THE SHOW “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
WHEN | WHERE Season 3 begins streaming Friday on Netflix.
THE GRADE A
WHAT IT’S ABOUT At the end of last season, Kimmy got an unwelcome call from Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). He’s still in prison but anxious to end his (somehow) legal marriage to Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) from back in the bunker. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) has a new friend, Russ (David Cross), who may have an idea about how to change the name of the Redskins. Titus (Tituss Burgess) is seeking new career opportunities on a famous children’s program. Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) continues her political campaign against gentrification.
Oh, and Kimmy’s going to college.
MY SAY Kimmy goes to college (Columbia, no less)? Imagine the possibilities. There’s a new language to learn, and a new sensibility that life in a hole did not prepare her for.
Change the name of the Washington Redskins? Imagine those possibilities. “Kimmy” does that, too (continuing the story from last season). The consequences of this effort don’t lead to a name change, necessarily, but they do enliven Jacqueline’s romantic life.
Speaking of which, Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”) and Kimmy Schmidt, romantically involved — in this universe?
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is all about matching the inconceivable with the illogical, while keeping a straight face in the bargain. The wonder is that it always has and does. The opening scene of season 3, for example, has Titus washing up on a beach following his cruise ship misadventure from last season. He then promptly warns a seagull against commenting (“don’t even”), then gets back on his feet and before long is going on auditions for “Sesame Street.” “Kimmy” is also about seeing the bright side — against evidence and logic to the contrary. Or as Titus says, “If I’ve learned one thing, it’s the thing I’ve been shouting out at bus drivers for years: I’m a star.”
And so, based on six episodes for review, “Kimmy” remains “Kimmy,” which is about as good as the news can get for fans. The third season adds a few more twists, a couple of turns and a double reverse flip or two. For example, Dick wants to get a divorce from Kimmy so that he can get remarried. (That much was known in the closing minutes last season.) Who would marry him? That’s a triple reverse flip (and no spoilers here).
Meanwhile, expect more cameos, all brief, all in service of the joyous lunacy. Besides Diggs, Laura Dern, Rachel Dratch, Ray Liotta, Andrea Martin and Maya Rudolph have all signed on. Regular returning guests include Fred Armisen, Anna Camp, Mike Carlsen, Cross, Tina Fey, Hamm and Amy Sedaris (the hilarious Mimi). Josh Charles, playing a scion of the family that owns the Redskins, expands his guest shot from last season into something a little more regular this year.
Then there’s the music. The second episode is a melancholy detour of Titus’ love life, with original songs — good ones — by executive producer Jeffrey Richmond.
Finally, there’s this tie-in with this little show: “Orange Is the New Black.”
BOTTOM LINE For fans, the news is all good. “Kimmy” is as “Kimmy” was. Which is to say happily nuts.