciding to take a risk and changing her life. But Jacqueline just can't get past the physical space of it all. Her only reaction to it is telling Kimmy that she needs to get serious with Logan as quickly as possible. That's not something Kimmy doesn't want but she also wants to make sure that Jacqueline is happy.

The only way for Kimmy to truly connect and bond with Jacqueline is by finally revealing the truth about her past. She unveils herself as a mole woman - which Jacqueline initially takes as the way Kimmy sees her physical appearance. In that moment though, Kimmy is vulnerable and exposing this part of her past that she didn't want defining herself. That was a bad experience for her but now she's free and living a better life. It's empowering for Jacqueline because she realizes she actually has a friend in Kimmy who actually cares about her - and not just because she pays her. So in the end, she does sign the divorce papers and feels so good because of it.

When she's not busy with Jacqueline, Kimmy is also attempting to learn math for her GED test with her new study buddy Dong. The joke of his name is used much too frequently for humor. And yet, finding the humor within cultural differences was often much more successful - hand gestures meaning something else, one Chinese word meaning several words in English, etc. It's a very beneficial relationship to both of them. She learns math and he learns how to speak English better. Sure, I'm not sure what the heck is going with the final act twist that Dong may be interested romantically in Kimmy. But I'm willing to see where it goes.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy is Bad at Math!" was written by Meredith Scardino and directed by Michael Engler.
  • Everyone could relate to that scene where Kimmy is trying to figure out the change, right?
  • I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Olsen twins actually being four people.
  • Lilian is worried that gentrification is setting its sights on their neighborhood - which makes her interactions with Jacqueline and Logan more interesting and hilarious.
  • Titus learns that being dressed as a werewolf gets him better treatment than simply being an African American man. It's an interesting premise for him that gets shortchanged a little bit by the main story.
  • Logan is from Connecticut but his parents forced him to learn British speaking instead of English.
  • Kimmy: "Has everyone dropped out? I know Fatima got deported, Jason is stuck on that missing G train and Steve Harwell is back on tour as the lead singer of Smash Mouth. He's not gonna learn English that way."
  • Dong: "Delivering Chinese food all day can be depressing. Like when people yell out "Food here" when I know they are just alone."
  • Titus: "That's how I got duped on the unaired VH3 reality program Joe Invisible Millionaire."
  • Jacqueline seeing Kimmy's neighborhood: "What happened here? Did Hurricane Katrina come back?"