The first six episodes of the fourth season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are a disjointed bunch.
The season tackles some heavy themes: the necessity of being sensitive to others’ needs and preferences; men’s entitlement, especially to women’s bodies; and what it means to be an adult.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the episodes weren’t ridiculously hilarious in a very Kimmy Schmidt kind of way. Despite some of its serious undertones, the show’s mix of zany humor, commentary on the absurdity of the mundane, and pointed cultural criticism are as potent as ever.
But there is a divide between the first three episodes of this half-season, and the more successful, more coherent final three episodes.
Recap of Episode 1: Kimmy is….Little Girl, Big City!
The first episode of the season starts right where we left our characters last season. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is now the HR rep at the start-up Giztoob. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) is attempting to become an agent and find work for Titus (Tituss Burgess), but so far it’s not going so well. And Lillian (Carol Kane) must scheme to spread the ashes of her dead boyfriend, Artie, on the land where his old summer camp was located, as it’s now an exclusive men’s club.
Kimmy is thrilled about her job but hits a wall when her boss tells her to fire one of the workers. The employee’s bad at his job, sure, but Kimmy doesn’t want to have to fire him.
So, Kimmy decides she’s going to do it in a nice, “Kimmy” way. Not surprisingly, the Kimmy way comes across as completely inappropriate and the employee accuses her of sexual harassment.
Meanwhile, Jacqueline and Titus decide that with the hundreds of TV shows around, no one will notice if they make one up for Titus to “star” in. They make a fake poster for the hit show, “The Capist” and plaster it all over town.
When Titus’s ex, Mikey sees it, he calls Titus. Titus, who’s still hung up on Mikey, uses his fake show as an excuse to ask Mikey to teach him how to do construction stuff.
Kimmy puts herself on leave as she investigates the accusations against her. After the sexual harassment complaint, the Giztoob employees told her they don’t like all her high-fiving, hugging, and nick-naming.
At first, she just thinks they don’t like fun, but then she realizes work can’t just be her personal playground. She has to be sensitive to her co-workers and their needs. Kimmy returns to work with a new perspective.
After his construction date with Mikey, Titus calls Jacqueline in a panic. He invited Mikey to The Capist’s nonexistent set.
Fortunately, Jacqueline, who’s taken up residence in an empty office at Giztoob and christened her company “White Talent,” has an idea. Greg Kinnear, the unthreatening white guy they included in The Capist’s poster, has a child that goes to her son’s old school. They invite Mikey to the school and Titus corners Kinnear during school drop-off. Titus convinces him to improvise a scene with him.
Kinnear actually has fun. He tells Titus he has a deal with YouTube Brown. He asks Titus to write a script, so they can pitch it together.
C.H.E.R.Y.L., the Giztoob robot: “Speaking of late, why did these guys program me to get a period? Men.”
Titus: “So, the hammer, that has nothing to do with ham?”
Mikey: “That’s a common misconception, but it’s actually for whapping stuff.”
Jacqueline: “This is about building a fempire!”
Titus: “Female vampire? Lose, lose.”