Has liberal Hollywood just completely run out of original material? Season four of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a ditzy, nonsensical comedy series, makes me think so. The first six episodes released on May 30 are randomly sprinkled with snide comments against President Trump and conservatives in general, and even beats the dead horse of white privilege.
The series focuses on Kimmy Schmidt’s adjustment to the modern world after she was kidnapped as a child and held captive for 15 years in an underground bunker along with three other girls, called the Mole Women. Kimmy still maintains her child-like innocence and enthusiasm as she begins a new life in New York City.
Episode one, “Kimmy is…Little Girl, Big City!” shows Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) with a new job as a Human Resources manager for a tech company. The show immediately goes into #MeToo territory, but with a twist, when she botches terminating a male employee. Though she was trying to gently fire the guy – “in a fun Kimmy way,” it came out like she was sexually harassing him. Kimmy is hopelessly naïve and what seems like normal, friendly conversation to her is not seen that way in today’s politically correct world. After she is threatened with a lawsuit, Kimmy laments to her friend, “It’s not like I’m a Weinstein or a Spacey or a - the president.”
Also, in that episode, as Kimmy’s friend Lillian (Carol Kane) sells fake cocaine to a clubgoer, the guy responds to Lillian’s request that he go inside to do the drugs by saying of course he will with “Is the Pope a homo?” Ugh. Nothing is funnier than a cheap shot at the head of the Catholic Church, right?
White privilege is played for all it’s worth in episode two, titled “Kimmy Has a Weekend!” While they are in a Korean nail salon, Kimmy gets a “bunker vibe” from the nail techs. She discovers they use interchangeable name tags (English names, not their real Korean names) because, as Kimmy’s technician says, “No one cares who we are.” Kimmy's roommate Titus (Tituss Burgess), a gay African-American man, says that Kimmy can’t possibly know what their lives are like because of white privilege. He explains white privilege by using the example of the suggestions HouseFlix (like Netflix) makes for her to watch. He says that to HouseFlix, she is just a privileged white woman looking for edgy choices in entertainment so the service recommends true crime documentaries. Meanwhile, Kimmy did not grow up privileged, she lived a true crime story when she was kidnapped and held in a bunker for years. Then he shows her how white and black people are treated differently in stores.
Kimmy decides to use white privilege for good at the nail salon and mimics her spoiled socialite friend, Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski.) She demands the owner use the real names of the women working there as a small start of respect.
Episode three, titled “Party Monster: Scratching the Surface!” develops the story of Kimmy’s imprisoned captor, Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). He is, of course, a conservative, misogynistic white man who was an adjunct professor at Trump University (we already had a Trump University joke last year) and calls President Trump “my personal hero.” Formerly a famous local disc jockey, called D.J. Slizzard, he becomes the subject of a documentary himself that Kimmy watches on HouseFlix.
The documentary is about D.J. Fingablast's quest to find Wayne and have him perform at his wedding. He catfishes Wayne by posing as a woman and creating a Facebook page noting interests in Trump and "MAGA." Wayne, who will only allow women in to see him, falls for it and allows a prison visit. Then Wayne begins to manipulate D.J. Fingablast into questioning his innocence in the hopes of having his case re-opened. Wayne asks, “Who stood to benefit from this guy being locked up - like Hillary should have been?”
Denying his crimes, Wayne asks who would hold such unattractive women captive? Then, a video clip is shown from a Trump rally when Trump disparaged the looks of some women who came forward with sexual charges against him. Trump says, “Look at these women” and “Believe me she would not be my first choice."
The war on men is introduced as Fran Dodd (Bobby Moynihan), Founder and CFBro of the Innocence Broject, is introduced. He idolizes Wayne and is keeping files on other men he believes have been unjustly accused by women, including Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. He complains about the #MeToo movement with the cover of Time magazine’s Person (instead of man) of the Year, says, "They hijacked Ocean's Eleven,” and bemoans how there is now a female Colonel Sanders.
Yes, it is really all this dumb. But wait, there’s more.
In episode five, “Kimmy and the Beest!”, Kimmy tries to explain to Dodd that the documentary about Wayne is false and he is a bad guy who deserves to be in jail. Dodd doesn’t believe her and says, “They go to you, too. Who was it, Killary or her husband, Kill?” Dodd says life used to make sense – “nuclear families, straight marriages, white quarterbacks... The bunker was a return to traditional values." So apparently all of us who support traditional families and values are racists who want to lock women in underground bunkers.
And, finally, in episode six, the series wraps up with another go at privileged white women, although this one rings true. Xan (Dylan Gelula), thinks she is pregnant and goes to her ex-step mom, Jacqueline, for help. Jacqueline tells her that a young white woman has several choices. She gives the ridiculous examples that she could "keep the baby and say it’s your assistant... And there’s a service out in Hyannis Port that will blimp the child to Vermont and raise it as a golden retriever.” But she really hits the mark on how celebrated abortion is in liberal culture with the option that "You could terminate the pregnancy for HBO and win a Peabody for it." (In 1992, HBO actually did win a Peabody Award for a documentary on women choosing abortion. They also released another doc on women's abortion stories last year.)
The new release is short enough to easily binge watch in one sitting but it’s just so inane. The rest of season four will air in January 2019 and thankfully it is the end of the entire series. Good riddance.