During the Tribeca Film Festival, I was fortunate enough to see the first two episodes of Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Picking up about a month or so after season 3 left off, Kimmy just got her GED, Titus is performing on a cruise, and Lillian just wants to fight gentrification. But this is Tina Fey’s world and the characters are just living in it, so hijinks must ensue.
Obligatory SPOILER WARNING if you choose to keep reading. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rather than dividing up what happens by episode, it’s much easier to explain what happens by character. While Lillian and Jacqueline make appearances, it’s clear that Kimmy and Titus are the main focus of the show. Kimmy definitely has the weakest arc of the bunch, picking up right where season two left off: with a GED and an accidental husband. While first this does result in some hilarious phone calls between her and the Reverend that show off Jon Hamm’s acting chops, the gag becomes almost cringe-worthy near the end, as Jacqueline keeps advising her to not sign the divorce papers and instead hold off to get potential tuition money from him for college.
Yep, Kimmy’s going to college! After inquiring about whether or not her local community colleges have a crossing guard major, she runs into Daveed Diggs, who plays a charming philosophy major (and possible new love interest?) that helps Kimmy choose what college is best for her, which, go figure, might actually be Columbia?
Tituss, on the other hand, shines in these two episodes as he is lacking an “s” counterpart. After almost succumbing to a possible puppet/human three-way as an attempt to get a job on Sesame Street (yeah, you read that right), home from his cruise early, Titus’ attempt to surprise his boyfriend Mikey goes south when he sees him with another man. So, what’s a person to do when they think their boyfriend might be cheating on them? Bust some windows, Beyoncé style.
Titus performs not one, not two, but three shot for shot remakes of songs from Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade, underwater sequences and all. It’s a lovely sight to behold, especially his version of “All Night” near the end of episode two, which maybe have put a tear in my eye, and only proves that even though the show is titled Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus is truly the star.
Of course, this season isn’t shy of guest stars, including a return appearance of Fred Armisen as Lillian’s quirky lover, Robert Durst, and James Monroe Iglehart even reprises his role as Titus’s rival, Coriolanus Burt, clad in adorable costume for his breakout role in the Matilda matinee (since that’s when all the child actors are in school, duh).
But, the cameos don’t stop there, as at the Tribeca screening of season 3, the cast revealed that Laura Dern, Rachel Dratch, Ray Liotta, Andrea Martin, and Maya Rudolph will all be making appearances.
As usual, the episodes rely on one-liners or visual gags to get their viewers laughing, rather than the storylines themselves. But, there are a few good ones, including the obligatory Trump dig where Jacqueline brings up her alma mater, Trump University, gleefully shouting “Go Pricks!”
While the episodes got a few laughs out of me, especially with Titus “Lemonade-ing” his way through relationship problems, I’m worried that Unbreakable’s charm might soon turn stale. There’s only so many jokes you can milk out of “an adult with a child-like mind seeing the world for the first time” premise, and taking Kimmy to college only proves that. Though I’m excited to see where they’re going to take the rest of the season, especially with the list of guest stars lined up, I have to wonder what kind of paths the show will have to keep going down to seem fresh. Hopefully, Tina Fey can work her 30 Rock magic on this one.
All episodes of season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are available to stream on Netflix starting May 19th, 2017.