The end of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is more than just the conclusion of a show, it's the end of an era...hopefully for just a short time. With the finale of Kimmy Schmidt comes the closure of the Tina Fey and Robert Carlock golden age of madcap comedy.
Viewers first entered the world of Fey and Carlock established with 30 Rock in 2006. For seven seasons, Liz Lemon, Tracy Jordan, Jenna Maroney, Jack Donaghy and Kenneth Parcell entertained viewers with their antics behind the scenes of a fictional late-night sketch series. 30 Rock received 103 Emmy nominations during its run, taking home the Outstanding Comedy Series trophy three times.
After 30 Rock wrapped up in 2013, Fey and Carlock got to work on what would become Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (series star Ellie Kemper details the meeting she had with the duo in her charming book, My Squirrel Days). Originally intended for NBC, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt made the jump to Netflix after its first season was already completed. It eventually debuted in 2015, and it instantly felt like a natural sibling to 30 Rock.
Fey and Carlock's style of TV comedy is instantly recognizable. The jokes come fast and furious, often requiring multiple viewings to capture them all. And these shows, Kimmy, 30 Rock, and even Great News, seem designed for multiple viewings. The worlds are so colorful, the characters instantly relatable. It's easy to get lost in them. The duo and their writing staff excel at developing larger than life characters imbued with enough humanity to make them seem like your friends.
Like 30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt is a whip-smart comedy. This is a show about a woman who was kidnapped and abused for years, and here we are as viewers, eating up her misadventures with glee. The show continually tackled topics often seen as taboo but didn't trivialize them. Kimmy balanced wackiness with poignancy in an expert fashion. As the theme song said every episode, "females are strong as hell." That's something Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt never lost sight of, right up until the end.
"I hope the fans will be very satisfied with the ending. I, as an actor, was very happy with how the writers wrapped everything up," Kemper told us ahead of the final episodes dropping. "I think, for me personally, Kimmy's journey ends with such great dignity. And she…changes the world, which, I think, she deserves to do because she's been through a lot and she retains an optimism and a fierceness that most people might not be able to hold after going through such a horrible experience. So, I'm happy with the way the show ended up."
Kemper said the show was wrapped up so quickly, saying farewell to the character who has been with her for so many milestones hit her hard. "It felt like we were going 100 miles an hour and then Saturday morning, all of a sudden the show was over, which is a very strange—and sort of abrupt feeling to have. In a way it's nice because you're just ripping the band aid off…It's a nice thing, to be sad that the show is ending, because that means it means a lot to you."
And just what is the satisfying Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ending? Spoilers ahead!
Kimmy previously embarked on her quest to better society via a children's book, and it eventually paid off. Her book, which she got online thanks to her job at Giztoob, started to get the attention of the general public and educators. At the very end of the show via a flashforward, viewers see just how successful the book—and its message—became when The Legends of Greemulax theme park opened.
It was a happy ending for all involved, including Titus (Tituss Burgess) who made his Broadway debut in Cats and later officially in The Lion King, and got back with Mikey (Mike Carlsen). In his flashforward, Titus was a movie star—and proud father. For Jacqueline, we saw that Kimmy not only helped herself, but also those around her, including her former boss. Jane Krakowski's character found an equal romantic partner and ended up becoming a successful Hollywood agent, managing not only Titus, but Greg Kinnear. And after their apartment/sideways tug boat blew up, Lillian (Carol Kane) became a local celebrity and the voice of New York City.
It seems like a pretty tidy ending, one even Marie Kondo would find joy in, but Kemper said she's still holding out hope for the rumored Netflix movie.
"It's like I'm in denial, is that one of the stages of grief?" she said about the ending. "So, I'm in denial still because I feel like, ‘OK, she's not quite there.' I have her shoes, her light-up sneakers that the costume department was kind enough to give me, so I'm like, ‘OK, she's still there.' And, by the way, they might need them back if we make the movie."
As Kimmy Schmidt moves to the great TV beyond, forever available to binge on Netflix (like 30 Rock before it, but now on Hulu), in its place will be a hole that can only be filled with new episodes of whatever Fey and team cook up next.
All episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are now streaming.