Saturday, January 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy and Donna Maria Have an Awkward Lunch in 'Kimmy Fights a Fire Monster!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 4.07 "Kimmy Fights a Fire Monster!"

A beefcake hits on Titus. Jacqueline enjoys attention from millennial men. Kimmy catches up with ex-mole woman, Donna Maria.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

"Kimmy Fights a Fire Monster!" was written by Lauren Gurganous & Sam Means and directed by Jaffar Mahmood

It truly is fascinating to watch as Kimmy and Donna Maria clash over the ways they wish to cope with being mole women. Across four seasons now, the audience has seen Kimmy evolve on the subject. She has wanted to keep it a secret. She has tried to avoid talking about it. Over time though, she has accepted more of the horrors that happened to her and has been willing to share them with others. That has always been a healthy emotional response. And now, she is devastated to learn that Donna Maria has frequently been in New York but hasn't reached out to her. Kimmy sees her as a friend. She's one of only three women in the world who experienced the same trauma. However, Donna Maria doesn't see that horrifying experience as a basis for friendship. She used that trauma in order to launch a successful brand for herself. It's more than just salsa now as well. She is opening a dozen restaurants and has a bestselling book. She has used this to build her fame. Kimmy is coming to the same conclusion as well with her desire to be a published author. Of course, it's silly that she is just leaving her children's book around various stores in the hopes that the young boys who need it the most will actually read it. She's not very perceptive in that way. However, all of this does spark an honest conversation between Kimmy and Donna Maria. It's a very well-done conversation that has complete respect for both of their perspectives. Plus, it still has time to laugh at the absurdity of this all. The Reverend's physical and emotional manipulation was so extreme in so many ways. And now, it leads to Kimmy and Donna Maria teaming up to fight a children's birthday party entertainer simply because he reminds them of a fire monster. That bond is still there. It could be the basis of something more. They could become more friendly in the future. However, they are also accepting that their shared trauma doesn't have to be the only thing that defines their lives either. It's a very successful main story. The two subplots featuring the rest of the ensemble are much more absurd and broad. They very easily tie into the show's overall conversation about the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. That cultural wave of change has always been a prominent part of the show because of everything that happened to Kimmy in the bunker. And now, the show is having a much more frank conversation about abuses of power and appropriate behavior by men in the world. Of course, that means that Jacqueline, Lillian and Mimi team up to spend time in a crafts store where a bunch of young guys feel free to hit on them all the time. It is freeing for a bit until it's revealed that these men are someone's son. One of them actually is Mimi's son too. It's not a very astute observation. Nor does it really add something of note to the overall conversation. However, the broad humor still somewhat works because of the performers involved. Meanwhile, it's just great to see Jon Bernthal playing a guy who cracks from having to spend time with Titus in the hopes of finding something that can destroy his life. There is nothing that can be used against him. That too can be empowering even though it's also sad. It too comes with the sense of dread that this story of sexual assault will only get worse before Titus finds any more clarity on his life and the choices he has to make.