Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a Netflix Original TV series that is about a woman who is rescued from a doomsday cult. Kimmy is trying to make a new life. The show is goofy and weird.
I put together some notes about things that stuck in my mind after watching each episode.
Warning: There are spoilers.
* Kimmy and her “sisters” were taken into a bunker by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. He told the girls that the world had ended at Y2K (2000) and that nothing was left outside.
People really did believe that something would end at Y2K, but it wasn’t the end of the world – it was the end of computer networks. Computer analysts speculated that the all the computer networks would crash at midnight on January 1, 2000. This would, they said, cause mass dysfunction because of how many things relied on those computer networks (including banking, satellites, etc).
Way back in the 1970s, computer programs included a date code that started with 1900. Every year, the computers would automatically go up one year. By 1999, people started realizing that the computers would not be able to go to 2000, because they hadn’t been programmed that way. One speculation was that the computers would just roll the year over to 1900 – which would obviously screw up a lot of things.
Of course, the world didn’t end at Y2K, and the computers somehow managed not to revert back to 1900.
So, it makes sense that Kimmy and her “sisters” would believe that the world ended at Y2K.
* Bunkers exist. President Kennedy urged Americans to build bomb shelters to protect them from nuclear fallout in the event of a nuclear war. A year later, the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, and some people built bomb shelters – just in case.
Today, people who call themselves “Preppers” build or purchase bunkers (or bomb shelters) for their families to live in – just in case the world ends or anarchy happens.
So, what I’m trying to say is it would be plausible that Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne had a bunker.
* Doomsday cults also exist, but I couldn’t find any that held people in an underground bunker.
* Kimmy had a Baby-Sitter’s Club book when she was in the bunker. That series was published in 1986. It was a series designed for middle-school aged girls to read. That fits the timeframe of when Kimmy would have been kidnapped and taken to the bunker.
* Kimmy and her “sisters” were on TV (as “the mole women”). Her “sister” Gretchen says that she met Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne after he bought some of her hair on Craigslist. Apparently, it is possible to buy human hair on Craigslist.
* Titus mentions something about needing to pay Columbia House or his tapes wouldn’t be sent to him. Columbia House would let people buy 11 cassette tapes for a penny. Then, they would sign you up for membership in a club or service, and you would start getting monthly shipments of cassette tapes – which you would be billed for. The process is called “negative billing” and (may not be legal anymore).
Columbia House originally sold record albums, and later sold compact discs.
* Kimmy realizes that Xanthippe, the bratty stepdaughter of Jacqueline (the woman who hired Kimmy) has been telling her friends a lie. Xanthippe said she had a boyfriend who was a surfer and that they had sex on the beach, and they only meet at night.
Kimmy figures out that the story that Xanthippe is telling matches the story in The Baby-Sitter’s club Mystery #12.
She threatens to tell Xanthippe’s friends. This would, of course, embarrass the stepdaughter who was trying to look cool to her friends. Those books are made for middle schoolers, and the stepdaughter is a high schooler.
* The Baby-Sitter’s Club Mystery #12 includes a surfer named Thrash, who meets Dawn (one of the Baby-Sitters Club girls who has moved to California). Thrash calls Dawn “kelea” (after a Hawaiian goddess). Thrash is about 20, and Dawn thinks he’s too old for her (but she has a crush on him.) Thrash fakes his death and disguises himself, but Dawn figures that out. He then tampers with another surfer’s board (because that guy tampered with his) – and there’s some kind of surfing competition going on.
The book does not involve any characters having sex on the beach.
* Titus shows Kimmy an old photo of himself. He is wearing a t-shirt that says Dole – Kemp – ‘96. Bob Dole (Republican) was running for president. His running mate was Jack Kemp. They lost to Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
* In the same photo, Titus had a “flat top” haircut, that was really tall. It was probably inspired by the “flat top” worn by Kid (of Kid ‘n Play).
* Kimmy is given a smartphone to use. She flips it over and asks: “Is that a Macintosh?” People used to call computers made by Apple “Macintosh” computers, or “a Macintosh”. That changed to “Mac” later – but Kimmy would have been in the bunker when that happened.
* Kimmy drags a huge tube television into the apartment. She says she can’t believe people throw away good TVs. Titus insists the TV must be broken and won’t work. Somehow, when Kimmy plugs it in – the TV works.
* Jacqueline (whom Kimmy calls Mrs. Voorhees) tells Kimmy she needs to send a photo of herself to Buckley’s school. One of Kimmy’s jobs is to pick him up from school. Kimmy asks where there is a Sears Portrait Studio. The last of the Sears Portrait Studios closed in 2013. Jacqueline teaches Kimmy how to take a selfie (after explaining what a selfie was.)
* Titus and Kimmy go to a video arcade because Titus needs to use the photo booth to make headshots for his audition. Kimmy comes back from the arcade and says she didn’t like how she looked in the selfie, and wants to use a different photo.
The photo she wants to use is a “Baby-o-matic” photo that shows what Kimmy and Titus’s baby would look like. It is hideous. Today, there are several apps for that.
* Kimmy invites her mole woman “sister” Cyndee to visit her in New York. Cyndee brings with her a boyfriend that Titus is convinced is gay. Later, it turns out that Cyndee knows Brandon is gay, but doesn’t care. He was her middle school crush and after leaving the bunker, she set out to achieve all of the plans she made when she was in the bunker.
The reason I put this into this post is because I’m also watching Grace and Frankie (another Netflix original series) at the same time. Two completely different shows that handle the concept of a woman dating/married to a gay man in very different ways.
* Kimmy is trying to get her GED. She is attending an adult education class in a public school. The teacher has totally given up and plays VHS movies instead of teaching math.
The teacher has tenure, which he believes means he can never be fired no matter what he does. In reality, tenure gives a teacher the right to due process. It means that a tenured teacher cannot be fired without a school presenting evidence that the teacher is incompetent or behaves unprofessionally. Or, they have to prove that there is no funding for whatever class, course, or subject the teacher teaches.
In this case, Kimmy’s teacher could be fired because he is clearly incompetent. Kimmy talks to the school secretary, who makes it clear that this teacher has been incompetent for years.
Teachers do not automatically get tenure. There is a probationary period of three or four years before a teacher can get tenure. Once they have tenure, it is possible for a teacher to be laid off (which happened to a lot of teachers in 2008-2009 during the recession.). A union cannot prevent an incompetent teacher from being fired or competent one from being laid off.
In short, the room that Kimmy’s teacher showed her, that looked like a teacher’s lounge where all the teachers were sitting and reading magazines – and getting paid to do it – doesn’t exist.
* Somewhere in this episode, The Expos baseball team is mentioned. This team started as the Montreal Expos. They moved to Washington D.C. in 2005.
Kimmy is surprised to hear that the Expos moved. She would have been in the bunker by the time the Expos played their first game as the Washington Nationals. The Washington Nationals used a red cap that had a curly W on it – which was originally used by the Washington Senators.
* Jacqueline went to China and returned with her husband. Kimmy asks “Was everything there upside down?”
This is an another example of Kimmy’s limited education before she was kidnapped and put in the bunker. In an earlier episode, it is revealed she never finished eight grade. In the previous episode, Kimmy tries to enroll in a Middle School, but is told she cannot do that – and that she should get her GED instead.
* Jacqueline tells Kimmy that she thinks her husband is having an affair. She says that he is on the phone, and laughing, and she wants to know who he is talking to. Kimmy suggests “Maybe Gallagher?”
Gallagher is a comedian best known for his Sledge-O-Matic sketch (in which he smashes a watermelon with a sledgehammer). He is still touring today.
* Jacqueline decides to hold a fancy party and invite the person she thinks her husband is having an affair with. She has a plan to catch him cheating on her.
Kimmy is working at the party, and needs to look fancy (which Titus helps her with). Kimmy was able to hire Titus to sing at the party. Before the party starts, Kimmy tells Jacqueline that she feels like she’s on Bravo. “They still show operas, right?”, Kimmy asks.
Bravo is an American basic cable and satellite television network and flagship channel. It launched on December 1, 1980. Bravo originally focused on programming related to the fine arts and film. In the early 2000s, Bravo changed its format and started focusing on reality shows, fashion and makeover shows, and celebrities. Kimmy would have been in the bunker when Bravo changed its format.
* At the party, an attractive man with an accent starts talking to Kimmy. He is a guest, and he makes an excuse about why he ended up arriving to the party early. The man assumes that Kimmy is also a guest, so she decides to pretend that she is a guest.
The man notes that Kimmy has arrived early, too. Kimmy tells him that her assistant put the wrong time into her PalmPilot.
The PalmPilot 1000 was introduced by U.S. Robotics in 1996. It cost $299, had 128k of memory and a monochrome, touch-screen display. 3Com acquired U.S. Robotics in 1997.
In 1998, 3Com had to stop using the name “Pilot” because of a legal dispute with the Pilot Pen company. The PalmPilot became the Palm. The Palm III organizer was based on the Palm 3.0 OS. It cost $399.
By 1999, more than five million PalmPilots had been sold. 3Com started selling the first Palm device with a wireless antenna, the Palm VII, for $599. Today, Palm and the PalmPilot are no longer used because people use smartphones instead.
Kimmy has a iPhone (which Jacqueline gave to her earlier in this season). It seems that Kimmy doesn’t quite understand that the status of having an iPhone would be much greater than having a PalmPilot. When Kimmy was a kid, having a PalmPilot meant you were rich and important. This is likely why she told the man that she had a PalmPilot when she was pretending to be a guest.
* Kimmy uses Titus’s Walkman. It plays cassette tapes. It runs out of batteries while she was using it. Kimmy was singing “Unbelievable” by EMF. When the batteries die, she says “Unbelievable!” The song topped the Hot 100 Chart in 1991.
* Kimmy tried to have her GED classmates meet together as a study group in the library. Almost all of them stopped coming. Kimmy goes down the list of classmates, noting what happened to them. “Fatima got deported,” Kimmy says.
* Jacqueline tells Kimmy that she is getting a divorce. She tells Kimmy about friends of hers who got divorced. One friend’s ex-husband “died on top of his girlfriend”. Kimmy asks, “You mean… like bunk beds?”
* Titus starts his new job at a themed bar and grill. To make a long story short, he is dressed as a werewolf. Kimmy is excited. “You’re a werewolf! Just like in the Bible!”
* Kimmy finally tells Jacqueline that she was a “mole woman”. Kimmy tells her this because she is trying to show Jacqueline that women can be strong (so Jacqueline will go through with her divorce).
To paraphrase, Kimmy tells Jacqueline that she and her “sisters” ate bags of dirt and passed it into a kiddy pool to survive. Jacqueline says she hopes that was a metaphor. Kimmy says it wasn’t a metaphor – they needed the iron.
Scientific American posted an article in 2012 about geophagia (people and animals eating dirt and/or clay). The article noted that dirt can contain iron. it also noted that dirt can also contain parasites.
* Kimmy has turned 30. She says she hit the big 30-oh. She probably meant the big three-oh.
* Kimmy throws herself a birthday party and invites friends. Somehow, the detective that found her (when she was in the bunker) arrives at her apartment with his teenage daughter. He wants to give Kimmy her birthday present.
Kimmy is not happy to see them. The detective (Randy) married her mother while Kimmy was in the bunker. Her mom and the detective had a baby girl (the teenager that the detective has brought with him). Then, her mom disappeared. Kimmy tells them to leave. (They do, but then appear at the party later.)
The daughter (who is named Kymmi “Kee- Me”) is played by Kiernan Shipka – who played Sally Draper on Mad Men. I find this interesting because I finished watching all seven seasons of Mad Men right before I started watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
* Kimmy asks Titus to select the playlist for her birthday party. She says “I haven’t been to a Sam Goody since 1988.” The last Sam Goody store closed in 2012. It was in San Diego. Kimmy is in New York City.
* During the party, the detective (Kimmy’s stepfather) gives Kimmy a necklace that has a locket on it. Later, she takes it off and her stepsister, Kymmi, grabs it, saying it is hers and that it belonged to her mother. Kimmy points out that they have the same mother. The heart shaped locket on the necklace holds a photo of Kimmy and a photo of Kymmi.
* Kymmi says she wants to go to the Olive Garden in New York City that has three floors. It exists.
* Kimmy’s boyfriend, Logan (who she met at Jacqueline’s party) wants Kimmy to stop being friends with Dong (who she met at the GED class). Logan and Dong got into a physical fight at Kimmy’s birthday party.
* Logan apologizes to Kimmy for the fight, and says he overreacted because he is not used to obstacles. Kimmy asks “What would the Care Bears say” about how Logan has been acting. He responds: “It would depend on the Care Bear.” Kimmy accepts this response.
* Kimmy tells Titus that she decided to stay with Logan, and that she will have to say goodbye to Dong. Titus responds: “Oh no! Am I gonna teach you about birth control?” He seems appalled by the idea. Kimmy says “not yet.” In another scene, it becomes clear that Kimmy understands kissing but doesn’t have a clue what making out or sex is supposed to be like.
* Xanthippe calls Kimmy a bitch. Kimmy responds: “You mean, the thing that makes puppies? Thanks!”
* Kimmy goes to the restaurant that Dong delivers food from to say she can’t see him anymore. She discovers that immigration came and took almost everyone who worked there away while Dong was out making deliveries. Now, he needs to find someplace else to live because immigration is after him.
Season One of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was released in 2015. I’m watching it in 2017. What may have been an uncomfortable joke in 2015 has become reality for undocumented immigrants in the United States in 2017.
Kimmy brings Dong to her apartment (which she shares with Titus) and tells Dong he can sleep on her couch. After they get there, she tells Dong that Logan is her boyfriend and she can only be friends with Dong.
* Long story short, Xanthippe creates this ridiculous scene in an effort to encourage her mother to decide to let Xanthippe live with her father. Kimmy ends up kissing Dong. He leaves, saying he will find a new place to live. There is chemistry between them.
* Logan later tells Kimmy that he was the one that called immigration. He thinks he’s hilarious. Kimmy breaks up with him, and rushes to find Dong before he gets on a bus. They become a couple. Dong says that he is still worried about immigration coming for him – and says it would be safer if he and Kimmy got married.
Again, what was a dramatic moment in the 2015 TV show is something that has become reality for some people in the United States in 2017. That being said, the rules have changed, and American citizens who were married to undocumented immigrants have actually had their spouse deported (or prevented from entering the country.)
* Kimmy gets summoned to testify at a trial against Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. She doesn’t want to go.
* Kimmy talks to Jacqueline about all the things she’s worried about. Kimmy worries about getting Jacqueline through her divorce. She is worried about maybe marrying Dong. And now, she’s worried about the trial.
Jacqueline takes Kimmy to a spin class called “Spiritual Spinning.” Jacqueline says it gets her mind off of everything except herself.
* This is the episode where it is revealed that Jon Hamm is playing Reverend Wayne Gary Wayne. Jon Hamm played Don Draper on Mad Men. So, that’s two people from Mad Men (which I finished watching before I started watching this) who have appeared in Season 1 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
* The trial is a farce. Kimmy’s “sister” Cyndee keeps calling Kimmy, leaving messages and texts, in the hopes that she will come to the trial. Kimmy and Cyndee have smartphones and know how to use them. Gretchen arrives at the trial still dressed like she was in the bunker.
* Titus helps Kimmy see that the Spiritual Spinning class is basically a cult. It’s run by an (apparently) charismatic man, who tells them what to think (and what NOT to think about) and who rewards some of them with extra attention.
Kimmy eventually gets what Titus is saying. She agrees it is a cult, and asks “Why does this keep happening?” This realization makes Kimmy decide to go to the trial and testify against the Reverend. But first, Kimmy shows the entire spin class that the guy running it is a fraud.
* Kimmy and Titus ride a bus to Indiana so Kimmy can testify at the trial against Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. Titus is reading a magazine called “Land Mall”.
It appears to be the bus version of Sky Mall, a magazine that people find on airplanes. Sky Mall is filled with stuff for people to buy (most of which are things that no one really needs). Land Mall doesn’t exist.
* Later in the episode, Titus is wearing a t-shirt that has Z 101 FM on it. He got the t-shirt because he was on the air (probably talking about the trial Kimmy is testifying at).
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt aired in 2015. I am watching it in 2017. Right now, Z 101 FM is a Spanish language radio station from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
* This episode reveals what the real purpose of the “Mystery Crank” in the bunker was.
* Part of this episode, and the previous one, mentions viral videos. The man who sings in the intro of the show warns Titus that having a video go viral isn’t necessarily a good thing. The viewer can assume that the intro of the show was a remixed viral video that included an interview he gave to a TV crew as the “mole women” were being rescued from the bunker.
Titus, who gave a hysterically bad interview on TV in the previous episode, had become the star of a viral video (when someone else remixed it). He is certain that the video will make him famous – and that being famous will solve all his problems.
The first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes place on 2015. If I remember correctly, at that time, videos that went viral made the news (and made it onto multiple news channels and websites). That doesn’t really happen anymore.
* The trial against Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne takes an unexpected turn when Kimmy introduces a video tape that … oddly enough… is sort of a remix of its own. Each clip had the date and time it was taken right there on the screen.
* The first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wraps up the main storyline of the show. It also starts some new storylines that will probably be picked up in the next Season.
Notes About Things in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 1 is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.