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The series follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Kemper) as she adjusts to life in New York City after her rescue from a doomsday cult in the fictional town of Durnsville, Indiana, where she and three other women were held by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) for 15 years. Determined to be seen as something other than a victim and armed only with a positive attitude, Kimmy decides to restart her life by moving to New York City, where she quickly befriends her street-wise landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane), finds a roommate in struggling actor Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), and gains a job as a nanny for the melancholy and out-of-touch socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
Since its premiere, the show has received critical acclaim, with critic Scott Meslow calling it "the first great sitcom of the streaming era". The series has been nominated for 18 Primetime Emmy Awards, including four nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series.
On June 13, 2017, the show was renewed for a fourth and final season, with the first 6 episodes premiering on May 30, 2018. The second half is expected to debut January 25, 2019.
Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was in eighth grade when kidnapped for 15 years by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). The Reverend held Kimmy and three other women hostage in an underground bunker, and convinced them that doomsday had come, gone, and had left them the sole survivors of humanity.
In the first season, the women are rescued, and go on to appear on the Today Show in New York City. After the show, Kimmy decides she does not want to return to Indiana, so she starts a new life in New York City. Roaming around the city, Kimmy comes across landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane). Kaushtupper offers Kimmy a chance to room with Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) in her downstairs apartment. However, Kimmy has to find a job in order to get the apartment. Returning a child who has tried to steal candy, Kimmy encounters his mother, Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) a Manhattan trophy wife, who mistakes her for a nanny, and whom Kimmy mistakes as someone trapped in a cult. Soon after, Jacqueline hires Kimmy to be a nanny for her 10-year-old son. As Season 1 continues, Kimmy falls in love with a Vietnamese man, Dong (Ki Hong Lee) from her G.E.D. class, goes to court to testify against the Reverend, and discovers how the world has changed in the 15 years she was locked up.
In the second season, Kimmy is sick of working for Jacqueline and acquires a job at a year-round Christmas store and then as an Uber driver. She tries to get over Dong who enters a green card marriage with another G.E.D. student and eventually is deported. As Kimmy tries to move on, so do Titus and Jacqueline, who both find boyfriends. Titus begins dating construction worker Mikey Politano (Mike Carlsen) and Jacqueline begins dating lawyer Russ Snyder (David Cross). Jacqueline also goes back to her Native American heritage and decides to take down the Redskins, who her boyfriend's father happens to own. When Season 2 ends, Titus leaves to be a performer on a cruise and Lillian protests the invasion of hipsters in her neighborhood, while Kimmy makes amends with her mother (Lisa Kudrow) after advice from her therapist (Tina Fey) before receiving a phone call from The Reverend in prison, telling her that they need to get a divorce.
Ellie Kemper as Kimberly "Kimmy" Cougar Schmidt, the titular character. Armed with only unflagging optimism, a childlike sense of wonder and an eighth-grade education, she attempts to regain the life that was taken from her and navigate her way through the unfamiliar struggles of New York life.
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon (born Ronald Wilkerson), Kimmy's flamboyantly gay roommate and an aspiring actor and singer. Melodramatic and self-absorbed, Titus nevertheless cares deeply for, and is very protective of Kimmy. Despite his talent and ego, he is plagued by self-doubt after years of rejection in the business.
Carol Kane as Lillian Kaushtupper, Kimmy and Titus' odd landlady. A proud born-and-bred New Yorker with a long, complex criminal history, she fights tooth and nail against the possible gentrification of her neighborhood (although it soon becomes clear that she hates any form of progress or technology). Despite her willingness to do anything to make a buck, she has a very big heart and will go out of her way to help her tenants.
Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline White (formerly Voorhees; née Jackie Lynn White), a wealthy and insecure socialite who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Despite coming across as arrogant, condescending and out of touch, she is very fond of (and heavily reliant on) her new employee, who helps her gain perspective on her unhappy marriage. She is secretly of LakotaNative American descent and is passing for white. As the series progresses, she gradually reconnects with her family and her culture.
Sara Chase as Cyndee Pokorny, Kimmy's best friend from the cult.
Lauren Adams as Gretchen Chalker, a willing member of the cult, who believes everything she was told.
Sol Miranda as Donna Maria Nuñez, a cult member who pretends to not speak English during her time in the bunker, and is revealed to be using the "Mole Woman" name to advertise products.
Dylan Gelula as Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees, the pretty, popular, and bratty stepdaughter of Jacqueline, who is later revealed to be hiding her high achieving, 'good girl' personality. After her father divorces Jacqueline, she is sent to Connecticut to move back in with her mother, and only appears in one episode in season 2. She returns in season 3, attending Columbia University, where Kimmy starts college.
Ki Hong Lee (Seasons 1 & 2) as Dong Nguyen, Kimmy's GED study buddy and love interest. An undocumented immigrant from Vietnam, he spends much of the show hiding from the authorities under the name "Richard Pennsylvania". He was deported in season 2 of the show.
Adam Campbell (Season 1) as Logan Beekman, a wealthy acquaintance of Julian's, who becomes intrigued by Kimmy after discovering she has no idea he is from one of New York's richest families. They briefly date before his jealousy over Dong spoils their romance.
Mike Britt as Walter Bankston, a witness to the raid on the Bunker, whose remixed interview (set to music by The Gregory Brothers) serves as the series' theme song. Walter Bankston is loosely based on Charles Ramsey, one of the rescuers of the captives of the Ariel Castro kidnappings.
Tanner Flood as Buckley Voorhees, Jacqueline's hyperactive, violent son.
Andy Ridings (Season 1) as Charles, Buckley's tutor, who has a crush on Kimmy.
Tim Blake Nelson (Season 1) as Randy Shipka, Kimmy's stepfather, a very incompetent state trooper who met Kimmy's mother while searching for and failing to locate the missing Kimmy.
Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, the man who imprisoned Kimmy, Cyndee, Gretchen and Donna Maria in an underground bunker for fifteen years and led them to believe that they had survived the end of the world.
Amy Sedaris as Mimi Kanasis, an acquaintance of Jacqueline's who is desperate to regain social status after her divorce.
Fred Armisen as Robert "Bobby" Durst, a former flame of Lillian's. This character is a humorous representation of accused serial killer Robert Durst.
Mike Carlsen as Mikey Politano, a construction worker who started questioning his sexuality after receiving an unexpected answer when he hit on Kimmy in season 1. In season 2, he starts dating Titus. In season 4, Mikey makes another appearance as part of their on-again, off-again relationship.
Anna Camp as Deirdre Robespierre, a wealthy, intelligent and dangerously bored trophy wife who becomes Jacqueline's rival.
Busy Philipps as Sheba Goodman, Artie's irresponsible Daughter ("Kimmy meets an Old Friend")
Production and development
The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock when NBC executives asked them to develop a show for Ellie Kemper. Fey stated that they found an "innocence" about Kemper's face, but also noted there was a "strength" to it. One idea was for the show to center on Kemper's character waking up from a coma, but this idea was abandoned in favor of the cult-survivor storyline.
The show was initially under development for NBC under the title Tooken. However, this was later changed to the current title. Eventually NBC sold the series to Netflix. Fey has stated that this was in part due to NBC "not feeling confident about watching comedies". Prior to the network switch, NBC planned to air the series as either a mid-season replacement or as a summer series.
Casting announcements for the remaining roles were held in March 2014, with Tituss Burgess cast as the role of Kimmy's roommate, Titus Andromedon. Titus is a talented singer who works odd entertainment jobs such as dressing up like a robot in Times Square or as a singing waiter at a theme restaurant. Also cast was Carol Kane as Kimmy and Titus' landlord Lillian Kaushtupper.
Shortly afterwards, Sara Chase and Lauren Adams joined the series. Chase signed on for the role of Cyndee, Kimmy's closest friend during their years in the cult; Adams was cast in the role of Gretchen, a 10-year member of the cult who believes everything that she is told.Jane Krakowski was later cast in the role of Jacqueline Voorhees, a wealthy Manhattanite who hires Kimmy as a nanny. Megan Dodds was originally cast before she was replaced with Krakowski.
The show's theme song, "Unbreakable", was produced by The Gregory Brothers and written by Jeff Richmond. It is a tribute to The Gregory Brothers' YouTube show Songify the News - auto-tuned news interviews that became viral videos. Richmond also wrote "Peeno Noir", a song performed by character Titus Andromedon during season 1, episode 6 of the series.
The show has been widely acclaimed by television critics, who have praised the writing and cast.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 95%, based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blessed with originality and a spot-on performance from Ellie Kemper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is as odd as it is hilarious." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Scott Meslow of The Week called the series "the first great sitcom of the streaming era", praising its wit, edge, and feminist tone. Brian Moylan of The Guardian noted that it is "the sort of show that could benefit from multiple viewings, because the jokes are so packed in you're sure to miss something while laughing."TV Guide named it the "best new comedy of 2015".IGN reviewer Max Nicholson gave the first season an 8.3 out of 10 'Great' rating, saying "Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is another winner in Netflix's original series catalog. Not only is it charming and funny, but it's unabashedly kooky, and Ellie Kemper nails the lead role."
Some reviewers have criticized the show's portrayal of Native Americans, with Vulture referring to a prominent Native American subplot as "offensive."BuzzFeed wrote that the show has a "major race problem" and cited the lack of a plurality of portrayals of Native Americans as the main issue with the subplot, stating that "the way Native Americans are represented on this show matters. It's not one representation among a cornucopia of representations; it's the single mainstream representation in years."The Daily Beast stated that when it comes to race, "especially in its portrayal of a key Vietnamese character, the show leaves much to be desired." 
In the wake of the controversy, Tina Fey responded: "I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There's a real culture of demanding apologies, and I'm opting out of that."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a 100% approval rating, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Not letting up in season two, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is still odd in the best of ways, wonderfully building on its unique comedy stylings and brilliantly funny cast." On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The series' second season was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards.
There was controversy surrounding the third episode from this season, "Kimmy Goes to a Play!," which involved the use of yellow-face and the name of a group of Asian-Americans who were critical of yellow-face. The group is referred to as "Respectful Asian Portrayals in Entertainment", or "R.A.P.E" for short. The Asian-Americans shown protesting against yellow-face in the episode are conveyed as unlikable buffoons. Anna Akana criticized the use of yellow-face and the R.A.P.E. acronym during her 2016 Asians in Entertainment Key Note speech. Alex Abad-Santos wrote, "The odd thing about this episode is that it's another Tina Fey project that paints Asian people, specifically Asian women, as crappy characters. [...] The plot feels like a pointed, ironic response to anyone who has criticized Fey's past projects for being lazy and racist."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds a 96% approval rating, based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 8.18/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt continues to thrive with a comically agile cast, notable guest stars, and a forceful influx of funny." On Metacritic, the third season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The series' third season was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth season holds a 100% approval rating, based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 8.33/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ends with a final season that's as topical as it is cheerily irreverent." On Metacritic, the fourth season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 6 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The series' fourth season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.