'Unbreakable' excels in third season

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 5:04pm

NOSELL

NETFLIX

 

“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a Netflix Original Series, returned to online streaming on May 20th to debut its third season after a year of anticipation. Back online, “Unbreakable” continues to dazzle fans with a spectacular continuity of its social commentary and innocent jokes. This season in particular, it’s not just about the titular Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, “The Office”), as we see character growth in supporting cast members as well as humor that is more developed than the preceding seasons.

After three years of programming, one would think that “Unbreakable” would begin to lose that spark that gives the series its special something. However, the social commentary that creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock have woven into “Unbreakable” in the past comes to the forefront in Season 3, giving “Unbreakable” its best season yet. Fey and Carlock take on the issues of race, politics and sexual assault head-on this season, not shying away from openly taking on cases of sexual assault with the same finesse and humor as before. Last season saw Kimmy take on her PTSD with guest-star therapist Tina Fey (“30 Rock”); however, this season finds her becoming more comfortable discussing her past in the bunker, going as far as to mention rape in the third episode of the season.

As far as comedy goes, the humor is as sharp as ever. Where jokes were once interjected, sometimes awkwardly and at expense of the plot, this season shows jokes interwoven delicately with the dialogue, and in a way that the cast feels more comfortable with.

Meanwhile, Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess, “Catfight”) is gaining more screentime this season, promoting him from comedic sidekick to star of the show. While the previous two seasons of “Unbreakable” focused primarily on the advancement of Titus’s career — who can forget Peeno Noir? — Season three takes his personal life head-on, especially in regards to his relationship with Michael (Mike Carlsen, “30 Rock”). In arguably the best scene of the season thus far, Titus dons a yellow dress and accompanying baseball bat to “Lemonade” his way through the city. It’s difficult to keep a straight face as Titus struts the streets with signature twirl and smile — it’s a scene that’s authentically pulled off, encompassing the best of “Unbreakable” in under five minutes.

Since Titus’s Beyoncé breakout, it’s becoming clear that the series is becoming less about Kimmy and focusing more on the supporting cast. However, this is more of a good thing for Netflix-based series than a pitfall. In fact, this goes to show how the series in ways others of the same nature don't. Just as “The Office” focused equally on each member of its cast, “Unbreakable” is following a similar path.

However, it’s still refreshing to see Kimmy in the spotlight as she continues to grow. Unlike past seasons, Kimmy feels more mature, falling out of her hopeless optimism. She’s understanding that, as much as she wants or as hard as she ultimately tries, she simply cannot fix everything. And though she remains oblivious about some aspects of the world, she’s becoming wiser and more focused on what she wants to and what it will take to get there. Kimmy has gone from mindlessly advising Xanthipee (Dylan Gelula, “Chasing Life”) to taking on a parent-like figure that supports her and gives straight-shooting advice. In a way, Kimmy has finally grown up. She’s finally in control of her own life and taking on the world with a renewed vigor that gives purpose and humor to the newest season.

Season 3 of the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix.