Kimmy Schmidt: The Eternal Optimist

Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt in "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Please note that this is not a family program.  The show deals with some adult themes of contemporary city life, but there are aspects of grace which deserve note.  The thing that really drew me to this series was this sense of “Whatever goes wrong for us in our lives, things will always work out.”  This attitude really drew me to Tina Fey’s new series on Netflix: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,  a tongue-firmly-planted-in-check spoof that seems to have been ripped out to recent headlines.

In the series backstory, Kimmy (played by Ellie Kemper), along with three other teen women and a Hispanic maid, was abducted and held in a bunker for fifteen years by an apocalyptic abductor who told them that the earth had been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. The series starts with their rescue and Kimmy’s subsequent move to New York City.

Season one shows her adjustment to the real world, as Kimmy, who only has an eighth grade education, tries to make a life for herself in the big city. Helping her to reintegrate are her African-American roommate (Emmy nominated Tituss Burgess) and her crazy landlady (Carol Kane). Kimmy ends up working as a nanny for a rich family with an absent father and a neurotic, self-absorbed mother who is played to perfection by Jane Krakowsky (also nominated for an Emmy).

For fifteen years, she helped her bunker mates cope with life underground.   She takes this internal strength with her to New York.  Kimmy is the eternal optimist, and with a contagious zeal for life that reinvigorates all the disaffected people around her and forces people to appreciate who they really are and what they are capable of doing. She is life giving and lifesaving.  She sees the Big Apple through the eyes of a young girl and gravitates towards the good in people, helping them find that good within themselves.

Jesus said that we should all have the faith of a child (Matthew 18:2-5). People often question why bad things happen to them and what to do with their lives once these bad things occur. You can be angry and curse the darkness or you can try to move on with your life. Kimmy does the latter. This childlike wonder allows her to move past what has happened and get on with her life. Regardless of what has happened in the past, she truly believes that people are generally good. She does not let what happened define who she will be. She is truly “unbreakable.”