English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: titus

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

Kimmy Schmidt Experiencing Life!

In this post I will be analyzing the writing in the first episode of Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable, titled “Kimmy Goes Outside!” where Kimmy finally is able to get out of the bunker she has been living in for 10 years and decides to move to New York City.

The title episode’s writing was helmed by two very well known writers in the comic scene today, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Tina Fey is known for being a pioneer for females after she broke through the male-dominated comedic writing profession and was hired to be the first ever female sketch writer on Saturday Night Live.  Besides her illustrious SNL career, Fey also wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls (2004), as well as created and wrote the popular TV show 30 Rock.  Similarly to Fey, Robert Carlock also worked as a writer for SNL and 30 Rock, while also taking part in writing for the well known television series Friends.  The hilariously clever, and random deadpan humor that viewers have enjoyed from these writers for years perfectly translates to the odd plot of Kimmy Schmidt and allows audiences to have a jubilant experience while watching Kimmy leave the bunker and go out into the real world.

The dialogue in this first episode is very snappy and quick.  After all Kimmy is experiencing so many things for the first time in this episode! There is no time for any emotional monologue, she is practically still a kid in a women’s body as she has not matured since she went into the bunker during her childhood.  As previously stated, the script in this episode is filled with quick, random one liners to promote the absurdity of the whole situation and to get the audience to laugh at the nonchalant, deadpan humor and enjoy the characters on screen.

With that, it should also be noted that the episode has almost no silent/dull moments! Kimmy is now living in New York City, a place that Titus (a supporting character) expresses “will chew you up and spit you out… like lunch”.  The lack of silence promotes the rushed and exciting tone of the whole script throughout the title episode where Kimmy is eating candy for dinner for the first time, running with strangers who are out for a run, partying at a club for the first time, and making up for all the lost time she spent in the bunker.

I believe the writing in the title episode is perfectly executed. Fey and Carlock use deadpan humor perfectly to make the audience laugh while also using pathos to get the audience to sympathize with Kimmy’s plight, causing them to want to keep binge watching the show, which is ultimately the objective of the first episode.  The writing put on paper is perfectly edited and acted for a quick episode filled with snappy, witty and humorous dialogue which I have enjoyed and look forward to enjoying as I continue to watch the series. WATCH KIMMY SCHMIDT!

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Lillian commenting on Kimmy’s clothes


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