What’s Worth Watching: Kimmy Schmidt, a Waif in the City

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Eric Liebowitz/Netflix
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Friday, March 6, Netflix)

Kimmy Schmidt just may be the luckiest girl ever. The creation of Tina Fey and her 30 Rock partner-in-the-criminally-funny Robert Carlock, Kimmy is a beaming bundle of perversely adorable gumption, winningly played by The Office gamine Ellie Kemper. First seen as a childlike escapee from a literally underground apocalypse cult—the media dub her small band of survivors the “Indiana mole women”—Kimmy refuses to play the victim card. After an appearance on Today (cue the inevitable Matt Lauer cameo, albeit with a twist), Kimmy decides to give it a go on her own in New York City, despite her cult sisters’ warning: “You have a middle school education. You won’t make it here!”

This sweetly absurdist twist on That Girl also features 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski as Kimmy’s impossibly self-absorbed high-society employer and Tituss Burgess as her flamboyant roommate, who dresses in superhero drag as a Times Square panhandler. It’s all extremely wacky, so precious in its giddy execution that if it had aired on NBC as originally planned, Kimmy would likely have faded quickly into cult oblivion on the comedy-challenged network. Enter Netflix, which acquired all 13 episodes of the first season—as is Netflix’s way, the entire batch is available for bingeing—and immediately ordered a second year, which would have been a long shot on NBC, to put it mildly. All hail Kimmy Schmidt, the luckiest It Girl on nontraditional TV.