It is officially the end of an era as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wraps up its final season becoming one of Netflix’s longest running original sitcoms.
While this season was split into two halves (read our first half review here), the first group of episodes focused on the Me Too movement, representation and abuse with particular attention to the current climate of the entertainment industry. With only six episodes in this final half-season, how much more could these characters dive down the rabbit hole and not end on a happy note?
The main story of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season four revolves around Kimmy Schmidt’s (Ellie Kemper) desire to fix the world’s toxic masculinity one children’s book at a time while trying to help Titus (Tituss Burgess) come to terms with his own sexual harassment situation. Meanwhile, Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Lillian (Carol Kane) learn that the issues with sexual harassment are multi-generational as they try to figure out how to navigate this new world.
The first half of this season looked at the topical issues of workplace abuse and sexual harassment as these characters learned the realities of the harsh world they lived in, but the cliffhanger ended on a very mysterious message as these people were being watched by some ominous figure. However, the cliffhanger never really panned out as the awkward split of this season into two halves created a very lukewarm return. The story picked back up halfway through the characters’ arcs which caused the first few episodes to be more of a catch up with what was going on making it difficult to really invest in the stories. This problem was also seen through the change in atmosphere of the show.
This show was always so successful due to its ensemble as each character had their own story to tell. However, these last six episodes are predominantly focused on two characters: Kimmy and Titus, as they explore the truths of the world around them. It was always evident that these two characters were the co-protagonists of the series, but they still allowed the secondary characters to have their own moments throughout. It feels like in these episodes that characters like Jacqueline and Lillian have become filler to help these two on their journeys. This downplays the importance of the ensemble, especially when the show is coming to an end.
What works is the way this show tackles the serious topics it makes commentary on by throwing them into the wacky world of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The stalker who finds his job is harder than years in the army, the stigmatization of victims and a puppet accused of sexual harassment are just a few of the storylines that somehow make their way into this half-season showing how absurd they may sound on paper, but how easily they fit into this world. And this of course all works thanks to the fantastic performance of Ellie Kemper.
No one else could have played this role as perfectly as Kemper as she manages to be the beacon of optimism and innocence in a world ravaged by narcissism and impurity. The depth of this character from her naivety to her surprising profound intelligence could have easily been overacted, but Kemper manages to bring the trauma of this character’s past into her journey of self-discovery making for a thoroughly entertaining character whose journey is more relatable than we may originally suspect. If there is one thing to miss about this series ending, Kimmy Schmidt would be it.
This half-season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes the serious themes of the first eight episodes and decides to play them as close to the real headlines as possible. While it isn’t the strongest season of this show as it diverts away from the success of its kooky ensemble cast, the ability to mix serious discussion about the state of the entertainment industry with the silliness of these characters gives plenty to say while still having the dark jokes expected of this show’s stories. From its look at society’s current problems to the way they translate to this wacky world, this season is a satisfying end to these characters’ stories so I’m going to say it’s worth the watch.
The second half of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s season four is available on Netflix on January 25th.
What did you think of the final season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Let me know in the comments!
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