Came home from work today feeling a little poorly. Brought the duvet down and just had enough strength to gather chocolate (that I swore I wouldn’t eat), cake (one piece left), biscuits (don’t usually have them in the house precisely because of moments just like this) and toast (why does Gabriel keep buying bread? He’s knows I’ll only eat it…). So, sugar, carbs and fat fest now assembled, I flopped on the sofa to watch another episode of ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix to make me feel better.
Or, at least, that was the plan. Instead, I ended up playing at least 5 episodes of ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’. Drawn to it after having read an article on fashion (don’t judge me) that very morning where the journalist had herself only just seen it and clearly couldn’t stop herself from writing about it. It had to be good.
And it was. Hugely entertaining, strangely uplifting, visually ‘jolly’. It also disarmed me with its seeming simplicity which at times made it look like a children’s programme (the closing credits in pretty complimentary colours and the happy clothes Kimmy wears reinforce this feeling).
As I chomped and chuckled my way back to health it even occurred to me that it had elements in common with Nancy Mitford’s ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ (so you might need to think about this one…to explain, I’d gone to a book group the night before where everyone – apart from me – thought it inconsequential and irritatingly fluffy. All that wittily written prose and satirical comment. What’s wrong with them?).
So, ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’! From the outset the dialogue was sparklingly memorable. Kimmy’s gay best friend – ‘beef jerky in a ballgown’ – has a particularly memorable turn of phrase delivered in high camp. And you just love him when he tells you about the metaphor that sums up his entire life – ‘that gold tooth I tried to pawn turned out to be just very yellow’.
Then there ‘s Kimmy’s employer, Jacqueline. I loved her the most. Her character in the style of rich American ‘housewives of…’ made me guffaw with its knife-like observations cutting into the skinny dried out hearts of their lifeless worlds.
She is vain and superficial – ‘I just texted his assistant Ronda. Don’t worry, fat’. Pretentious – her handbag dog is called ‘Abattoir’. And has the I can buy ANYTHING mentality of the super-rich. No dog poo from Abattoir – oh no. ‘They bred that out…his anus is purely decorative.’
As for our heroine, Kimmy, the ever-smiling, red-headed, yellow-cardiganed heroine with the flashing sneakers, I expected to see her leave trails of pixie dust in her wake ( although I did see her footwear transformed into glittering Cinderella shoes…) Dazzlingly colourful, virtuous and innocent, Kimmy is perhaps an unlikely heroine of our time but it’s because of her very naivety that we get to see what’s wrong with society. As for her back story, it is ridiculous. Brace yourselves…
Kimmy has recently been rescued from a bunker where she’s been kept captive by the very charismatic (oh the scenes in the courtroom are exquisite!) Rev Ralph for fifteen years. Rev Ralph is played by the that King of all Mad Men, Don Draper. Sounds like a hard one to sell. But it works.
Yet more surprising still is that Kimmy’s very goodness and desire to help others is effective. An unlikely inspirational character, this series made me laugh at its wit and smile at its humanity. It’s like ‘Friends’ but with a moral purpose (loved the scene in Central Park), sending up modern celebrity mania and the pursuit of wealth over virtue ( don’t get me started on Dong!).
I’d better stop now – before I reveal too much. Can’t wait to carry on watching it tomorrow.
‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ in on Netflix which means you can watch it whenever you like!