English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #characteranalysis

New Girl, Old Family Ties

The episode “San Diego” in New Girl’s sixth season deals with a lot of family relations and how they shape character.

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Schmidt telling Winston about his first name

The episode begins with Schmidt upset because he can not name his charity after his nickname, “Schmidt,” which also happens to be his last name. He must start using the first name that his parents gave him, “Winston”. This is an relevant dilemma because it represents him leaving his family ties and naming something after himself. It is a transition into him becoming an individual- he reveals his true identity at the same time he creates something for himself. However, it creates a conflict because his best friend’s name is also Winston. At the end, friendship and normalcy prevails, and Schmidt goes back to being called “Schmidt”. However, the main deciding factor is that his wife, Cece, feels weird calling him “Winston,” and that is what is most important to him- the new family he will create with her.

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Schmidt realizes what matters most

Jess has also entered an interesting family situation when she moves back in with her father for a few days to avoid seeing Nick. She somewhat sinks back into to her childhood role- she is bickering with her father, not listening, and saying she doesn’t want ice cream. However, by the end of the episode, Jess and her father stop bickering because they form a new mature adult family relationship. Jess helps her father get out of his lonely single life by getting him a date, and he does the same for her. He still fills his father role, though, by asking Nick a question to test his character before he gives his approval.

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Jess’ dad- full of good advice

Winston is also facing a new family dilemma. Ally has found his father, who isn’t in his life. She has his phone number and encourages Winston to call him. Initially, he does not, but with time and bravery, he finds the courage to call his father in attempt to form a new family relationship. He tells his father about his upcoming marriage, so Winston is, in fact, getting two new family members.


What is Titus’s Relevance in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?

When I first embarked on my journey to complete the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, one character stood out to me from the pilot episode. Kimmy’s roommate Titus has been a prominent character since the beginning of the show, but I quickly found myself questioning his worth. He frustrated me by proving that he would act as nothing but an obstacle for Kimmy to overcome. Time and time again I was wondering whether Titus was about to have a revelation and change from his greedy ways, but he continued to exploit Kimmy just because she was too nieve to realize. Examples of this include when he robbed Kimmy blind of her money, citing random home reparations or when he lied to her about the true cost of the rent. It became obvious to me that he was just stealing her money and taking advantage of her situation. This became even more apparent after he fails to feel sympathy for Kimmy after she is robbed, rather he is more concerned about his own money situation.

It was not until the midpoint of the first season that I began to understand Titus’s true relevance to the show. He acts as the difficult roommate to showcase Kimmy’s generous heart and ability to love anyone regardless of past actions. Whether this is a vulnerability or a powerful trait that Kimmy possesses is up to the viewer to decide. Not only is Titus a minority because of his male gender, but he is also a minority because of his color and sexuality. Kimmy has no problem seeing past Titus’s image as a struggling, but aspiring Broadway performer and even reaches out to Titus in acts of kindness that are unwarranted. She convinces him to sell his robot costume so that he can buy clothes to audition for more Broadway musicals and convinces him to pursue his dreams. Kimmy’s devoted interest in Titus’s happiness and success even though Titus did nothing but exploit her, shows Kimmy’s true nature to the audience and helps develop her character. Titus’s contribution to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is simply portraying Kimmy Schmidt’s character to the audience in the best light possible.

Titus Burgess helps portray Kimmy in her best light to the audience

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