How Season 2 is Different
Let’s be honest, watching the first couple of episodes of the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is…uncomfortable. Given the controversy surrounding some of the ways the show relied on racial stereotypes in the first season, some will applaud the writers for choosing to address the controversies head on, I will not.
When you do finally get past Titus’ bizarre (and yes, highly offensive) Japanese bender and the subsequent thinly-veiled critique of “social justice warriors”; and the push to have Jacqueline’s identity as an Indigenous Person legitimized, the story arcs really start to develop.
Side Note: It’s clear that by having Titus commit most of the offensive acts, the writers are hoping to soften the blow, when they just as easily could have left those moments out of the script.
Character development is the number one difference between the first and second seasons. We’re finally getting to see real and honest emotions from characters. You get to see them laugh, cry, and fall in love in a way that was honestly unexpected. Getting to see Titus date someone while growing as a person, AND still being true to himself was a delicate balance, but so rewarding.
When we see Kimmy struggle to prepare for her GED while maintaining a healthy relationship with Dong, it’s the first time in the series that she feels like the lead character. While I have nothing against support characters doing the show’s heavy lifting (Orange is the New Black), it was nice to see Kimmy mature over the course of this season.
Many, but not all (see above), of the show’s social commentary moments are done well, and help push character development. For example, Jacqueline must choose whether to put her son on an energy draining medication to calm him, and Lilian’s constant fear of gentrification actually comes to fruition. These moments certainly don’t define the show, but they do provide a needed extra layer of depth.
Finally, although I won’t spoil the end of the season, I will just say that while some characters have a silly and predictable ending, Kimmy is really pushed to think and grow in ways that seemed nearly impossible for her in the first season. And the season is so much better because of it. I don’t want to give the season an actual rating, but I will say that it was even better than the first, and remains one of the best shows Netflix has ever produced.
I highly recommend it!