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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Spoiler-Free) Review

Netflix’s ray of sunshine, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, returns to the streaming site this Friday, May 19th for its 13-episode third season. And, having seen the first six episodes of the latest batch, I can tell you that if you enjoyed the previous two seasons of the series, you’ll like this one. The first six episodes are good, but not great (as has been the case with past seasons, I suspect the show will kick into a higher gear with the back half of the season), and I found myself laughing and engaged throughout the various hi-jinx Kimmy, Titus, Lillian, and Jacqueline get up to. Here are a few things you have to look forward to in your upcoming binge watch:

Different Character Pairings Than In Past Seasons

Over the past two seasons, the show has relief heavily on Kimmy being the linchpin for the supporting characters’ appearances on the show. Kimmy’s relationships were front and center, and it was rare to have the other characters appear in more than one or two scenes without Kimmy there to play off of (the exception being Titus, who was given more chances to really break out of that mold). In season three, Kimmy spends significantly more time on her own, away from Titus, Jacqueline, and Lillian. It allows her to continue to grow as a character and it helps expand the world of the series. But it also allows the show to come up with some fun pairing and storylines for the other main cast members.

Kimmy gets to spend significant time alongside Xanthippe Voorhees (Jacqueline’s step-daughter), who is her fellow classmate in college. The pairing is even better now that Xanth is an adult and floundering to fit in with people she actually wants to be friends with- something Kimmy seems to have great ease doing, much to Xanth’s dismay. However, the piece de resistance of it all is the pairing of Jacqueline and Titus, which is the highlight of the opening six episodes. It’s a sequence I never saw coming, and it brilliantly dovetails into Jacqueline’s overall season arc (which is surprisingly far less self-absorbed than the Jacqueline of the past).

Lillian Gets A Real Arc

Carol Kane is a comedy legend, and she has been criminally underused throughout the first two seasons of the show. Sure, her random storyline with Robert Blake (Fred Armisen, who is back and just as funny this year) was great, but Lillian tended to be a background character who would pop in and out of the story without any real rhyme or reason. This time around, Lillian gets an arc that takes her away from the other main characters (although they flit in and out of the storyline as needed), and it allows use to actually get to spend time with her as a multidimensional character. It is great to get the chance to see what Kane is capable of, and to get to spend more time with quirky Lillian.

Great Guest Stars

Yes, we all know that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has had some great guest stars. And your favorites will be back in season three: Jon Hamm as the Reverend, Armisen’s Robert Blake, Josh Charles as Duke Snyder, David Cross as Russ Snyder, and Amy Sedaris as Mimi Kanasis. But season three has a number of fun appearances, with Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) being the early standout as a fellow college student who has heaps of chemistry with Kimmy. No sign of Tina Fey this season, which is a shame, but who knows what will happen in the back half of the season.

 

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • Interesting storylines
  • Chance for Carol Kane to shine
  • Titus's musical numbers
Cons
  • Season seems a tad slow

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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