‘Kimmy Schmidt’s Final Season May Not Be the End & More Things We Learned at the Show’s Paley Event

PaleyLive NY: Kimmy Goes to the Paley Center: A Celebration of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Courtesy of The Paley Center for Media

Netflix’s quirky comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has had viewers laughing for more than 50 episodes, but as with all good things, it must come to an end.

Season 4B, which premiered January 25 on the streaming platform, serves as a six-episode goodbye to fans. And Ellie Kemper’s titular character has come a long way after being rescued from an underground bunker in Indiana in the show’s 2015 premiere.

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In the big city, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) continues to spread her positivity to those around her, from roommate Titus (Tituss Burgess) and landlord Lillian (Carol Kane) to former employer and friend Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski).

So where will this journey lead for Kimmy and crew? The stars as well as the series’ co-creators, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, provided some answers at January 24’s Paley Center panel, Kimmy Goes to the Paley Center: A Celebration of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, moderated by TV Guide Magazine Senior Writer Damian Holbrook.

“She continues her mission to make the world a better place,” Kemper tells TV Insider about her character Kimmy’s final episodes. “And I’m just gonna tell you right now,” she continues, “she is successful so it’s a really uplifting finale for all of the characters. I know for Kimmy specifically, it ends on a pretty triumphant note, which is nice.”

This news should serve as comfort for the show’s many fans, as Kimmy’s whirlwind journey has brought her in many different directions. Ultimately, a happy ending is what she’s been building up to this entire time.

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“I hope people take [away], not only a sense of optimism and hope in the future, but also that they can take things into their own hands,” Kemper continues.

And Kimmy isn’t the only one taking control of her life — Jane Krakowski notes how her character Jacqueline has also transformed over the years. “The goal was really just to get Jacqueline to not need anyone else to make a living and to stand on her own two Manolo Blahniks,” Krakowski says. “And I really do believe that they achieve that.”

The actress, who has worked with Kimmy creators Fey and Carlock since their 30 Rock days, hopes to eventually revisit these stories. “It leaves the door open for more if we are so lucky to get to have another chance to make more Kimmy Schmidt in any way shape or form,” she says of the finale.

“I only can wish and hope that there is another time that we get to work together again.”

While Carol Kane didn’t expose any spoilers about Lillian’s last leg of the journey, she did express her happiness over the show’s conclusion. “I am thrilled with where I end up, I’m thrilled… I think it’s so smart and appropriate and all of us end up in places where we need to be and should be…. It’s happy but it’s also brilliant,” she promises.

Tituss Burgess, on the other hand, isn’t so sure he knows how things turn out. “We were cross-shooting episodes. I have no idea how this thing ends…. So I’ll be watching with you guys,” he laughs. “I know that there’s a lot of tears.”

But Burgess does take with him many happy memories from the show, though his favorites don’t necessarily include Titus’ iconic musical numbers. “Being flashy can be easy,” he admits, “it’s harder to be smart and be flashy and when they write that way, it gives me a lot more to dive into.”

Creator Tina Fey offers her own perspective of where Kimmy’s journey leads, telling us, “We wanted to find the place where her childlike imagination and spirit combined with her difficult experiences, and what that unique combination gave her to give back to the world.

“I wanted to show fully how Kimmy affected the lives of the other three principle [characters] and where their lives ended up differently because Kimmy crossed paths with them,” she explains.

Despite her satisfaction over Kimmy’s final chapter, Kemper admits, “it’s sad to say goodbye.” Still, she is appreciative of the ample time they had to tell her character’s story. “I felt so lucky that we got to have the show for 52 episodes because I feel like in this day and age that is a lot,” she says.

“I don’t know that I will ever encounter a show with such a brilliant recipe — even off-screen,” Burgess state.

And the cast and crew have many great moments to look back on as they embark on new projects.

“Shooting the pilot episode in Times Square,” Fey recalls as her favorite moment from set. “It was freezing, freezing cold and we had to pretend it was spring — well, Ellie and Tituss did — and them singing “The Circle of Life” together… I felt right then and there that I knew they were a very special pairing.”

Robert Carlock’s favorite, on the other hand, includes a Friends star. “I think it was the end of Season 2 when we were shooting down in Florida with Lisa Kudrow as Kimmy’s mom. I just loved that moment,” he gushes. “That final scene between the two of them, where Kimmy just walks away knowing that this person’s not ever going to be the person [she wants] her to be and [she’s] got to deal with that. I just love that moment.”

So thanks for the memories, Kimmy Schmidt. It’s been one hell of a fudging ride!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Streaming Now, Netflix