English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #elliekemper

Let’s Take a Look at the Writing Behind Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!

I decided for my first blog post delving into the television sitcom, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I would focus on the writing of the show. More specifically, I will focus on the writing of the pilot episode. The pilot episode is written by Robert Carlock, a writer for several NBC comedies and Tina Fey, a household name who is known for her work on Saturday Night Live. The writing still is not entirely unique in comparison to other shows that I watch often; however, there are some aspects that are worth noting.

First, the prevalence of comedy in this show is unmistakable. The comedy skits are everywhere. The first scene of the show which displays Kimmy with her fellow cult members would be expected to be a serious introduction to the show, but this is not the case. In about thirty seconds, the situation turns into a comedy skit where apocalyptic cults are torn apart by humor that takes advantage of all cult stereotypes. I even found the name of their supposed leader to be quite humorous, Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. This comedy skit approach is a predictable one, taking into account the writers of the show. Tina Fey’s rise to fame is credited to her ability to write humorous skits for Saturday Night Live. Her talent for writing skits is clearly incorporated into Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Aside from the heavy use of comedy, the rest of the writing is pretty standard. There is no use of a voiceover which surprised me due to the fact that a lot of newer sitcoms choose to incorporate this. A major portion of the universe which the show takes place in is fabricated. There are many references to Kimmy’s fabricated background in the pilot. Kimmy’s cult, the cult leader’s name, and even her hometown: Durnsville, Indiana, are all fictional. Personally, I believe Robert Carlock and Tina Fey were the perfect choices to write this show. I can’t imagine how this show would have turned out if half the comedy skits were removed. The subject matter of the show is too outlandish to keep viewers hooked without the comedy. Nevertheless, Robert Carlock and Tina Fey are killing it and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

The opening scene where Kimmy Schmidt and fellow cult members await rescue

Reddy for Television!

Hello, my name is Nikhil Reddy and I am from Suwanee, Georgia about forty minutes away from Georgia Tech. I am currently a Business Administration major and intend to graduate in 2022. I have taken an English course every year since Kindergarten,  but most recently I have taken English Language and English Literature. I was never a huge fan of English classes, mostly because of how predictable they were. We would be directed to read a book and write essays weekly, analyzing the text. That being said, I couldn’t be more excited for English 1102 at Georgia Tech! The unorthodox manner in which this class will be conducted is what I have been looking for in an English class this whole time.

The component of communication I enjoy the most is written. This is because I have had plenty of practice in written communication. Aside from essays assigned in class, I have been mastering the skill of written communication almost every day in one form or another, whether it be texting, writing notes in my phone, or working on a project for school. Another reason I love written communication is that I have time to think and can ensure what is written is exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. The element of communication I struggle with the most is electronic communication, simply because I have shied away from using graphic design or video editing software in the past and have instead opted for a simple posterboard. However, as I stated in my common first-week video, I am looking to challenge myself this semester by taking advantage of electronic resources and gaining proficiency in this form of communication.

When I learned that the theme for this course was television, I was thrilled! Television is how I choose to spend most, if not all of my free time. I own Netflix, HBO, and Hulu subscriptions. Some shows I am a fan of include Lost, Breaking Bad, and Stranger Things. Recently, I have also started to enjoy some HBO shows such as Entourage, Ballers, and Silicon Valley. I chose to review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a show about a woman who was rescued from a cult and chooses to move to New York City to learn about the world that she has missed out on her whole life. I chose this show for my blog entries because I recently watched a TED talk on what it is like to be a member of a cult and have become fascinated with cult life. Watching Kimmy Schmidt adapt to New York City culture should prove to be entertaining. I cannot wait to begin!

Kimmy Schmidt as a member of a cult

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