At Literally, Darling we love strong, independent characters, women or men, who despite all odds make it to the other side of whatever problems they face. Thankfully, many of the main characters featured on the Netflix original show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, are some “strong as hell” characters. Through two seasons so far, these characters have begun to overcome their fears and continue to overcome whatever life hurls at them, only to end up looking and feeling better. Not perfect, of course, but better.
After binge-watching through the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I couldn’t stop applauding, both internally and externally, for these amazing, wacky characters concocted by the minds of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Kimmy Schmidt’s (Ellie Kemper) tendencies to act like she’s still living in the ’90s is strangely addicting to watch—especially when she’s trying to immerse herself in the 21st century by learning from the wise, albeit unorthodox, teachings of her roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), their landlord Lilian (Carol Kane), and her newly-divorced, ex-boss/friend Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski).
Aside from the show’s humor and overall spunk, the changes between seasons one and two are what truly make this show amazing, and in the end teach valuable lessons to those who might otherwise think that it’s too late to do something. According to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it never is.
Lesson 1: It’s never too late to learn to let people in
Like many of the other main characters in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus is one who exemplifies individuality, drama and an overall sense of fierceness. Titus is very much his own person, especially when it comes to relationships. As we saw in season one, Titus rarely had anything more than a fling when it came to romance. Who knows whatever happened to that mummy he referred to as Torso, who eventually turned out to be an ex.
But as we come to learn in season two with the reintroduction of Mikey, the construction worker who came out to Titus in the season before, our beloved, theatrical Titus finds himself catching feelings for this lovable hunk—something he rejects at first. Like really rejects. In a conversation with Lilian, Titus expressed that all the small, casual hook-ups he’d had over the years had made him afraid that he wasn’t worth getting-to-know. With Mikey, things were different and he was free to be himself, which scared him.
Titus’ fear of getting close to people is valid no matter who you are. Whether you’re a small kid looking tentatively around the playground for someone to play with, or a divorced mother of two who’s going on a first date, “getting out there” is scary, and meeting new people can be scary too. However, Titus proves that chemistry and opening yourself up to new things and new people, i.e. letting yourself be vulnerable, can lead to amazing things, like finding someone you can eat messy food with or discuss the awesomeness of “The Lion King” with.
Lesson 2: It’s never too late to press the “restart” button on certain relationships
Jacqueline is a force to be reckoned with in season two. Not only does she pull herself up by the straps of her high heels by finalizing her divorce and heading home to find herself, she (reluctantly) moves out of her house to start a new life. This new life, however, includes less of the finer things after she spends $11.5 million on a painting (essentially 96% of the money she got in the divorce). Another finer thing she happens to lose is Kimmy as her nanny, meaning that she has to do mom things, like taking her son Buckley on errands. *gasp*
At first Jacqueline is plagued with terror, saying she’s never spent an entire day alone with her son. When Buckley proves to be a handful, she opts out of being a real parent and decides to give him some Dyziplen, a medication for rowdy behavior. Though the medication proves to work well, it changes Buckley entirely and makes him a lifeless robot disguised as a well-dressed child. Jacqueline realizes, after taking some Dyziplen herself, that it was wrong of her to try and change her son.
This at first might not seem like the greatest step in the right direction, but for Jacqueline’s character it is. She was living in a world surrounded by hired help and limitless lines of credit to take care of her child—the main reason she and her husband married in the first place. Though Buckley proves to be spoiled, aggressive and altogether a pain in the ass, she learns how to cope with his rowdiness and actually forms a mother-son bond (a small one, but still). Though she hadn’t been much of the maternal figure, Jacqueline proved that she was capable of finding herself and reconnecting with her son at the same time.
Lesson 3: It’s never too late to devote yourself to ideas you believe in
If Lilian were a type of tree, she would be bamboo: no matter how much you try and cut her down or shake her up, she remains unwavering. Lilian’s sanity constantly seems to be fluctuating (more so on the crazy side), but no matter what strange kick she’s on, her greatest characteristic is her resilience.
She’s constantly refusing to give in to the changing ways of the world, whether by chasing away hipster millennials or handcuffing herself to construction equipment in hopes to stop change from coming to “the neighborhood.” Though her methods and beliefs might seem ridiculous to some of us, you cannot deny that her passion is admirable. The real beauty to Lilian is that she can have these ideals, but it doesn’t distract her enough to make her forget about her friends and loved ones. Though she might go on weird strikes or protests, you can always find her back at the apartment building, asking Titus or Kimmy what’s wrong and spouting advice.
Someone might only see Lilian as just another crazy New Yorker, but those who truly see all of her know she’s much more than that.
Lesson 4: It’s always OK to let your feelings show
Kimmy Schmidt is definitely one of the more peppy female characters on TV today.
Whether or not that’s because her fonder memories were when she was growing up in the ’90s, I’m not sure, but either way her obsession with grape puns and scrunchies is simply adorable. However bright eyed-eyed and bushy-tailed she seems on the outside, Kimmy reveals over the course of this season the darkness within. Not necessarily a sacrifice-animals-for-Satan kind of darkness, more in a bottle-your-feelings-up-and-open-them-never kind of way.
Through a clever animation shown during one of the first sessions Kimmy has with her therapist Andrea, we see that Kimmy hates feeling mad and doesn’t know where to place her anger. Even before that, when she was feeling useless to help Cyndi from marrying a gay man, Kimmy cried for the first time since she was 15. While these things might not seem as extraordinary as the crazy antics of Titus or Lilian, these are immensely important.
Kimmy showed that by letting herself truly feel, no matter how aggressive she looked or how sad she felt, her emotions were out there for everyone to see and for her to really experience. This is so important to see on screen because it shows that sometimes the first step to becoming mentally healthy is to express emotion.
Lesson 5: It’s never too late to get help
One of the most important plot lines of this season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the journey Kimmy takes to just become a normal, OK person. As surprising as that sounds, it’s true. Kimmy accomplished one of the hardest hurdles last season by helping to put the Reverend away in jail through her testimony at his trial. After she returned back to New York, she figured tackling the problems of everyday life would seem much easier. But as it turned out, it wasn’t so easy.
Little signs here and there proved that Kimmy wasn’t okay. She would occasionally have small outbursts of violence that she had no knowledge of committing, like choking out a cute veteran soldier while they attended a party together, or clocking Dong in the head with a phone when they were trying to have sex. Even talking about her time in the bunker would make Kimmy burp really loudly, as if there were something deeper going on under the surface. All these signs, mainly Kimmy’s inability to control her body, eventually lead her to the conclusion that she should see a therapist.
This information is difficult for Kimmy to swallow at first and she denies needing help. But more and more, she sees that her time in the bunker was detrimental to her mental health (duh). She was often seen by her friend Cyndee as the stronger of the Mole Women, but Kimmy realized that no one can just walk away from being kidnapped for 15 years without some problems. That all being said, Kimmy’s brave decision to seek help from the therapist she meets while she’s an Uber driver becomes one of her strongest moments and overall makes her a more relatable character. Not everyone knows what it’s like to experience the horrors of being kidnapped and trapped underground for nearly two decades, but everyone certainly knows what it’s like to need help. Thankfully, Kimmy is strong as hell and learns that there’s no shame in getting help.
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