Friday, April 22, 2016

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy's Friendship with Jacqueline Comes with Consequences in 'Kimmy Drives a Car!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 2.06 "Kimmy Drives a Car!"

Hipsters invade the neighborhood when Titus rents his apartment on Airbnb. Kimmy finally reaches her limit with Jacqueline's self-centered attitude.

This season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has done a fantastic and interesting job chipping away at how unbreakable Kimmy really is. Again, she didn't break during her time in the bunker. But now, her life is so different and she's running into a bunch of different limitations. She has approached everything with excitement and enthusiasm. She is totally the type of person who would drop whatever it is she's doing just to help Jacqueline with some meaningless and simple task. She wants to be a good friend to the people in her life. And yet, the world around her is changing. In some aspects, that change is physical. Hipsters and gentrification is coming to the neighborhood. But more importantly, Kimmy is forced to take a step back and analyze whether or not her current life choices are healthy. It's a fascinating exploration of what makes Kimmy tick as a character. There's darkness laying underneath the surface. And now, that's starting to come out.

Kimmy really values her friendship with Jacqueline. The two of them have helped each other through some difficult times. Kimmy was able to find a job and structure in New York because of Jacqueline. Meanwhile, Jacqueline could always rely on the support from Kimmy to deal with her frustrating marriage and subsequent divorce. In fact, Jacqueline has come to rely on Kimmy even more this season. But it has started to become a one-sided friendship. Kimmy does so much for Jacqueline. She's happy to do it too because she wants Jacqueline to be happy. But Jacqueline is also spreading Kimmy too thin which has some major consequences in her life. Kimmy is simply juggling too much right now. She needs to in order to continue living with Titus in the apartment. And yet, Jacqueline doesn't seem to respect that. That leads to a conflict between the two friends that is fantastic to watch in this episode.

Jacqueline has always been very pompous and self-centered. That's simply who she is. This season she doesn't have the finances to continue living the life she enjoys so much in the city. But that's not stopping her from continuing to live it. She's still in an empty apartment trying to pass it off as something much better than it is. She's putting all of her focus into launching this new charity - with a very vague main idea. But she still feels helpless about a lot of things and expects Kimmy to drop everything in order to help her. Kimmy wasn't able to do that in the previous episode so Jacqueline had to bond with Buckley in a genuine way. That was ultimately very rewarding for this family unit. But now, it seems like Jacqueline has no empathy for what Kimmy is trying to do with her life right now. Kimmy loses her job at the Christmas store because she's always missing work because she has to help Jacqueline. She loved that job. Sure, she was never actually seen working there. But it's a significant moment because it puts tension in their relationship.

Kimmy is furious that Jacqueline only thinks about herself. It's a huge accomplishment that Kimmy gets her learner's permit and is able to drive around the city. Jacqueline does that for her. But that ultimately means Kimmy has to drive Jacqueline all across town looking for a dentist to fix her broken tooth. It's a funny situation because Jacqueline keeps putting stuff in her mouth to cover up the damage. But none of it is a permanent solution. Just like their relationship. Things have changed this season between Kimmy and Jacqueline. They are friends. Kimmy doesn't work for Jacqueline. She doesn't get paid for what she does for her. And yet, she really should. She does so much which gets in the way of her being happy elsewhere in live. So, Kimmy finally explodes at Jacqueline and forces her to live life in someone else's shoes. It's a simple resolution to this story. All Jacqueline needs to do is be nice to the secretary she was mean to earlier. But it's still meaningful. Plus, the two come to a nice resolution that brings more clarity to their relationship moving forward.

Kimmy's difficulties at work also means Titus has to find a new way to make enough money to support his current lifestyle. So he decides to rent out the apartment on Airbnb in order to make a few extra bucks. It's not the sleepover Kimmy was expecting. Titus warns that they'll have to sleep at the library for a few nights - a terrifying prospect for him because he believes it's only a matter of time before the books revolt against humanity. But it's also a story deeply rooted in the hipster culture and its ties to gentrification. The face of the neighborhood is changing as Lilian pointed out earlier this season. And now, it has become an ironic hub for hipsters to experience life. That perspective is played wonderfully in this episode by Evan Jonigkeit and Girls star Zosia Mamet. They embody so much of what's ridiculous and hilarious about the hipster way of life. But it's an amusing concept with some real world complications. Lilian and Titus laugh at how annoying and weird this couple from Texas is. But they also represent a change coming to the neighborhood that could ultimate destroy all the happy memories in the place.

Lilian and Titus have lived in this neighborhood for a long time. Titus invites the hipsters to his apartment in order to make a little extra money. But what he gets is a reality check of how disruptive this change could actually be to him personally. He doesn't take Lilian seriously at all when she warns of the destruction coming for this part of town. She has had a lifetime of memories and doesn't want anyone new coming in and ruining all of it. It takes awhile for Titus to understand that as well. But eventually he realizes just how personal this neighborhood is to him as well. It welcomed him in when he had no where else to go. Sure, Lilian was crazy back then too but it was the start of a beautiful relationship brimming with possibilities. And now, Titus and Lilian have to fight to preserve that history. It's amusing to watch Titus act as the bouncer to a mysteriously placed and secretive speakeasy. But it's also enough to send the hipster couple running away because it is too much for them. Of course, that only makes the spot more popular amongst the community. So, it seems like this will be an uphill battle for Titus and Lilian. But it should be amusing and funny to watch no matter what ultimately happens.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy Drives a Car!" was written by Dan Rubin and directed by Shawn Levy.
  • Titus' job at the monster-themed restaurant has started serving breakfast. So now, he actually has to get up early - which is a surprise to Kimmy.
  • Amy Sedaris has become quite the scene stealer on this show. Her physical comedy as Mimi gets a laugh every single time. Here, the simple act of licking an envelope shut is a wonderful piece of comedy.
  • Is the launch of Jacqueline's charity going to go well or not? It's hard to say at this point. It seems destined for failure based on the minimum effort Kimmy, Jacqueline and Mimi are putting in. But it also doesn't take much to impress the rich folks Jacqueline is trying to woo with this event.
  • Kimmy is surprisingly a good driver despite never having done it before. She doesn't get into an accident. She's largely just focused on what all of Jacqueline's demands have done to her life. Plus, it even gives her a new job as an Uber driver - which has much more flexible hours for her to help Jacqueline constantly with the return payment of a car in which to drive people around in.
  • It's startling when Lilian's boyfriend, Robert Durst, shows up dressed as her. It's weird but Titus and Kimmy don't make much of it.
  • Also, Kenan Thompson shows up in flashbacks as Lilian's dead husband. Again, that's strong casting that is also very surprising.
  • Kimmy: "Ugh, not the DMV. That place is the worst. Based on my knowledge of 90s stand up comedy."
  • Titus: "Imagine that exit with a cape."
  • Kimmy: "If I get a job in the classifieds am I allowed to tell anyone?"
  • Kimmy: "Oh sure, let me get the door, your highness!"

As noted in previous reviews from this series, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.