Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 4, Part 1 recaps and review

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4, Part 1 Review

These six Kimmy Schmidt episodes include both hysterical moments and pointed commentary, some of it more successful than others. The first three episodes are more isolated and scattershot. It’s not until the last three episodes that the half-season really starts to come together.

While the premiere picks up right after the last episode of season 3, the episode feels like a one-off. The writers are speaking to our #MeToo moment with the accusation of sexual harassment against Kimmy, but the commentary doesn’t quite work, given Kimmy’s ongoing innocence and naiveté.

Instead, it comes off as a commentary on how people need to learn to be compassionate and sympathetic towards others. While that’s a valuable message and part of what #MeToo is about, it minimizes the reason that movement has taken off.

Similarly, episode two wants to comment on the meaning of white privilege but mostly falls flat. While the episode makes some good points, they seem out-of-place and don’t really land with the resonance they should.

The worst of these first three episodes is the third one, “Party Monster,” the true crime mockumentary about DJ Slizzard, AKA Kimmy’s captor, Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. Kimmy Schmidt has drawn attention in the past for its pop culture parodies. For example, last season included a meticulously crafted homage to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” featuring Titus.

Unfortunately, the mockumentary doesn’t work. First, except at the very end, none of Kimmy Schmidt‘s main characters appear in the episode. In addition, a whole episode is too long to devote to the joke of the mockumentary. The characters are stupid and ignorant, and often not in a funny way, so a half hour is too long to spend with them.

Plus, this territory was already visited with Netflix’s true crime drama parody, American Vandal. That show was both much funnier and much poignant than the Party Monster mockumentary. While the episode is the foundation for the rest of the season, it doesn’t work as an individual episode.

The back half of the half-season is when things really get going. It’s here that the show gets to say what it was starting to get at in the first episode: people need to take ownership of their lives and realize they don’t have ownership of anyone else’s. It’s a serious message but it’s punctuated with a lot of zany moments that let each character shine in all their cracked glory.

The episode in which Titus directs the school musical is an especially high point, complete with Disney references and lots of anthropomorphized soda.

The actors continue to play their roles with conviction. Their comic timing and ability to banter with one another make these characters a lot of fun to spend time with.

Kimmy continues to learn about the world and grow into adulthood with all the optimism and bright-eyed wonder we expect from her. But she’s also starting to realize that it isn’t just Richard Wayne Gary Wayne that didn’t have good intentions.

This does make it feel like Kimmy’s story may be reaching an endpoint, as the producers indicated it was.

It’ll be interesting to see how Kimmy and her friends continue to evolve when the back half of the season hits Netflix on January 25, 2019.

Did you watch the part one of Kimmy Schmidt’s fourth season? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments.