I realize I’m a month or two late on declaring this, but here goes:
“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is the strangest, funniest and most surprising TV show I’ve seen in a long time.
Seriously, the Netflix comedy created by Tina Fey is all kinds of wonderful. My wife and I didn’t think we’d like it because, though we adore Tina Fey, we didn’t much care for “30 Rock” and I read that “Kimmy Schmidt” had the same comic sensibility.
But we love, love, love Kimmy Schmidt. We’re not exactly binge-watching, because we have a 9-month old and who the heck has time for that, but each week we’re watching 1-2 episodes and have only two left in the sparkling first season.
If you’ve never seen the show and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the premise: Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) was one of four Indiana girls taken hostage by a crazy religious nut, and kept underground for 15 years. In the pilot episode the women are rescued and Kimmy decides to move to New York, to start experiencing life.
She is, of course, hilariously unaware and unprepared for life in 2015. Her world quickly becomes populated with bizarre characters like Titus (above), her gay actor roommate, Lillian (the always-fabulous Carol Kane), and Mrs. Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), a completely out-of-touch wealthy trophy wife who ends up being Kimmy’s boss when Kimmy gets hired as her nanny.
The one-liners on this show come so fast and furious, and are often so obscure, we find ourselves hitting pause all the time while we stop laughing. (My favorite one-liner so far comes when Kimmy is trying to tell her new Vietnamese pal about “Friends.” He says “Oh, in my country we call that show “Six White Complainers.”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is streaming on Netflix, and is probably not for all tastes. But if you like bizarre characters and really sharp writing, check it out.
**Next up, I don’t know if you’re watching the Women’s World Cup or not, but the American team is doing quite well so far, undefeated and heading into the quarterfinals on Friday.
Norway, a team I wouldn’t expect you to care about, reached the Round of 16 before being knocked out Monday. But that result was far, far overshadowed by this hilarious and brilliant satirical video the team put out before the tournament, poking fun at themselves in a way few pro teams every would. The title: “We suck at football.”
I laughed really hard throughout, but especially at the “tools” the goalie uses near the end to help her do her job.
**Finally today, you don’t get to read many interviews with 95-year-old women. Partly it’s because we treat old people pretty shabbily in this country, ignoring their opinions and decades of life experience because we stupidly think “they’re too old, what do they know.”
But my friend Catherine Pearlman’s grandma Norma Shapiro just gave a dynamite interview to her grandson-in-law, my buddy Jeff Pearlman. Norma has led a fascinating life; she was basically “forced” into a marriage at 17, has had three husbands, several careers, suffered the death of one of her children, and is still incredibly active.
This article blew me away, because Norma Shapiro is incredibly wise, funny and in pretty great shape for a woman five years shy of a century (she exercises a few times per week, plays bridge almost every day, etc.)
A couple of her pearls of wisdom are below, but I really recommend reading the whole thing here. I guarantee you’ll feel better after reading it:
On beauty: I have to tell you—I was trained through life that I wasn’t beautiful. In the twilight of my life, almost on a daily basis, and I’m not exaggerating, almost daily somebody will say to me, “You’re very beautiful” or “You’re so pretty.” Daily. Either at a bridge club, on the bus. It doesn’t matter where I go. I hear it every day.
On if life was better “back in the old days:” I think it was easier living. Look, there are always hard times. I lived through the war with rationing—gas rationing, food rationing. But now young people are living through terrorism. I think these are hard times. I don’t know how young people feel about it, but I feel it’s tough now.
On technology ruining communication: I think the art of conversation is lost. I think people are very much attuned to their iPhones and so forth and texting. Because there’s so much texting people hardly call and talk on the phone. And I think the art of conversation, the art of being in contact with someone on a real-life basis instead of all these instruments, I think that’s definitely lost. I think the art of handwriting, penmanship is lost completely. I think the art of letter writing is a terrible loss because those things really can be precious in our lifetime.
On why she goes to bed at midnight or later: “Because I have so much to do.”