comedy

7 Reasons to Love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

image: NBC/Netflix

image: NBC/Netflix

I confess, I had the first season of the newest Netflix release, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt completely finished by Saturday morning.  I just couldn’t stop watching this completely wonderful show!  I’ve actually rewatched about half of it by the time I’m writing this.

The basic plot is that Kimmy is one of four women who was rescued from a Doomsday cult; she’s lived in an underground bunker for the last 15 years.

I’ve not been able to stop telling people to watch this show.

Here are some reasons why:

[7. Tina Fey]

If you’re watching this show solely to see Tina Fey, you are in luck! Tina does indeed make an appearance in a few episodes.

[6. The Comedy]

It goes without saying that this show is funny.  Though much of the humor is in line with that of 30 Rock, if that wasn’t your cup of tea you will likely still be laughing at Kimmy Schmidt.  The outdated pop culture references are a special treat to me!  Quirky humor reigns supreme here.  Some favorite lines are Kimmy’s, “Dancing is about butts now!” and when Mrs. Voorhees calls a piñata a Mexican candy animal.

[5. The Characters]

The supporting cast of characters are wonderfully weird.  There is one completely incompetent character that even got on my nerves a bit, but for the most part they are super interesting.  Titus serves as Kimmy’s roommate and the perfect sassy best friend to ease her into her new life.  My favorite character is Jane Krakowski’s Jacqueline Voorhees: a hilarious rich housewife with a surprising backstory.

[4. The Future is Now]

At one point, Titus tells Kimmy to stop calling the present the future.  Kimmy’s been underground for 15 years, so things that are commonplace to us are novel to her.  It puts a funny lens on the smartphone life, for sure.

[3. The Theme Song]

It’s so catchy!  You can hear the full version here.  They set it up as part of the plot as well.  It’s a mock auto-tuned news report, which reminds me so much of this one.  You’ll be singing Unbreakable! too.

[2. Kimmy Schmidt herself]

Ellie Kemper does a fabulous job embodying this funny, eternally resilient character.  The situation has resulted in Kimmy being somewhat alien in a world 15 years away from the one she left.  This creates fantastic opportunities for comedy.  It reminds me a lot of my favorite character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya– removed from the world of humans for so long she questions every concept both comically and in a heart-felt manner.

[1. Females are Strong As Hell]

If you’ve heard the theme song by the time you got here, I’m betting this is stuck in your head as well.  This is the most important message from this show.  We are resilient and we can overcome all kinds of crazy things.  You go, Kimmy!  And you go, Tina Fey!

Have you watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yet?  What did you think?

I can’t wait for another season!

WCW: Iliza Shlesinger

I like having Wednesdays free for a good Woman Crush Wednesday because there are a lot of awesome ladies out there that I like to talk about.  Today’s WCW is actually relevant at this point in time!

Iliza Shlesinger is a comedian who holds the distinctions of being both the first woman and the youngest person to win NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  She’s also a fellow Emerson alumni!  Her first comedy special War Paint is available on Netflix now!

War Paint is how I fell in love with Iliza, off of a friend’s recommendation. “She does this thing where she sounds like a goat,” my friend said as she explained her hilarious girls going out bit, and I’m glad I didn’t let this deter me.  I actually loved the goat sound while watching.  You’ll definitely know what I’m talking about if you watch the above clip.

Iliza has recently appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and is touring now.  I highly recommend War Paint.  If you love it too, Iliza’s new comedy special Freezing Hot hits Netflix this Friday!  I, for one, cannot wait.

Do you like stand-up?  Recommend me some comedians, preferably whose work I can stream on Netflix!

Favorites Week: Friends

Friends-Wallpaper-tv-series-photo-Lunch-Atop-a-Skyscraper-Photography

Shout out to my Emerson alumni network for this one– I gotchu, Kevin Bright!  The final show featured on Favorites Week is one near and dear to my heart.  I watched Friends from start to finish to heal from my first ever break-up, and I return to this show when I feel particularly hopeless.  It’s not only good for a laugh and a smile, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, thus perfect for readjusting your mental state.  As the theme song suggests, I truly feel like Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey will be there for me.  And they are.  Here are my favorite episodes:

 

The One with the Prom Video

I especially love any Friends episode that has a flashback.  I love Fat Monica; I love Rachel’s old nose.  This episode prominently features a flashback of sorts, in that the gang gathers to watch a video of Monica and Rachel getting ready to go to prom.  This episode follows the discovery of Ross’s list.  (She’s not Rachem.)  When Rachel sees in the video that Ross, who was in college at this point, was willing to drop everything and take her to prom when it looked like her date was standing her up, she immediately kisses him and Ross and Rachel are officially on!  (He’s her lobster!)  It’s a sweet ending to a very funny episode.

 

The One with the Embryos

Sadly, Phoebe is absent for the majority of the fun in this episode.  She’s busy getting embryos implanted, as the episode title alludes to.  What I think it really fun about this episode is the trivia contest hosted by Ross.  Joey and Chandler challenge Monica and Rachel to see which set of roommates knows more about the other.  Ross makes the questions, as he knows both groups well, and he goes all out on the game even incorporating a lightning round.  I can quote the entire lightening round by heart, and I’m really proud of that.  The guys win at the end because no one know what Chandler’s job is, and as winners they make the girls switch apartments with them.

 

The One with All the Thanksgivings 

Okay, no show does a Thanksgiving episode as well as Friends.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and Monica’s too.  Chandler, however, hates Thanksgiving and refuses to celebrate.  This episode is full of flashbacks, and flashbacks in the truest sense.  Everyone recounts their worst Thanksgivings ever.  Phoebe’s is in another life, Joey’s is when his head got stuck in a turkey, Chandler’s is when he found out his dad is gay, and Monica and Rachel have two: when Chandler called Monica fat and when Monica accidentally cut of Chandler’s toe when trying to be sexy for revenge.  (Ooh, I love macaroni and cheese.)  This hilarious episode ends with a sweet and funny moment, where Monica puts the turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler, who tells her he loves her for the first time.

 

The One Where Everybody Finds Out 

When Monica and Chandler begin their relationship, they want to keep it a secret from the crew.  Joey finds out first, and Monica and Chandler beg him to keep it to himself.  When Rachel finds out, (hilariously overhearing an obscene phone conversation,) she can’t keep it in and comes to Joey who tells her they have to keep the secret.  Phoebe is apartment shopping with Ross across the street now that Ugly Naked Guy is moving out.  She sees first hand what’s going on between Monica and Chandler.  Phoebe and Rachel try to mess with Monica and Chandler in order to get them to admit the affair, but soon find out that they are in love.  Ross gets Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment as Naked Ross, and soon his new view allows him to discover the relationship too.

 

The One with the Proposal

Okay, this is absolutely two episodes and I’m completely cheating.  What I love about part one is the silent auction which Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel attend.  Phoebe drinks to excess and Joey misunderstands the concept of a silent auction and buys a boat.  Rachel tries to convince the next highest bidder to purchase the gentlemen’s day sailor, but Joey wants the Mr. Beaumont!  The first attempt at a proposal is botched in part I– Chandler and Monica run into Richard at the restaurant.  “Maybe he won’t see us,” Monica comments before screaming, “RICHARD” to get his attention.  What I love about part II is the proposal itself.  Chandler, believing he’s entirely lost Monica to Richard, returns to their apartment to see Monica waiting to propose to him,

 

Guys, even writing all of that was such an emotional delight.  Friends really is a fantastic show and even if sitcoms aren’t your cup of tea, this piece of pop culture gold should be on everyone’s to-see list!

I think that was a great note to end on.  I hope you all enjoyed favorites week!  Leave me some Friends-quote comments and let’s laugh some more.  Happy Friday, kids; enjoy the weekend!

Favorites Week: South Park

Whereas the last two shows I’ve written about for Favorites Week may fall in my top 10 or so, today’s show sits solidly in the top 5.  South Park may be lewd, crude, and ridiculous, but this show– despite it’s liberal use of low humor– is smart, and hilarious.  Matt Stone and Trey Parker might be able to reduce themselves to a 4th grade thought-level to tell these stories, but within a week’s time span these days, they are able to create truly valuable satire and commentary.  Sometimes this show does gross me out a bit, but for the most part, I am impressed, and laughing my head off.  Here are my favorite South Park episodes:

 

Rainforest Shmainforest

Jennifer Aniston guests lending her voice to Miss Stevens, the leader of an environmental choir called “Getting Gay with Kids.”  As a former show choir kid, I totally love this name.  Mr. Mackey forces the boys to join as punishment for making fun of the cause.  They embark on a tour to Costa Rica that doesn’t exactly go as planned.  Cartman tries to make the creatures of the rainforest respect his authority, and by the end, even Miss Steven hates the rainforest. My favorite gag, maybe in any South Park episode– Kyle says, “Miss Stevens, you have a bug on your back.”  “Oh really?” she responds, “Could you brush it off?”

Kyle: Um, no.

Kyle: Um, no.

 

Towelie

This could actually be my favorite episode of anything ever.  The concept is so ridiculous, that reading the Wikipedia version of it is enough to crack you up.  It starts out with the boys receiving an Okama Gamesphere, a new video game system.  Then a talking towel, Towelie, shows up reminding the boys, “don’t forget to bring a towel!” but then asking them to get high.  They notice various agencies are in search of this genetically engineered towel, and their Okama Gamesphere is stolen as ransom.  Throughout the episode, the boys are completely unimpressed despite aliens and government conspiracies, and literally just want their system back.  Even though Towelie is “the worst character ever,” according to Cartman, he’s absolutely hilarious.

 

The Jeffersons

It should be noted that this episode obviously was created before the death of Michael Jackson.  It’s a bit in bad taste of his memory.  “Mr. Jefferson” is a complete parody of Michael Jackson, who acts like a child and neglects the needs of his son, Blanket.  In addition, he appears white and at one point, his nose falls off.  What really gets me about this episode is what happens when the police are after Mr. Jefferson, in attempt to frame a wealthy black person.  A spotlight hits the front door as Mr. Jefferson tries to leave his house and he lets out a Michael-style, hee-hee!  That one note is enough to literally make me laugh out loud.

 

You Got F’ed In the A

Basically, an OC dance crew comes to South Park and “serves” the boys.  Hilariously, all the adults act like “getting served” is literally injury-inducing, while the boys are confused as to what happened.  Randy Marsh, South Park’s best character, teaches his son Stan to fight back by two-stepping to Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart.  This juxtaposed with the dance crew’s let’s see you daaaance, suckah, you got nothin’ on me is pretty fun.  Suddenly, “it’s on!” and Stan has to form a dance crew of his own to oppose the OC crew in competition.  It ends with Butters tap dancing to “I’ve Got Something in my Front Pocket for You” while sets off a Final Destination-style chain of events that kills the OC crew… so they win!

 

Sexual Harassment Panda

Aside from the name of this episode being amazing, the concept of the titular character is as well.  Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda is a mascot who talks to kids about anti-harassment behavior.  Cartman is conversely inspired to sue Kyle for calling him an explicit name.  Soon, everyone in South Park is suing everyone else.  The boys seek out Sexual Harassment Panda on the Isle of Misfit Mascots.  Other residents include Willy the “don’t stare directly at the sun” Worm, Hoppy the “don’t do stuff that might irritate your inner ear” Badger, and Oinky the “run around with scissors” pig.  (Yup, that one’s not great.)  The boys convince Petey to become Don’t Sue People Panda and save the day.  This episode also features our favorite redneck at the bar, Skeeter, who don’t take kindly to your type around here.  See clip here!

Coats?

 

What are your favorite South Park episodes?!

 

Favorites Week: The Office

Alright, friends, you may have noticed so far that I really appreciate the comedic moments of the two shows I’ve highlighted for Favorites Week.  Well, from here on out I’m talking about comedies!  What is life without lots of laughter?  Today’s favorite is a show that always cheers me up when I’m down: The Office.

The Dundies

This classic episode has Regional Manager Michael Scott hosting his yearly “awards show,” an employee recognition event that he invented called The Dundies.  Each employee receive little trophies of men with briefcases and Michael provides a lot of unwanted entertainment.  It’s held in a local Chili’s.  As usual, we see Michael acting foolish, but when his illusion of grandeur starts falling apart, Dunder Mifflin Scranton rallies and lets him have fun.  Oscar says it best: The dundies are kinda like a kid’s birthday party, and you go, and there’s really nothing for you to do there, but the kid’s having a really good time so you’re kinda there.  Pam gets super drunk on margaritas and proclaims, I feel God in this Chili’s tonight.

The Injury

This is hands-down my favorite episode of the office, and it starts with Michael stepping on a George Foreman grill… which he has left cooking 6 slices of bacon by his bed.  It actually only gets more ridiculous from here.  Michael calls the office screaming in pain asking Ryan to come help him.  Instead, Dwight comes to the rescue.  On his rush out of the parking lot, he smashes his car into a telephone pole, stumbles out, projectile vomits, gets back in the car and drives to get Michael.  Meanwhile, the whole office is watching– “Ooh Dwight,” Jim says, “You forgot your bumper!”  The whole episode has a melodramatic Michael complain about his foot burn while a severely concussed Dwight tries to push through the brain injury.

Money

This episode is excellent for two reasons.  The first and foremost is Jim & Pam’s visit to Schrute Farms. They discover Dwight is running a bed and breakfast of sorts and can’t resist the strange experience of spending the night there.  B&B activities include table-making demonstrations, beet wine-making, a bit of farming, and Dwight reading an excerpt of Harry Potter before they go to sleep.  Jim also follows a mysterious wailing to find Dwight crying over Angela.  Pam discovers Dwight’s cousin Mose in an outhouse.  Very normal stuff.  They leave him a fantastic TripAdvisor review, which thankfully, you can actually view on TripAdvisor!  The second wonderful thing, and namesake of the episode, is Michael’s literal proclamation: I declare bankruptcy!  We actually get a nice Michael/Jan moment out of Michael’s money troubles too.

Fun Run

This is actually two episodes, but they share a name and plot lines.   This great episodes starts off with a bang– Michael hits Meredith with his car, accidentally of course, but gosh is it hilarious.

Guess what, I have flaws.  What are they?  Oh, I don’t know.  I sing n the shower.  Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering.  Occasionally I hit somebody with my car.  So sue me… no, don’t sue me.

When Meredith is hospitalized, we find out she has rabies.  Feeling badly about his part in it all, Michael has the office put on a fun run for rabies awareness and also Meredith.  Michael has a tough time at said fun run, because his idea of carbo-loading is fettucini alfredo and no water.  Dwight and Angela’s relationship comes to an end when Dwight kills Angela’s cat Sprinkles by shutting her in the freezer.  So, all around good times.  Jim & Pam’s relationship is confirmed at the end of this one.

Weight Loss

This is another two-part episode.  I love this for Jim and Pam’s adorable proposal, I love Angela’s continued affair despite her engagement to Andy, and I love Phyllis blackmailing her with this knowledge for control of the Party Planing Committee.  All of these things are great.  While the aforementioned proposal and Michael and Holly’s budding relationship make this episode stand out in the minds of most, this has always stood out to me for Kelly Kapoor’s dieting.  The very premise of the episode is that the branch that loses most weight collectively wins extra vacation days.  Kelly decides to swallow a tape worm (which she bought from Creed and is actually not a tape worm).  They way she laments, “I hate dieting, I hate it so much.  I hate this worm in my stomach!” only to have Michael misunderstand just cracks me up.

Bonus: If I’m having a bad day, I youtube this wonderful scene from an episode not mentioned about.  I simply cannot keep a straight face through it!

Friday Favorites: Welcome to Night Vale

Picture 1

If you don’t listen to Welcome to Night Vale, you should be doing so.  If you don’t follow @NightValeRadio on twitter, start now.

This twice-per-month podcast is unique, quirky, amazingly engaging, and hilarious.  Described as NPR meets the Twilight Zone, Welcome to Night Vale is a fictional radio show from a fictional town in Nevada.  Things are a little bit different in Night Vale…  Out host, Cecil, takes us through Night Vale’s news in a soothing radio voice.  Other residents of this desert town are featured as well, from the faceless old woman who lives in your house (played by Matilda former-acress Maura Wilson) to Intern Dana, who occasionally makes cell phone calls from another plane of exisitance (Jasika Nicole who played Astrid on Fringe).  If your interests are anything like mine, you will absolutely love this strange and macabre podcast.

This tweet is from last week, but I’m absolutely in love with it.  The twitter feed is a perfect example of the kind of humor you’ll hear from this show.

Hey Night Vale fans– what are your favorite quotes?  I tragically can’t remember which one used to be my twitter bio, so I really need your help!

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hillbillies Wednesday

Ah, another great theme song!  And closer, too!

The Beverly Hillbillies ran for 9 seasons, and according to Wikipedia, “paved the way for later culture-conflict programs” like The Nanny and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  The premise is all spelled out in its theme song: Jed Clampett, a poor mounaineer, discovers oil on his land while hunting for dinner.  He becomes an oil millionaire and moves his family into a mansion in Beverly Hills.  Instead of living a lavish lifestyle, the Clampetts– Jed, his daughter Ellie May, nephew Jethro, and mother-in-law “Granny”– continue to live their hillbilly lifestyle.  They make their own soap, grow their own food, and comedically, don’t understand modern convenience.  Mr. Drysdale, Jed’s greedy banker, and his secretary Jane Hathaway do their best to accommodate the Clampetts.  “Miss Jane” was always my favorite; she called her boss “chief,” but really was the brains of the operation.

My favorite gag in this show was the pool in the mansion’s backyard.  The Clampetts called this the “cement pond.”  Because they pronounced it “see-ment,” it took me a while to get this joke.  Hey, I was like, 10!

I’m also remembering a specific episode in which Jed tries to be a rock star.  I have a mental image of Buddy Epsen repeating “yeah baby, well baby” in a metallic-looking outfit.  This show was definitely in black and white, so really, how much could you tell?

The Beverly Hillbillies ran from 1962 to 1971– that’s a long run!  Though I’m sure outdated, I’m willing to bet the backwards antics of the out-of-place Clampett family would still pull some laughs today!

y’all come back now, ya hear?

Not Getting Married Today

Life has been so crazy lately that I really haven’t had time to write anything personal.  My brother graduated last weekend, which caused me to miss a post, so the Amazing Race finale recap went up late.  I’m hoping this weekend’s festivities don’t cause any other delays!  (This is your warning in case they do.)

One of my best and oldest friends is getting married this weekend.  Because I keep saying that, I’ve had the below song stuck in my head for at least two weeks.  They have absolutely nothing to do with each other, just that it’s wedding-related.

 

 

I’m completely in love with the musical Company.  My relationship with this show started out super rocky.  I was first introduced to it in college.  My then-boyfriend was playing David in his college’s production.  I was not wild about this.  My then-boyfriend had to be married in this play!  I was jealous.  Because being 20 is super hard.  I went to the show in a kind of begrudging manner.  He assured me that the show displays marriage in a negative light, which I thought was even worse, as at the time, I thought we’d marry one day.  What I found in Company is a truly unique social commentary.  I do not think it necessarily casts a shadow on marriage, but I do think it deals with some deeper emotional aspects of the human experience.

Stephen Sondheim, who provided the music and lyrics for the show, said, “Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we’re going to bring it right back in their faces.”

The 5 married couples in Company present the main character, Robert, with a shiny surface view of marriage, that he is occasionally envious of.  However, scratch that surface and see 10 individuals each struggling with their own issues and coexisting as a couple.  Oh, and spoiler alert: Amy and Paul do indeed get married after all this.  This hilarious exploration of Amy’s pre-wedding mind is just the kind of dichotomy Company loves to highlight.

Even in the relationship-happiness fog of my very early 20’s, I loved the subtle sadness of this show.  Company is profoundly beautiful, and the musical numbers are to die for!  The Broadway revival starring Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert is available on Hulu.  It also features the beautiful Christina Hendricks as one of the three girlfriends Robert (Harris) has throughout the show.  The version of (Not) Getting Married Today above is from this revival, and I cannot recommend watching it highly enough!

Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the wedding of the lovely couple I’m about to attend.  Tomorrow is for Stacie!

Have a lovely long weekend, everyone!