After watching two seasons of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” you might be able to distill its magic.
Part of it is in the music – the Netflix series has a score that’s as lush as one you’d find on Broadway – but part of it is also in the writing.
As with their “30 Rock,” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock twist recognizable people, places and things to fit their alternate universe. A network of television reruns, for example, is called “Sad Sack TV.” A job on Broadway finds James Monroe Iglehart getting down on his knees and playing a character in “Matilda” when kids have a day off.
That skewed thinking keeps a one-note premise humming, particularly since Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is much more than a kidnapping survivor. She’s an untapped well, just waiting to experience life.
In the first two seasons, we saw how she coped after she was released from the underground bunker of Reverent Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm).
Now, in the third, she’s armed with a G.E.D. and, interestingly, a sense of power. Wayne, apparently, has found a new love and wants a divorce.
Thanks to advice from her once-rich friend Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), Kimmy is holding firm and seeing if she can get something out of the situation. She’s confronted by Wayne’s attorney (who also has her own screwed-up situation) and given some options.
Best roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), meanwhile, has had it with his cruise ship experience and, now, wants a gig somewhere else. He lights on the idea of a role on “Sesame Street” and that’s where Iglehart comes in.
Fey and Carlock constantly keep audience members on their toes, thrusting ideas that sound so wacky they’d never work. And yet they do.
Carol Kane (as Kimmy and Titus’ landlady) is as comfortable here as she was on “Taxi,” another series built on quirk.
Amy Sedaris has a niche as well as Jacqueline’s society friend (think: Elaine Stritch) and Krakowski is practically perfect as the woman who will do anything to regain status.
Jacqueline stirs many pots, all of them just above simmer. She has her own heritage battles which could spark conversations that comment on everything we see in politics today.
Set to Jeff Richmond’s infectious musical beat, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” seems stronger and cooler than a Yeti.
It hasn’t begun to show its seams – yet – but it does know how to make half-hour television intriguing in a social media world.
Kemper shows more pluck in Season Three and Hamm really seems comfortable in a comedy world.
Binge this weekend and you’ll get what we mean. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is durable, more than anything.