Let’s just start with a little story. Once upon a time, there was a GREAT script, written by a very funny fairy lady named Tina Fey, ordered to series without even going to pilot stage by a not so great channel named NBC, struggling to find its next hit comedy. Thinking Ellie Kemper might become the next IT girl of TV after testing her for many years on The Office –their last hit comedy actually- they offered to her the role of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It was actually wrote for her. Enlightened by its brilliance, she just couldn’t refuse. They started to shoot the show. Everybody loved it. But there was an incy wincy itsy bisty tiny little problem: they had no confidence in their own schedule and could not find any right spot to fit it in. So they decided to do the unthinkable: they abandon their child prodigy! They gave it to a big bad wolf named Netflix. The end of this story has yet to be written but here is the moral anyway: sometimes you have to let your child go if you want him to grow. And I can promise you one thing: Kimmy Schmidt will grow beautifully without NBC.
In case you haven’t understood it yet: I LOVE Kimmy Schmidt. I love her freshness, I love her innocence, I love the boldness she does’nt even know she has, and most of all: I love the breath of life she’s kindly offering to anyone who is able to catch it. The pilot script is great, yes. But the potential series it might become is even greater! The show starts in an amazing way. Inspired by a true story, an atrocious one actually, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is kind enough to be funny right away. In one scene with a quick and quite frankly improbable twist of fate, we are witnessing the release of the five young women. They were about to celebrate Christmas by offering small handmade gifts to each other. Then they are singing funny lyrics. Yes, it is the opening credits already, a Broadway musical kind of one (I hope they sticked to this plan). Next thing you know: they are at the 30 Rock in New York. You see what they did there, right? Do I need to explain? 30 Rock. NBC. Tina Fey. Yep. Exactly.
I won’t tell you what happens in the pilot scene by scene, you’ll discover all of this soon enough, but I will say there is Matt Lauer involved, and it’s hilarious; that each girl is funny in her own way; that our leading lady is adorable from the get go, you want to her hug all the time; that justice is apparently very quick in the parallel universe they live in; that New York is still this incredible city you want to live and die in; that big black gay men are always funny; and that when you want to lose your virginity, going to a nightclub is not the best plan. At all.
The script ends with a side note from the authors where they explain what the show profoundly means for them, that “It’s the ultimate ‘starting over story “, major topics to be discussed later, the guests they would like to attract (Jane Krakowski, Bill Hader, Frances McDormand …). They even give a few examples of intrigues to come, some characters who will cross paths with Kimmy. And here is how they describe her, I find it beautiful: “She is not unlike Mary Tyler Moore or Hannah Horvath, she has just more extreme set of circumstances. She is part pure innocent but she’s also part wily survivor, like a young John McCain.”
The pilot of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the promise of an absolute charming, infinitely touching, refreshing and amusing comedy, where you can enjoy the peculiar tone of Tina Fey, with bits of Liz Lemon, references to pop culture, and all these things that made us fall in love with her. There is a great potential there to go into a new delirium each week. It doesn’t respond to any rules we are used to. And that’s probably why it feels much more like a cable show than a network one. It inspires freedom all the way. That’s unmissable TV.