R29 Binge Club: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2, Episodes 1-13

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The first season of Netflix's addictive Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt proved two things many times over: "They alive, dammit," and "females are strong as hell." When we last saw Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), she was throwing the book at Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) — figuratively speaking — by finally getting vengeance for herself and the other women he kidnapped and kept in a bunker for 15 years.
Now, the question remains, of course, how will Kimmy's identity continue to evolve as she moves farther and farther away from her old life as a "mole woman?" Will she become even sunnier? How will Titus (Tituss Burgess), Lillian (Carol Kane), and Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) factor into Kimmy's life? Rather, how will Kimmy factor into their lives, because sometimes, she winds up being more of a secondary character in their stories?
With all those important questions posed, let's dive right into season 2. Well, actually, I have one more very important question: Can we please get more songs and plot details from guaranteed Tony contender Daddy's Boy? Grab yourself a glass of Peeno Noir (which you can now do IRL thanks to Tituss Burgess' new Pinot by Tituss) and let's get watching.
Season 2, Episode 1: "Kimmy Goes Roller Skating"
It's Christmas in the apartment and, as you can imagine, Kimmy loves Christmas. Why? You put lights outside and bring trees inside. It's madness! Anyway, Kimmy is jazzed about celebrating the holiday, as is Titus, who plants a big kiss on the man dressed as Santa Claus who bursts through the door bearing a sack full of what we do not yet know. Kimmy has stockings hanging for herself, Lillian, Titus, Mimi (Amy Sedaris) — who is passed out on the couch — and Murasaki.
"Murasaki doesn't do Christmas," Titus notes, perhaps the first clue that we're not quite up to speed, because we have no idea who Murasaki is. I'm sure we'll find out this season.
Kimmy's next speech about why she loves the holiday is interrupted by a persistent burping problem, which Kemper said in an interview plays a role in this season. (Yes, burping.) She's also interrupted by Jacqueline, who bursts through the door and announces, "The Jews took my painting!" Then, Sonja (Suzan Perry) bursts through the window (Kimmy and Titus' apartment really seems to lend itself to break-ins, doesn't it?), calls Kimmy a ho, and follows up with, "I'm gonna kill you!"
Finally, we get our sign that this cold open is taking place in the future, courtesy of the words "three months earlier," plus Titus telling us, "Three months earlier on this mess."
Kimmy is on a date with Dong! Except it's not Dong (Ki Hong Lee). He's in a green-card marriage with Sonja from their GED class. She's actually on a date with an annoying vegan, fantasizing about Dong. Later, she tells Lillian that the date was terrible, and not just because she couldn't stop thinking about Dong. Lillian is still hung up on her ex, who happens to be "Bobby Durst," too. You might know him better as Robert Durst, the alleged murderer and subject of HBO's The Jinx. He's being played here by Fred Armisen. He would be Lillian's ex. Kimmy and Lillian decide to move on from their exes together.
The only problem is that Lillian and Kimmy keep bumping into Dong and Bobby. Kimmy and Dong are both buying a box of silverfish poison at the Grim Dollar Store. In what becomes a recurring joke, Dong reveals that his English is improving because he's been watching a lot of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Everyone keeps realizing that they seem to know a lot more about the Kardashians than they're even conscious of.
"I've never seen their show. I just know that Kim is a butt star and married a rapper who hates college. And Kourtney finally ended her destructive relationship with Scott. Meanwhile, Kim's firing back at the haters with a naked pregnancy selfie. Wait, how do I know all this? I saw it on the regular news, duh," Kimmy says while she and Dong are rollerskating. Apparently, it takes a person who just emerged from a bunker to point out that Kardashian information is now on the regular news and we've all just let it happen.
Kimmy can't handle spending all this time with Dong, though. She realizes there are all these gray areas in life and she's the only one who's not taking advantage of them. She wants to be with Dong, even though she's "from the Midwest" and "believes in the sanctity of marriage" — his marriage is just a sham. She also knows Dong can get deported if the INS finds out that his is just a green-card marriage, though.
In the end, Dong's the one who puts the kibosh on his and Kimmy's sizzling chemistry. He says he and Kimmy can no longer see each other, lest they get swept away by the magic of rollerskating and all the dead silverfish falling around them in the bathroom of his apartment (only in the demented world of Kimmy Schmidt is this funny). Kimmy is devastated, but she does start to believe in love and a possible reconciliation later in the episode, thanks to Titus.
When we last saw Titus, Vonda (Pernell Walker), the woman he dumped midway through their wedding party — right before they did their carefully choreographed dance — had finally tracked him down. He's trying to avoid her by running away yet again. Kimmy thinks that the way through this mess is to talk to Vonda, so she takes her out for ice cream, hoping that she can convince Vonda to make amends with Titus.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper
Kimmy's in for a rude awakening, though. Vonda convinces Kimmy that Titus hasn't changed; he's merely replaced Vonda with Kimmy. He finds people to clean up his messes; once he's done with them, "He will leave you with an unpaid dental bill and a refrigerator full of spoiled wedding shrimp. Watch your back," Vonda warns.
Unfortunately, Vonda doesn't have a leg to stand on here in terms of asking for any sort of legal or financial compensation from Titus (who, back then, went by his birth name of Ronald Wilkerson). She had Ronald declared legally dead in 2008 and collected his social security earnings and the money from an insurance policy he took out on his legs. Vonda might actually owe Titus about $500. Kimmy cares more about the fact that he's bailed on many other people besides Vonda over the years. She needs to know that he can tie up these loose ends with Vonda and that he won't run off on her once she's of no use to him anymore.
Jacqueline is still going by her birth name of Jackie Lynn and trying to reconnect with her Native American family. She's doing the opposite of helping every time she tries to assist with anything. This plot line continues to be troubling, and now it's not just because Jane Krakowski — a white woman — is playing a Native American character. This episode incorporates stereotypes of Native American culture into the story, so Jacqueline's eventual return to New York City can't come soon enough. The less that's said about her time back with her family, the better.
Okay fine, there is one funny joke. Before she heads back to New York, she tells her parents that she feels like the Rob Kardashian of their family. "The sock designer? Wait, how do I know that?" her mother asks. Seriously, how do we ALL know that? Anyway, Jackie Lynn/Jacqueline is headed back to New York City.
The episode ends with a happy reunion between Vonda and Titus on the Amtrak platform, which apparently isn't an actual place where trains leave on time. "You think we're a train company? We run late on purpose so people can find each other in romantical fashion. Amtrak is for lovers," a conductor tells Kimmy while beautiful kisses happen all around her.
Titus is there to ask for Vonda's forgiveness. "I was afraid to hear how much I hurt you. But if you'll have me, I'd like to be your friend...but without benefits," he says. He pays her back with the wedding coat he walked off with and the two finally perform their specially choreographed wedding dance. It's magical. Everyone on platform B thoroughly enjoys it.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper and Doug Plaut
Season 2, Episode 2: "Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!"
Kimmy gets a job at a year-round Christmas store, which 100% fits in with her personality. Is there anyone in this life — real or fictional — who would be more into the idea of celebrating the joy of Christmas 365 days a year than Kimmy Schmidt? Besides Santa Claus, who I'm pretty sure is fictional (I'm Jewish, so someone please confirm this for me), Kimmy is probably patient zero for spreading Christmas cheer.
We don't get to see a lot of Kimmy's new work life in this episode, though. I think her job at the Christmas store will come into play later, although it's introduced here so that we get to see her in an elf costume, implying that she's there to help every other character in some other way. Kimmy spends this episode wondering if she's a good person because Xanthippe (Dylan Gelula) accuses her of ruining her life and taking away Xan's home. This sends Kimmy into a downward spiral, making her wonder if she's Xan's version of the Reverend, who kept her locked in a bunker for 15 years. In Kimmy's eternally optimistic mind, she actually worries that the two might be on equal footing in terms of total life ruination.
Luckily, Jacqueline is back to convince Kimmy that she's not a bad person at all. Unfortunately, Jacqueline makes Kimmy prove this by treating Kimmy like a personal assistant, which is especially rude because we later learn that she doesn't plan to pay Kimmy for her services. In Jacqueline's eyes, Kimmy is helping her get back on her feet out of the goodness of her own heart.
Kimmy actually goes so far as to cut back on shifts at the Christmas store to help Jacqueline return to her trophy-wife status (well, not quite a trophy wife — Jacqueline has decided that she wants to "lose the jerk but keep the perks," a.k.a. the money and position among New York socialites). I know Lillian is really loose when it comes to collecting rent from Titus and Kimmy, but surely someone in their apartment needs to have a steady enough income stream to continue living there? It makes me nervous to watch as a New York City resident.
Jacqueline has zeroed in on Deirdre Robespierre (Anna Camp), the queen bee of the mothers at Buckley's (Tanner Flood) school, as her way back into the fold. She knows that Robespierre is onto the fact that Jacqueline only got $12 million in her divorce from Julian Voorhees (Mark Harelik), though. I know; the horror of only having $12 million to your name. Can you even imagine having to scrimp by on such pennies?
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Anna Camp and Jane Krakowski
Jacqueline and Kimmy spend the rest of the episode coming up with ways to pretend that Jacqueline isn't living with Kimmy and Titus (she pretends she's staying in a hotel suite so enormous she needs a monkey butler to show her around) so that Deirdre won't find out how "destitute" Jacqueline has been left from her divorce. This consists of taking Buckley and Owen R. (Deirdre's son) on an "adventure date" playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the actual sewers so that Deirdre can't see where Jacqueline is really living, and Jacqueline buying a Mondrian painting for $11.5 million at an auction to show Deirdre that, "She must have taken Julian for all he's worth."
Now, Jacqueline only has $500,000 on which to live, so we'll see how that plays out in future episodes. She does have an expensive painting, though. Maybe she can sell it for a profit? Although given how she barged in during the opening of the first episode exclaiming, "The Jews took my painting!," I'm not sure the future bodes well for Jacqueline holding onto this expensive work of art.
Over in Titus and Lillian's b-story, Titus has decided to clean out his closet. Not Eminem-style, just regular spring cleaning-style, because he's got way too much stuff and the poor structure finally succumbed to all the physical pressure. Kimmy convinces Titus to donate the pieces he no longer wears to Goodwill, where she found a lot of her clothing growing up. It's a struggle for Titus to figure out what he'll never wear again, but he's eventually able to find a few rejects with Lillian's help.
Once he gets to Goodwill, however, Titus realizes that his clothes won't find the proper owners. Even millennial hipsters aren't interested in his amazingly vast wardrobe. They're merely there to ironically purchase some items for an improv performance. Titus takes his clothes back and throws them in a dumpster.
There, they're found by a character from last season you probably never thought would show up again: the construction worker who catcalled Titus. His name is Mikey (Mike Carlsen) and he seems pretty great. He's not out to his coworkers, though, and he has to do things to keep up appearances as a heterosexual. He goes to the strip club. He airbrushed a hot chick on his truck (Tilda Swinton, the best visual gag of the episode). Sometimes, he tries to snazz things up with a plaid shirt, but his coworkers razz him. "How's it going, Mr. Shirt?," they ask.
Mikey thinks it's a sign that he and Titus ran into each other again and that he found Titus' clothes in the dumpster. After some convincing, Titus agrees to go out with him. Mikey is totally the guy in the Santa Claus costume in the opening of the first episode, right? Titus likes him, hey Mikey!
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, and Ellie Kemper
Season 2, Episode 3: "Kimmy Goes to a Play!"
Gentrification is coming to Kimmy, Titus, and Lillian's neighborhood. The first sign? A performing arts space. Kimmy convinces Titus that he should put on a one-man show, which he decides will tell the story of one of his past lives as Murasaki, a Japanese woman.
Lillian isn't too thrilled about the encroaching arrival of cold-press juiceries, yoga studios, and spin-your-own yarn storytelling and weaving studios (she doesn't list all of those places, but I'm sure all they all exist somewhere in Brooklyn). At the beginning of the episode, she bemoans how long it takes for new graffiti to appear on a wall that's recently been painted over.
When she finally sees one that she thinks reads "F10-5," Lillian is thrilled because she thinks there's a new gang in town. It turns out it's just someone painting "Fios" on various walls to let Verizon know where to lay cable. That's how you know a neighborhood is really getting gentrified. The performance spaces and organic kale co-ops might be a huge red flag, but it's the fiberoptic cable that truly signals the end of days.
Titus' decision to make use of the performance space to stage a show ("Kimono You Didn't") in which he plays a Japanese woman sparks the ire of an internet forum that advocates for the Respectful Asian Portrayals in Entertainment — so that acronym, in case you don't catch it, is R.A.P.E. This reeks of Tina Fey responding to all the years of internet scrutiny to which she's been subjected at the hands of anonymous commenters. She took it on in 30 Rock in the episode "TGS Hates Women" and she's doing it again here.
Somehow, Titus is able to win over the members of R.A.P.E. with his performance as Murasaki. He brings them to tears. "What do we do now that we're not offended?" one of the formerly angry R.A.P.E. members asks. Once she realizes she's no longer full of rage directed at someone else, she's beamed up to heaven. And scene.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess
Over in Jacqueline land, she's still abusing Kimmy in the form of constantly relying on her for help and not paying her. There's a society wedding happening and Jacqueline's former husband is going with his new flame. Jacqueline and her friend, Mimi Kanasis, decide that they're going to find themselves new rich men to date and have escort them to the wedding, but they've been blackballed by Julian's friends and colleagues.
In what Jacqueline thinks is a brilliant strategic move, she decides to have someone who's the complete opposite of Julian escort her to the wedding: a young boy toy (her dog's masseur, who also happens to be an aspiring DJ). That plan also falls through when she realizes that she's been treating Douglas the masseur no better than she would a dog, though, so Jacqueline decides to go to the wedding alone.
It's a pretty ballsy move and Mimi won't even acknowledge Jacqueline when she shows up at the affair — nor will the rest of the obnoxious guests. Jacqueline decides to toughen up (good for her; going to a wedding stag is hard when you know your ex is going to be there with his new partner). Right when she does, however, Kimmy arrives to commend her for not taking Douglas to the wedding. All of the guests think that Kimmy is Jacqueline's lesbian lover and they congratulate her on her being the belle of the ball.
Season 2, Episode 4: “Kimmy Kidnaps Gretchen!”
It’s Titus’ first date with Mikey! They go to a club called SCOTUS, where they fail to get in when Mikey can’t dance in a way the bouncer likes. It turns out Titus and Mikey have a lot more in common than Titus thinks, though. They both love The Lion King. If you recall, Titus moved to New York to audition for The Lion King on Broadway. It’s Mikey’s favorite movie, play, T-shirt, and sleeping bag, ever. He loves Timon and Pumbaa’s relationship. Titus and Mikey have an adorable moment involving a gyro and a sneeze (a “feeze,” a.k.a. food sneeze), and their beautiful love is cemented.
Unfortunately, Titus gets scared of the feelings he’s feeling for Mikey, and he tries to do a runner. Well, he makes Mikey do a runner. He sends him packing at 2 a.m. after refusing to sleep with him (which he would normally do). Lillian knows this is a sign that Titus really likes Mikey, so she heads down to the construction site where Mikey works to try to convince him to pursue Titus, despite his running.
It takes some convincing on both their parts. Titus seems to think that it’s going to take a lot of work to turn Mikey into an out-and-proud gay man, but Mikey thinks Titus needs work, too. It’s nice to have Mikey point out a few of Titus’ flaws, since we’re so used to seeing Titus as this overly confident character who always gets to be right and have the last word. When they finally admit that they like each other and kiss, it feels like an agreeable compromise has been reached. Over in Kimmy-ville, I’m still confused by the fact that Kimmy has a smartphone, but she still goes to the library every time she has to go on the internet or wants to check her email. Maybe she doesn’t have a data plan? Why doesn’t she just get a flip phone like Mikey, then? Anyway, Kimmy heads to the library after she gets a call from Cyndee (Sara Chase), her former bunker-mate. Cyndee sends her a video about the Church of Cosmetology (an obvious knock at the Church of Scientology), which was founded by Clint Flagstaff. Gretchen (Lauren Adams), another woman who was in the bunker with them, is in the video. Kimmy can’t believe that after everything they went through in the bunker, Gretchen would join another cult. Gretchen is extremely susceptible to mind control and false prophets, it seems. After she got out of the bunker, she worked at the Apple Store. She loved that she got to wear a uniform and report to a glass cube every day. She gave the geniuses at the Apple Store all of her money in exchange for an Apple watch, but she got “excommunicated” for eating her coworker’s yogurt. In a really funny line from Kimmy, we also learn that Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne tried to convince the women he trapped in the bunker that he came up with the “Buy the World a Coke” commercial, a nice wink to Jon Hamm’s Mad Men character. Gretchen now believes that the founder of the Church of Cosmetology is her new prophet, so Kimmy takes her on a Choose Your Own Adventure to try to convince her that there’s a life outside mind-control organizations and that making your own decisions is fun. Unfortunately, Gretchen really needs someone else to be the boss of her. Before the bunker, there was Coach Sergei, her gymnastics instructor. She’s never been capable of making her own decisions. “There are those of us who lead, and those who follow,” Gretchen concludes. She makes a whole speech about being a sheep in someone’s flock. Kimmy ingeniously records Gretchen making this declaration, puts it through a Frasier speech modifier, and then plays it back to Gretchen. She helps Gretchen realize that she really will follow anyone who prophesizes, even if that prophet is herself. The episode ends with Gretchen leading her own flock onto a bus. I hope episode 5 is actually about Kimmy doing something to advance her own plotline and not just someone else’s story.
Season 2, Episode 5: “Kimmy Gives Up!”
Jacqueline is preparing for the Americans for Turtle Island Charity fundraiser, but she has no one to watch Buckley. He’s off from school because it’s Rupert Murdoch’s birthday. She has to take Buckley to a doctor’s appointment, where she learns that he has a behavioral problem. Not one that requires actual parenting (god forbid), but one for which the doctor recommends Buckley take Dyziplen, which treats — among other things — “Kanye West spectrum disorder.” Jacqueline is resistant to the idea of giving her son drugs.
The more time Jacqueline spends with Buckley, the more he tries her patience with his hyperactivity. Finally, Jacqueline caves and gives Buckley some Dyziplen. She takes him to the park and every child there is on the drug. They’re all complete zombies. It turns out Dyziplen eats joy. Kimmy questions Jacqueline giving it to Buckley, so Jacqueline takes some herself. When people come by with racks of dresses for her to try on for the fundraiser, she can’t see them as anything besides shapeless burlap shifts. When she wakes up from her Dyziplen haze, Jacqueline discovers that she picked an outfit with a peplum top and crepe palazzo pants. She decides to throw out the pills, saying goodbye to her zombified, obedient son along with them. Jacqueline doesn’t need pills to bond with her son, though. When she goes to a store to find a new outfit for the gala, the sales clerk insults her by asking if she needs a size 8 or 10. Jacqueline sics Buckley on the store, and together, they destroy the displays. In Kimmy’s plotline, she wants to take her GED exam, but she missed the letter about registration. She also has Dong’s letter, which she thinks she can drop off without any complications. When she gets to Dong’s apartment, he’s worried because someone from the INS is coming by to investigate the legitimacy of their relationship. All they have to prove its validity is a photograph taken at their wedding ceremony. Since she can’t help but insert herself into Dong’s relationship (making herself completely miserable in the process), Kimmy sets out to help Dong and Sonja prove that their marriage is real. She has them pose in front of a rotating billboard to make it seem like they took a Hawaiian vacation and went to Aspen. She even makes them a scrapbook of said vacations. By the time Dong and Sonja put Kimmy’s scrapbook in front of the INS officer, she can’t help but think their love is real.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper
Unfortunately, Kimmy realizes that her love for Dong is equally real in the process. She also spends so much time helping him that she sleeps through her GED, obviously failing the exam. Plus, Dong tells Kimmy once again that he has to stop spending so much time with her. We watch the whole rigamarole Kimmy goes through in the first episode of trying to spend time with Dong, only to end up heartbroken, realizing that she really, really needs to move on. The episode ends with her putting money in a jar earmarked for taking the GED again. We also see a final shot of Dong holding Kimmy’s blue scrunchie that she’s mysteriously missing, though, so maybe there’s hope for these two, after all. Meanwhile, Titus is extremely happy because of his new relationship with Mikey. He can’t stop singing songs from Daddy’s Boy (yes!!!) to Lillian. He won’t admit it’s because of his new relationship — or even that he’s happy — though, because he’s afraid to jinx it. Basically, this episode slash c-story is an excuse for us to hear the dulcet pipes of Tituss Burgess combined with the musical prowess of Jeff Richmond, and I’m not complaining.
Season 2, Episode 6: “Kimmy Drives a Car!”
Jacqueline’s abuse of Kimmy and Lillian’s war against gentrification finally comes to a head in this episode, so let’s take them one at a time, shall we?
First up: Jacqueline and Kimmy. Kimmy keeps dropping everything she’s doing to be at Jacqueline’s beck and call, including her responsibilities at the Christmas store. One benefit though: Jacqueline needs Kimmy to purchase alcohol for a benefit. Kimmy doesn’t have an ID, so Jacqueline tells her to go to the DMV. Kimmy tries to go during her lunch hour, which, of course, results in yet another strike against her at the store. All of these strikes add up to Kimmy losing her job, but she does get her learner’s permit. At the end of the episode, Kimmy ends up becoming an Uber driver. I hope being an Uber driver requires a full-blown driver’s license and Kimmy Schmidt is taking some creative liberties here.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Jane Krakowski and Ellie Kemper
Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Kimmy keeps shirking all other duties — her job, Titus, etc. — whenever Jacqueline calls. When Jacqueline breaks her tooth on a biscotti and starts acting incredibly rude towards Kimmy, her abuse and lack of gratitude becomes too much for Kimmy to tolerate. Kimmy abandons Jacqueline, making her realize how cold and lonely the world can be when you don’t have an eternally optimistic person constantly at your side and willing to do your bidding. Jacqueline also realizes the benefits to being nice to people when she donates an expensive pair of Louboutins to the receptionist at her old dentist, with whom she couldn’t get an appointment. Suddenly, she not only gets in to get her tooth fixed, she’s allowed to pay for the appointment using her ex-husband’s insurance. In the end, Jacqueline comes crawling back to Kimmy, apologizing for her rudeness. I’m glad that situation finally came to a head, because it was getting out of control. Plus, it was stressing me out to see Kimmy losing income. She and Titus need their Columbia House tapes — the Wayne’s World soundtrack is coming this week! Since Kimmy’s clearly failing at keeping a steady job, Titus decides to list their apartment on Airbnb. Lillian doesn’t like this idea one bit. She knows who uses Airbnb: hipsters. And she knows what hipsters represent: gentrification, her mortal enemy. Lillian is against gentrification because it pushed out the restaurant where her dearly departed husband asked her to marry him. Titus thinks gentrification is a good thing, because it means that he and Kimmy can get money for someone else to stay in their apartment. Plus, he doesn’t have those types of fond memories for any places in their neighborhood — or so he thinks.
Bob and Sue (Evan Jonigkeit and Zosia Mamet), a couple from Austin, TX, who are exactly what you would expect, rent Kimmy and Titus’ apartment. They want to buy Mabel’s Soul Food restaurant and turn it into Sole Food, “an artisanal, fair-trade sneaker experience.” Lillian isn’t having it for one minute. Finally, Titus sees her point. He realizes that the place where he first met Lillian has been turned into a vape shop and all of the halcyon memories he associated with it are gone. He sets up a fake velvet rope that makes it seem like there’s an impossible-to-get-into speakeasy in the back of Mabel’s and all the hipsters line up trying to guess the password. It’d be hilarious if it didn’t happen on the reg in Brooklyn. Have Titus and Lillian stopped gentrification? Maybe for one more day. They may have saved Mabel’s from becoming a fair-trade sneaker store, though.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Evan Jonigkeit, Zosia Mamet, and Carol Kane
Season 2, Episode 7: “Kimmy Walks Into a Bar!”
It’s time for Jacqueline’s big charity event to correct the centuries of injustice started by Christopher Columbus’ mistreatment of indigenous people. This is her way of showing her parents that she does care about being Native American. Unfortunately, her gala is scheduled on the same night as Deirdre Robespierre’s benefit to raise money for lupus. Mimi messed up the date on the invitations by trying to make it fancy and British.
Before we find out about the mix-up, though, Kimmy meets someone! It’s about time she had a romantic interest besides Dong, because he’s busy convincing the INS that his marriage to Sonja is real, which hurts Kimmy to see. Jacqueline sends Kimmy out to collect her dress, and on the way back from Bergdorf’s, Kimmy stops at a bar to use the bathroom. While she’s there, a dashing soldier named Keith (Sam Page) spots her, and the two start talking. Keith recognizes a similar look in Kimmy’s eyes to his own, thinking she’s been in combat. Kimmy hasn’t been in combat, but Keith is recognizing a similar look of PTSD in her eyes. They’re both still haunted by their years spent disarming IEDs (Keith) and in the bunker (Kimmy). This becomes alarmingly clear after Kimmy invites Keith to the gala. Someone pops a bottle of Champagne and Keith drops to the ground to take cover, taking Kimmy down with him. She starts punching him after he grabs her, because her residual PTSD symptoms set off major alarm bells when, as she says, any man with a beard grabs her — except Keith doesn’t have a beard. He was merely trying to protect her from what his years of fear training made him sense was a bomb or some other type of danger. While Keith chooses to live in fear, though, Kimmy refuses to remain a victim to her past. She’s going to make up for all the Christmases and the seven Olympics she missed in the bunker. She also wants to confirm the fact that amazing child actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas grew up to be a famous adult actor (well, she might be a bit disappointed about that last one...). As usual, Kimmy is resilient. Does this mean we won’t be seeing more of Sam Page, though? Because he sure is handsome. Back to the gala, though, because save for Kimmy’s bumping into Keith at the bar, it’s a complete disaster. Deirdre, a Princeton grad who we learn in this episode once worked for the State Department and may have faked Sadam Hussein’s death, now longs for a way to use her intelligence for things besides taking care of her child, putting on her husband’s “fun cufflinks,” and ordering stationery for their dog. She thrives on this type of same-date-benefit mix-up. Deirdre tells Jacqueline that she knows Jacqueline didn’t get $1.5 billion in her divorce, and Deirdre challenges Jacqueline to dethrone her as the queen bee of the mommy set — or at least get people to attend Jacqueline’s benefit instead of hers. As a former mistress, though, Jacqueline knows exactly what to do. She knows that all the Park Avenue wives will drag their husbands to Deirdre’s benefit, but Jacqueline knows all the moves their mistresses should pull to them lure them to her benefit, which she moves to her apartment because Deirdre’s lupus gala is in the location she originally wanted. Unfortunately, you can get the men and mistresses to the benefit, but you can’t make them care about the cause enough to donate. When they find out that Jacqueline is trying to get them to donate to a charity for Native Americans, the men all scoff. They only give money to organizations that help them or their families cure prostate cancer, or get their “dumb children” into good schools. Jacqueline ends the episode feeling like she’s failed her parents. Over in Titus-land, he’s worried about his relationship with Mikey because he won’t stop talking. Titus is tired of listening to Mikey drone on and on about construction-related things (five-foot rebar or 10-foot rebar...what?) and his sisters. Side note: Sometimes, Mikey turns into Joey from Friends. But hey, guess what? Mikey is only droning on and on because he thinks Titus wants him to. It’s so funny when people in relationships don’t communicate. I mean, it’s not really that funny, because this is one of the most standard sitcom conventions, ever. In the end, Mikey and Titus finally have a conversation during which Mikey says he doesn’t really like to talk as much as he has been, and Titus admits that he’s glad, because he sure is tired of listening to Mikey drone on and on. I’m glad this plotline is over and Titus and Mikey can move onto more interesting hijinks.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Sam Page and Ellie Kemper
Season 2, Episode 8: “Kimmy Goes To a Hotel!”
We’ve caught up to the opening of the first episode of the season, only this time, we get some more context. It’s fake Christmas, not real Christmas. Mikey is the Santa Claus. When Sonja comes through the window, it’s to ask why Kimmy’s blue scrunchie is underneath Dong’s pillow. Kimmy pretends she put it there, but when she goes to ask Dong about it, he finally comes clean and admits that he can’t stop thinking about Kimmy.
They decide to take their love to an abandoned hotel that’s become a federal raccoon sanctuary, because that’s a thing that exists in the world of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. While they’re there, Dong says he wants to “lose his American virginity.” Kimmy wants to knock over a candy machine. She also wants to have sex with Dong, but she has trouble voicing this. When they finally get ready for bed, it becomes clear that they both want to sleep with one another. Each time they go to kiss, however, Kimmy smashes Dong on the back of the head with a phone. As she demonstrated with Keith in the last episode, Kimmy clearly has some residual PTSD when it comes to being approached by men, even when it’s someone she has feelings for, like Dong. Dong and Kimmy venture out to a mini-mart to buy an ice pack for his head. While they’re there, Kimmy starts talking about how she want their love to be sweet and simple like Joey (Katie Holmes) and Dawson’s (James Van Der Beek) on Dawson’s Creek. She only saw season 1, though. Purvis (Joshua Jackson, who, duh, played Pacey on Dawson’s Creek), the cashier at the store, steps in to inform Kimmy that Joey didn’t end up with Dawson — which shocks Kimmy because, “It was his creek!” — she wound up with Pacey. Purvis adds that sex is complicated and tied up with all sorts of emotions, and you really have to find the right person with whom to do it. All of this makes Kimmy realize that she doesn’t just want to buy an ice pack for Dong; she also wants to buy some condoms. When they get back to the abandoned hotel, though, there’s another problem. Dong is allergic to latex. The evening takes a Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin) in My Girl turn instead of a Pacey and Joey one. Kimmy and Dong get arrested for trespassing and the police also uncover the fact that he’s in a green-card marriage. The writers also manage to slip in a reference to Donald Trump’s policy towards immigrants during the arrest. “This is the kind of stuff Trump’s talking about,” one policeman says. “You’re telling me, Dave. These Chinese guys taking all our redheads,” the other responds. Kimmy and Dong sit in the back of the police car, knowing this is probably the last time they’ll see each other, since Dong will probably get sent back to Vietnam for trying to trick the government into giving him a green card. Kimmy realizes that the timing will never be perfect for the two of them to consummate their relationship for the first time. They have sex right there in the back of the police car, with Dong in handcuffs. Even though she finally cemented her love with Dong, it’s a saddened Kimmy who returns to the apartment on Fake Christmas. Will he be deported? I guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out. Now for Jacqueline’s whole debacle with her painting being stolen by the Jews. As a Jew, I really don’t appreciate this phrasing, nor do I appreciate this plotline, actually. My grandparents’ houses and property were seized by the Nazis during World War II — and never returned. I understand that Jane Krakowski is playing a Native American character (again, shudder), and her ancestors’ property and land was also seized by people like Christopher Columbus when he arrived on this continent, but is Kimmy Schmidt comparing one ethnic group’s plight to another’s? Both groups have suffered genocides and neither should be the subject of comedy. I apologize for going on a rant in what’s meant to be a recap, but clearly, this is a subject that I don’t take lightly for very personal reasons and I don’t think it should be comedic fodder. So, down the rabbit hole we go, with David Cross playing Russ Snyder, an attorney for the Jewish Art Reclamation Project (J.A.R.P.) assigned to get back the Mondrian painting Jacqueline purchased at the auction in episode 2. Luckily, he succeeds in getting the painting back for the granddaughter of its owner, who unfortunately has a terribly anti-Semitic name. As Snyder is leaving Jacqueline’s apartment, he says, “Let’s go, I’ve got wheels up to D.C. in 90 minutes.” This catches her attention. Snyder, while odious, is rich! Jacqueline decides she can work with this. Well, I’m glad she learned nothing from this whole experience and didn’t see any parallels between seeing Native American’s property being taken away by white men for centuries and what happened with her painting. Let’s check in with Titus: he becomes manager at the restaurant where he works, so he quits. There’s a pretty great joke about why he can’t get an audition for Hamilton, though. “They just prejudiced, because I can’t rap or walk quickly in a circle.” On to episode 9.
Season 2, Episode 9: “Kimmy Meets a Drunk Lady!”
Tina Fey plays Andrea, the drunk woman. She’s surprised to see a “girl Uber driver,” but we soon learn that she’s quick to give advice, despite her incredibly intoxicated state. She notes how much Kimmy is burping. She gets Kimmy talking and traces her problems first back to the fact that Titus is taking advantage of her. Fey also gets in a dig at Taylor Swift’s famous knock against her and Amy Poehler in Vanity Fair about how, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.” We really just can’t let that one slide, can we?
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper
Anyway, Andrea finally diagnoses the source of Kimmy’s burps. They’re “Dursting” (you knew that Robert Durst stuff would come back, although Andrea jokes that it’s Fred Durst — an allusion to the AP’s mixing up the two). Shockingly, Andrea is a psychiatrist, and even in her inebriated condition, she quickly diagnoses Kimmy’s issues. Kimmy needs therapy (duh), because, as Andrea notes, she’s not in control of her own body. We see a quick montage of all the times Kimmy lashed out at men like Keith, Dong, and Billy Eichner (cut to an amazing bit where Kimmy is on Billy on the Street asking if Cate Blanchett is a good actress or she’s just tall, a callback to an earlier joke from the Fake Christmas episode). Kimmy has a hard time accepting this information. She doesn’t think she needs therapy; however, she finds herself dissociating from her body and traveling to Coney Island. She wakes up the next morning with a photo of herself on a rollercoaster, but no memory of riding it. Finally, she concedes to the fact that she does need therapy. Unfortunately, when she goes to Andrea’s office, Andrea also has no memory of what happened the night before. She, too, compartmentalizes her experiences so that she can be a very successful psychiatrist by day and a drunk by night. She says she can’t see Kimmy as a patient, because Kimmy knows the nighttime version of Andrea. Kimmy figures out how she can become one of Andrea’s patients, though. She records her during a drunken rant and uses it as blackmail. It’s not the most honest way to go about finding a therapist, but hey, I’m glad that Kimmy’s finally going to get help. Kimmy’s meeting Andrea also proves beneficial for her relationship with Titus. He spends this episode trying to track down a new cassette rack, because this is a series with a recurring joke about two roommates who still buy cassette tapes. Since it’s 2016, however, no one is making cassette racks. Doesn’t Titus know he can just go to Ikea and find some shelves he can use for cassettes? He really got a lame b-story in this episode. Anyway, Kimmy’s newfound confidence convinces Titus that he should find a way to construct a tape rack — not just for himself, but also because he has been abusing his roommate a bit. He figures out how to make one and he and Kimmy hug. The end. Well, I’d also like to point out the amusing original songs in this episode that all sound like pop hits, but are different enough so as not to get sued. They’re good.
Season 2, Episode 10: “Kimmy Goes to Her Happy Place!”
Mikey is going to come out to his big, stereotypical Italian family. Titus prepares himself for a big scene, but they’re fine with it. He’s disappointed, because he had a whole speech prepared that he wanted to deliver to his family when he was ready to come out. He never got to deliver it, though, since he ran out on Vonda during his wedding, fleeing Mississippi in the process. “I never got to stare bigotry in the eyes and say, ‘Homey don’t play that!,’” Titus says, admitting the reference might need some updating.
Titus does get to make his speech, though, when he gets racially profiled by police who see him “casing the neighborhood” while he’s walking around and depressed about not making his speech. He tells off the police in front of Mikey’s family, who all have his back. It’s a big day for Kimmy, too. She starts therapy with Dr. Andrea, a.k.a. Tina Fey. She tells Andrea that she deals with tough times by becoming an animated Disney princess in her imagination, because they also dealt with tough times and being captured. We’re then transported to Kimmy’s imagination, where she sings a song with animated woodland creatures. It’s her coping mechanism.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper and Carol Kane
Dr. Bayden tells her it’s okay to get mad. “Anger is bad and ugly. It’s the opposite of who I want to be, so i don’t get pissed off. I get pissed on,” Kimmy says. Andrea wants her to allow herself to get angry. This will be a change for Kimmy. Back at home, Lillian the anti-gentrification crusader says she’ll show Kimmy how to get angry. She gives Kimmy things to get mad about on a film set and in a deli. Finally, Kimmy finds something to get mad about. When Lillian says, “You’re on your own,” something inside Kimmy snaps. It reminds her of her mother abandoning her. She fails to see this at first, though. In another animated sequence, Kimmy’s princess-self sings a song while killing the animated Reverend. She also murders her fairy godmother, who she thinks is an analog for Andrea. Back at therapy, though, Andrea (wearing a Dyziplen shirt, because Tina Fey is nothing if not a master at callbacks) points out that the fairy godmother in the animated sequence is obviously a stand-in for Kimmy’s mother. Looks like it’s time to find Kimmy’s long-lost mother.
Season 2, Episode 11: “Kimmy Meets a Celebrity!”
Cyndee’s back in town! Kimmy isn’t too thrilled about it, though, because Cyndee is still planning to go through with her wedding to Brandon (Brandon Jones), who’s gay. Cyndee also says she wants to have children with him.
While she’s in town, Cyndee is also meeting with her therapist, who, until now, she’s only spoken with on the phone. Dr. Dave (Jeff Goldblum) is a television shrink (that technically only has a pharmacy degree) who practices what Titus calls “therapy-tainment.” He’s doing a whole special on people who went through serious trauma, like a woman who lived at the bottom of a well and one who was stuck inside an orca. Kimmy thinks he’s abusing Cyndee’s trauma for entertainment (um, duh), and Dr. Dave tries to get Kimmy on the show, too. Kimmy has no interest in becoming one of Dr. Dave’s on-air patients, but that’s what it takes for her to finally convince Cyndee not to go through with her wedding to Brandon. Actually, it takes Kimmy finally breaking down and crying over the years of her life she lost in the bunker, because she didn’t cry the entire time she was down there. Now, the thought of losing Cyndee as a friend is enough to make Kimmy cry, and Cyndee finally realizes how serious Kimmy must be about the mistake she’s about to make marrying Brandon. She calls off the wedding on national television, which Dr. Dave loves, because of the scandal. Meanwhile, Titus is participating in a drug study for money. The drug he’s testing is ostensibly going to cure “blood cancer,” but it’s making him grow gray hair in a balding pattern. Everyone keeps mistaking him for an elderly man, including a teenager named Tyler (Niles Fitch) that he bumps into at the movies. Tyler is meeting a girl there for what he hopes will be a date and Titus coaches him through the process so it will be a success. The date — well, non-date, as the girl isn’t into the meet-up being called that at all — is a colossal failure and Tyler blames it all on Titus. Nevertheless, the process makes Titus realize that he’s ready to be a father. He shares this with Lillian when he encounters her in the midst of what she spends the entire episode doing. Are you ready to find out what that is? Wait for it...She’s protesting gentrification. I know; this is shocking. Lillian agrees that the world needs more Tituses, or Titi, as he says is the plural. Agreed.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Jeff Goldblum and Ellie Kemper
Season 2, Episode 12: “Kimmy Sees a Sunset!”
Kimmy’s back to helping people instead of herself. When the episode starts, it seems like Dr. Bayden is going to start helping Kimmy deal with her issues with her mother. We learn that Kimmy’s mom, Lori-Ann Schmidt, is addicted to riding roller coasters. She’s a “coasterhead,” Kimmy says.
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as we get into Kimmy’s issues. The situation quickly derails (yes, coaster pun intended), because Dr. Bayden has started day drinking. So, in typical Kimmy fashion, she vows to help Andrea with her problem. There is something in it for Kimmy if she helps Dr. Bayden, sure, but still, she deserves a psychiatrist who’s able to put her patients first. Dr. Bayden says she needs to go to rehab, but Kimmy doesn’t want to be abandoned again. She spends the episode trying to help Andrea go one day without drinking or getting high — and thinks she’s actually done it successfully when the sun starts to set. Dr. Bayden is a lot more cunning than Kimmy expects, though, and she’s been sneaking vodka from a Camelbak the entire day. Kimmy’s inability to help Andrea with her problems actually proves to be a teachable moment. Kimmy’s therapist tells her that she doesn’t need to help everyone; she should focus on helping herself. When Kimmy gets back to the apartment, she tells Titus and Mikey that she’s finally decided to get serious about finding her mom. She says she’s going to hire a private investigator, but in the time it takes her to make a speech about the type of diligent P.I. she’s going to hire, Mikey finds Lori-Ann on Facebook. She’s in Orlando. That was easy. Kimmy’s headed to Florida! Speaking of Titus, he’s moving in with Mikey! Well, there might be a slight hiccup in that plan. Mid-way through an audition, he starts sneezing. He recently spent time nursing Mikey through the flu, because, as he tells Jacqueline, Lillian, and Kimmy, love means putting someone else’s needs above your own (that will come up later). Titus got what Mikey had in the process, though. At the audition, Titus runs into Norman (Willie C. Carpenter), an old actor friend of his who’s still trodding the circuit. Norman takes Titus’ headshot and résumé to pass on to anyone who might be casting a role for which Titus would be a fit. Unfortunately, the call Titus receives is from the morgue. Norman passed away in improv class. Since they can’t find any next of kin, they’re calling him. When Titus and Mikey go to Norman’s funeral, though, it’s very well-attended. He played many corpses and other small roles on New York shows, like Law & Order, over the years, so all the makeup artists and prop people who worked on those shows are in attendance. Ice-T is delivering Norman’s eulogy. “Well, HIllary Clinton, here we are at Ikea. Oh god, my arm’s numb, oh god, my bowels,” Ice-T reports were Norman’s final words. Improv jokes: never not funny? Ice-T’s eulogizing leaves Mikey with the notion that when life gives you an opportunity, you’ve just gotta grab it by the horns. That’s why when Titus gets the call from the people who ran the audition he thought he bombed saying that he got the part, Mikey thinks Titus needs to take it. Titus got the role because he was sick and the part is actually on a four-month Caribbean cruise, where the performers will get sick a lot. He doesn’t want to be away from Mikey for four months after they just agreed to move in together, but Mikey thinks their relationship can withstand a separation like this. Mikey is the sweetest. Jacqueline also realizes that loving someone means putting their needs above your own. She’s still pursuing Russ Snyder, the lawyer who got her painting back to its rightful Jewish owner a few episodes ago. She can’t let him know that she’s after his money, though. He’s rather gun-shy around women, and it’s quite endearing, so Jacqueline actually winds up falling for the bumbling Russ. She realizes this when Russ hurts his head (a bunch of teenage girls punch him in the street as part of some weird game), and she takes him back to her sparsely outfitted apartment without even remembering that when he sees it, he’ll realize that she’s broke. Now, Jacqueline has to convince Russ that she really does like him for who he is, not for his money. This should be interesting.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper
Season 2, Episode 13: “Kimmy Finds Her Mom!”
Cue up “Orlando” from The Book of Mormon, because that’s where we lay our scene in the final episode of season 2. Kimmy’s there to confront her mother, who’s played by Lisa Kudrow (yay). Their final confrontation takes place on a rollercoaster, because remember, Lori-Ann Schmidt is a “coasterhead.”
We learn in this episode that Lori-Ann had Kimmy when she was 17 and she struggled to raise her, but she still loved and wanted her. Still, she didn’t teach Kimmy how to do things like tie her shoes, and it’s because Kimmy was struggling with the Velcro on her shoes that the Reverend was able to lure her into his van. Kimmy is upset about this — and also the fact that Lori-Ann didn’t stay in Durnsville the entire 15 years she was stuck in the bunker to wait and see if her daughter ever turned up. Lori-Ann doesn’t think she’s entirely at fault for Kimmy’s kidnapping. She’s tired of being blamed for the fact that men snatch kids and rape women every day. Also, she “could have been White Snake’s Yoko Ono!” Who wouldn’t want that prestigious honor? Kimmy and her mom both air their grievances and sort of reconnect. They’re not going to be the best of friends, but maybe Lori-Ann will swing by sometime and they can ride the Cyclone together. Everything seems like it’s going to wrap up in a tight little bow for Kimmy, but she gets a call during Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the Reverend calling from prison. He says he’s met someone and he’s getting married. You may be wondering how a creep who kidnaps women and keeps them in an underground bunker could have possibly met someone in prison, but remember, this is a man who looks like Jon Hamm (he’s even lost the beard, so he’s in there looking like his total Jon Hamm self). And if Charles Manson can meet a bride in prison, so can Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. Oh, but the reason he’s calling Kimmy? He needs a divorce. Dun dun dunnnnn. End season. I mean, wait, they’re legally married? What the what??? I guess we’ll have to pick this back up in season 3. Titus spends the final episode of the season debating whether or not he should get on the cruise ship to the Caribbean. When he gets to Miami, he boards a bus to Titusville, thinking it’s a sign that he shouldn’t. Unfortunately, Titusville is an exceptionally racist town where the main tourist attraction is the space program. Titus tries to convince Kimmy (over the phone) that he could be really into space, but she sees through his fake interest in the cosmos. Eventually, Titus realizes it’s best if he gets on that boat. Speaking of racists, Jacqueline is spending Thanksgiving with Russ’ family. One would hope they wouldn’t be racist, but this is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s world. If a character can be unexpectedly racist, they will be. Remember: Russ’ family is Jewish. But (and here comes the racist part) they own the Washington Redskins and they don’t have a problem with the name at all. That’s odd, because even a U.S. federal judge differs with that opinion. Jacqueline knows she can’t date someone who is okay with the team being called the Redskins. She finally confesses to Russ that not only is she Native American, she spent every cent she had trying to help her people. She expects him to break up with her, but instead, he tells her how much he admires her convictions. He agrees that the team name is horribly racist and says he’s been trying to get his family to change it for years. They haven’t listened, but at least we know that Russ is a decent person. “Maybe, together...” he begins. “We can take down the Washington Redskins!” Jacqueline finishes. They kiss. How romantic. That’s a wrap on season 2, which, of course, ended on that cliffhanger reveal that Kimmy and the Reverend are married. I hope she knows a good divorce attorney. Oh wait, Russ is a lawyer! I love when things work out. Now, let’s all watch the sunset like Kimmy and Dr. Bayden while we try to get the theme song out of our heads. ‘Cause they alive...dammit!

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