English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #lastblogpost

Kimmy Schmidt: Why it all Works

Kimmy Schmidt is a fictional plot about one girl who was kidnapped by a reverend when she was only 13 years of age, kept in a underground bunker for 15 years convinced that there was no life above her and that everything she previously knew and loved had perished in an apocalypse. She then is found and rescued by the U.S. government at the age of 28 and must live without any source of viable income in the cutthroat city of New York, where she is constantly deceived by others who try to con her money or make her do sexual favors.  All the while she must remain a strong witness and figure in convicting her cynical kidnapper. This is a very dark plot that could be the plot to a high intensity, multi season drama series, but this is the polar opposite of dark and dramatic.. I may not even be too bold to claim that Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable may be the funniest thing I have ever watched. But how does a show with such a dark premise create such a comedic tone… well I’ll tell you.

The most prominent aspect of the comedy within the show is the delivery of lines. This show has many different comedic aspects within it but the one portion that really makes the audience hurl over from laughter is the deadpan delivery of nonsensical dialogue.  For those unaware, deadpan is a mechanism of comedy in which one person says or does something funny during a scene and no character on screen laughs or reacts at all to the action, acting like it is completely normal.  This contributes because this series thrives off of nonsense even in the most intense moments of the show, and when witty, nonsense is spewed back and forth between characters of the show in very intense moments, you just can’t help but laugh as an audience member.

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Quote from Kimmy Schmidt

Another aspect that contributes to the comedic tone of the show is the pop culture references and the very modern material that is portrayed.  Kimmy was born in the mid 1980s as previously stated, so naturally there are many 90s pop culture references as well as the current day references that often times are completely nonsensical because Kimmy was only a child during the 90s and still technically has the cultural awareness of a child as she has just been released from a barren bunker separated from the outside world.  This allows for Kimmy (and less often her supporting characters) to make inappropriate, and often nonsensical but comical, comments that are also hilariously delivered through deadpan dialogue about pop culture.

Though there are many factors that contribute to the comedy within the very intense plot line of the series meshing well, I firmly believe that the deadpan delivery of dialogue and the frequent culture references are key to the comedy that has allowed Kimmy Schmidt.

Peace out Blog Posts.

It really is all about Jess

For my last blog post I have chosen to write about season 5, episode 3. In this episode Jess has just left for a jury duty position. This episode is interestingly structured because it shows how everyone relys so heavily on Jess. Jess, although may seem extra and annoying to everyone at times seems to be the one thing that was able to keep the loft together.

It starts with the tension rising between Nick and Cece. Since Jess was not able to be at the loft she tried to delay either of them confronting each other, as she had a plan to solve it once she got back. Of course, this only lasted so long as Nick eventually broke and expressed his anger towards Cece. Because Schmidt was so in love with Cece he couldn’t see all the issues she was causing and therefore just continued to make the situation worse between Cece and Nick. In addition to this, Winston, while attempting to hang a poster that nobody wanted up, accidentally smashed a hammer though the wall. He of course only felt comfortable telling Jess that he messed up, and because Jess wasn’t there he instead decided to hide it and try to solve the problem himself. And because of this by the end of the episode the wall fell completely off.

Finally, by the end of the episode Jess came back, to inform everyone that she wouldn’t be able to return for another month. The loft of course was in pieces, both literally and emotionally. Although everything seemed to be a mess, at same time everyone was still trying to come together to solve their problems without Jess. But the only way that they were able to come to all these solutions were by the short phones calls they all made to Jess during the day. So, hearing that Jess wasn’t going to be back for a month and that she wasn’t going to be able to contact anyone freaked them out. In the next few episodes we see how hard it is for everyone to adjust to this change, but eventually they start to find way to survive on their own.

Some of Jess’s advice that she wasn’t able to give here.

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