Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 2 binge recap
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Kimmy, Titus, Jacqueline, and Lillian are back for season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — and joined by a few new faces. The jokes, 30 Rock parallels, sight gags, and callbacks are just as great as we remember them from the freshman year. Now that the entire second season is on Netflix, we’ve put together a guide to all 13 episodes that we’ll be updating in the days after its launch. Read on for all our favorite moments.
EPISODE 1: “Kimmy Goes Roller Skating!”
The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt opens with a timely event: Christmas. Wait. What? It’s spring! I’m so lost… Oh! Flash-forward. As our hopelessly ’90s-recovering mole woman heroine might say: “Psych!” Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) shows off stockings for our assembled characters (and someone named… Murasaki?), a dude in a Santa suit arrives. But who? Kimmy’s former boss, professional trophy wife Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), bursts through the door in a fit. “The Jews took my painting!” she declares. And Kimmy’s former GED classmate Sonja (Suzan Perry) climbs through the window and threatens her. “Ho, ho, ho, you ho! I’m going to kill you!” What the fudge is going on? It’s a mystery that’ll unfold over the next several episodes…
And so the series proper begins three months earlier. Kimmy is pining for Dong (Ki Hong Lee), now in a Green Card marriage to Sonja. It would be bad to pursue him, right? Wrong, insists Lillian (Carol Kane). She exhorts our goodie-goodie optimist to embrace the hedonism implicit in her ’80s-pop ensemble, a “Frankie Says Relax” tee and Cyndi Lauper/”Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” skirt. During a chance meeting at the Grim Dollar Store (actual name) to buy silver fish poison (there’s a citywide outbreak), Kimmy invites Dong to join her and Lillian on a night of wilding at… the local roller rink. He accepts. So does Lillian’s old summer camp crush, an odd fellow prone to literal crushing named Bobby Durst (Fred Armisen), a.k.a. alleged murderer Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO docu-series The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. But during their hangout, Kimmy’s conscience gets the best of her: She can’t break up Dong and Sonja. She and Dong roll apart, while Lillian and Bobby skate on.
Kimmy starts to have second thoughts about her second thoughts via some conflict with roomie Titus (Tituss Burgess). He’s getting divorced from Vonda (Pernell Walker), his best friend from his Mississippi childhood. They married when he was a teen who thought he had no future but selling mulch for Vonda’s uncle and staying closeted, but at the wedding reception, he realized he couldn’t live that way. That was the day “Ronald Effing Wilkerson” became Titus Andromedon.
Things take a turn when it’s revealed that Vonda had Ronald declared legally dead so she could collect his social security checks. Not only were they already technically divorced, but Vonda probably owed Titus money. Titus skipped away gleefully – and Kimmy was pissed. Is this how he solved all of his problems? By skating away from moral responsibility and mistakes? Did he have no empathy for Vonda’s heartbreak? Titus didn’t think so. “Because in the movie I saw,” he said, “I was a hero scoring a victory for young runagays everywhere.” Add that to seeing Lillian’s moral relativism in action, Kimmy is appalled, but also decides that if you can’t beat the “moral relatives,” join them. “Am I the only person in this city who doesn’t do ‘whatevs’ ‘whenevs’? Well fudge that sugar! Fudge it to heck!” With that, Kimmy resolves to get it on with Dong.
As Kimmy succumbed to the temptation of acting against her true nature, Jacqueline tries to reconnect with her own. Revisiting season 1’s most controversial story line, the season 2 premiere finds Jacqueline back with the Sioux family she abandoned and shamed with her white woman makeover, trying to win them back. But after trying to replace the tribe’s storied, sacred peace pipe with a vape and accidentally blowing up two grain silos, everyone wants her to leave again, pronto. Distraught, Jacqueline locks herself in the back of her hot, purloined cop car (see last season) and experiences a sweat lodge vision that seems to be prodding her to return to Manhattan and reclaim her old life. Has Jacqueline been born again? Or has that vision sparked at least a small want for redemptive change? Cliffhanger!
Back in New York, Kimmy crashes a brunch Dong and Sonja are throwing to impress the visiting INS agent and convince her that their union is legit. Kimmy pulls Dong into the bathroom and they begin to kiss, but dead silver fish keep getting in the way. So does Dong’s conscience. Would Kimmy consider waiting on him for, like, two years? Her mouth says Yes. Everything else says Sad.
Still, the experience reconnects Kimmy with her moral center. So when Titus storms out with a suitcase in one hand and a boom box in another, she assumes he’s reverting to his old conflict-avoidance, “runagay” ways.
But Kimmy isn’t the only one ending this episode by breaking good instead of breaking bad. In truth, Titus is running after Vonda in hopes of atoning. He finds his former BFF at the train station, apologizes, and asks her to dance the dance they would have danced at their wedding reception. She accepts, and with a proud (if lonely) Kimmy and a crowd of lovers watching them (because “Amtrak is for lovers,” you know), Titus and Vonda bust a move to Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”
And their choreography is tight.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting Dong back. Getting Titus to grow a conscience. Getting back in touch with her own.
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: “Murasaki” is one of Titus’ many past lives/multiple personalities. And in case you forgot who Sonja was, you’ve been reminded.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: She certainly doesn’t understand how her Sioux culture works. See: using a dream-catcher as a weapon to “fire nightmares” at her parents.
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: Depends if you agree with her embrace of moral relativism. “Where you’re from the Midwest, people say: ‘I’ll never cheat on my wife’ or ‘I’m not gay, I’m a wrestling coach’ and then Poof! The wheels come off, they do it all in one weekend and drop dead. Here, we say, ‘Eh, so I kissed a priest in a leather bar. Who am I hurting?’”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: “Psych!” “Brunch? That’s Frasier fancy!”
Best flashback: A peek at a typical Titus-Vonda date showed them making out while watching Saturday Night Live and revealed that both of them understood their relationship was a sham. Titus preferred men like Tim Meadows. Vonda preferred “skinny white boys” like David Spade. (Both liked Hootie and the Blowfish.) Runner-up: Watching all five of the aunties who raised Titus keel over from strokes at his wedding reception.
Yes, Titus said… “Get N’Sync, Kimberlake! I gotta go get divorced!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: At least 20. (We’re going to count the manymanymany Kardashian references as one.)
- Lillian, Decoded: a “disco biscuit” = Quaaludes or ecstasy
- Vonda: “I thought you at least ran away with a man, but here you are, taking advantage of some other goofy girl dressed like she’s on Scooby damn Doo!”
Kimmy (genuinely flattered): “THANK YOU!”
- Kimmy’s strategy for motivating Vonda to resolve her conflict with Titus: “I‘ll take her out for ice cream! You can’t be mad with a cone in your paw!
- Jacqueline leaves a conversation with her Sioux parents by bowing and saying “Aloha.” Given the touchy idea represented by Jacqueline being Native American, was this a sly swipe at Emma Stone’s controversial casting as a quarter Hawaiian/quarter Chinese/half white character in Aloha?
- Speaking of disguised pop culture jokes, how about that moment when Kimmy was chasing after Titus and she berates him at the Cinnabon cart by saying: “Your guilt will chase you wherever you go!” Was that a wink at Better Call Saul, whose main character, Saul Goodman, has run away from his terrible past to Minnesota, where he now lives under a new name and manages a shopping mall Cinnabon?
- The fixation with the Kardashians: the idea that Dong has been watching the show to improve his English, or how everyone knows about the Kardashians but can’t quite explain why. “I’ve never seen their show,” said Kimmy. “I just know Kim is a butt star and married a rapper who hates college and Kourtney finally ended her destructive relationship with Scott. Meanwhile, Kim’s firing back at the haters with a naked pregnancy selfie… Wait. How do I know all this? Oh, wait, I saw it on the news, duh!”
- Titus Ridiculata: He once had his legs insured like Mary Hart; his fave pizza is ham and clam; and there are three things he does not do: apologies, drag, and calculus.
- “Kimmy! It’s Sonja from GED class! Also, the cartoon Anastasia is about me!”
- Amtrak conductor to Kimmy: “Do you think we run a train company? We run late on purpose so people can find each other in romantical fashion!”
- Lillian and Bobby Durst crooning “Under The Manhattan Moon” together was high concept hysterical. Chilling, too. A story that began with Kimmy burping badly ends on Bobby singing of his incriminating belching during The Jinx. (“And that burping, what a disaster…”) The storytelling seemed to be linking our troubled heroine, who wrestled with “moral relativism” and guilty conscience in this episode, to Durst, the 2015 poster boy for moral relativism and guilty conscience. Provocative. Maybe they should go see that doctor together.
NEXT: Episode 2
EPISODE 2: “Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!”
Kimmy stumbles upon a year-round Christmas store and thinks: I must go to there. To work! Selling yuletide cheer is clearly a part our jolly secular saint was born to play and she isn’t going to take a lump of coal “No!” for an answer. “They say there’s a war on Christmas. Well, sir, put me on the front line, because if any enemy—Grinches or Scrooges—come over that hill, I’ll make them wish they’d never been born!” She gets the job and proudly wears her Will Ferrell makeover while marching home…
Only to have her old job almost run her over when trucker pill-blitzed Jacqueline comes to a screeching stop in the cop cruiser. She’s bent on recouping the bennies of high society living. “What’s the hardest thing for a trophy wife to do? Lose the jerk, but keep the perks,” says the former Mrs. Voorhees (now Mrs. White), reminding us that she got only $12 million in the split from her ex. (Only!) “I’m going to get it all back.”
This week’s mission: Getting close with current upper queen bee, Deirdre Robespierre (Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp), for the purpose of dethroning her. The two moms (oh yeah! Jacqueline has a kid!) pretend to bond over good wine and fake laughter while Kimmy leads Buckley and Owen R. into the sewers (seriously) to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jacqueline brags on her handbag made of famous Internet cats. Deirdre praises her for being a non-conformist –- because the bag was actually popular last year and now out of style. “Oh, Deirdre!” says Jacqueline. ”I can never tell if you’re trying to help me or if you’re trying to destroy me!”
Buckley isn’t the only Voorhees child Kimmy has to nanny anew. Wannabe brat/resentful high-achiever Xan is dragging her feet on packing up her room in the old townhouse because she doesn’t want to move to Connecticut with her father. She hates Kimmy for being the catalyst for her destabilizing life change. Being the cause of Xan’s Connecticut captivity and unhappiness gets Kimmy to doubt her goodness. Is she to Xan what evil Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne was to her? Redemption comes ironically. She contaminates every room in the townhouse with her Kimmyness — rolling through the kitchen like a cat burglar, puking the Ninja Turtles playdate lunch of baked beans and sewer pizza on the patio — just to ruin Xan’s memory of it. The wise young mope sees through Kimmy’s scheme — and she loves her for it.
As for Jacqueline, her scheme to re-climb the social ladder costs her dearly. She crashes an art auction, which Deirdre has attended, determined to make a splash and perpetuate the ruse that she squeezed gazillionaire Julian for more than she did. She buys a Mondrian for $11.5 million – or 96 percent of her divorce settlement. Mrs. White basks in the awe of the elite, even as her eyes pop with “Oopsy!” panic.
Titus is in this episode, too! When the shelves in his closet buckle from the sheer tonnage of his considerable, eclectic, colorful wardrobe (a Mickey Mouse costume, limited edition sky blue Air Jordache Thigh Highs, a pair of shants… those would be “shorts the length of pants”), Titus realizes it’s time for some spring cleaning, so he donates the stuff he doesn’t wear anymore to a thrift shop. Like Xan, Titus finds it hard to let go of his past, but the prospect of improving culture with his hand-me-downs heartens him: “Imagine a world where everyone enjoys my sense of fabulousness!”
Checking on his stuff, Titus is crestfallen to discover his clothes have been bundled in a garbage bag and marked down to a mere five bucks. He petulantly takes them back and throws them away, When Titus reconsiders this decision, too, the flip-flopping ab-fab do-gooder discovers that his duds have been claimed by a dude: Mikey (Mike Carlsen), the gay construction worker from season 1. “I thought your clothes were beautiful,” says Mikey, who asks Titus for his digits. he said. “You remind me of Carlos Del Gato from the Mets.” That’s a compliment. Titus — his heart swelling like a Grinch in Christmas — gives up his number. Could this be the a start of a beautiful relationship?
At least Titus knows who to ask if he wants to get into some shants.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting steady work. Finding a new home for the Titus collection. (“When I was a kid, [the Goodwill] was where I got my cool nurse shoes, and I was all ‘Hi, I’m a nurse, after our shift, let’s go to the bar at Ramada.’”) Brainstorming the Buckley/Owen R. playdate. Motivating Xan to move on with life. Working out her own existential crisis after her flirtation with “moral relatives” in the premiere: “I’m a lollipop with a question mark on the wrapper: I don’t know what’s going on inside.” She has faith that her new job hawking Christmas lights will provide spiritual illumination. “If anything can remind me what’s good and right in the world it’s this place!” Speaking of which:
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: Now we know where she scored the decorations. And it’s a very good chance that Jacqueline’s missing painting is the Mondrian she bought.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: “Oh, no! Those Santas must be coming from a funeral.” Um, Kimmy? Those two bearded men dressed in black were Hassidic Jews. Also, you buy a “Help Wanted” sign to advertise for a job, not apply for one. When you use your finger pistols, you shoot first, then blow the smoke away, not the other way around. And you know that time when the Today show put you up in the fancy hotel and you ate all that “free food” on the trays lying in the hall? Ask Jacqueline to teach you about room service etiquette before you travel again.
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: “They filled in a sinkhole. Now where am I supposed to number 2 when I have a gentleman caller?”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: Her suggestions for playdate ideas were Koosh Ball, Pokemon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Best flashback: Kimmy recalls that back in the bunker days, the way the new captive girl got respect was by walking up to the toughest girl and punching her in the face. We see Donna Maria Nunez (Sol Miranda) doing this when she entered the bunker — and then getting not punched and completely ignored, naturally, by the new girl that followed her.
Yes, Titus said… “Unacceptable! You people don’t know the meaning of the word sensualatitaganza!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: At least 20, including this bit of smack talk from Titus: “I wish Bruce Willis had let that asteroid hit you! Hashtag ‘spoiler alert’!”
- “Some say his mother made it with a doorbell light. When Rudolph was given a chance, he went down in history. And that’s reindeer’s name… was Rudolph!” I want a whole book of Kimmy retelling classic Christmas stories, and that poorly, too.
- Kimmy didn’t know what to call Mrs. Voorhees now that she was divorced. “Mrs. Voor-hers?” Nope. Mrs. White. Her Sioux family name. “It was given to us by a sarcastic census taker in the 1920s.”
- Jacqueline has no memory of Titus. His response? “We buried a robot together!”
- Dig the implicit, subversive “I’ll take Manhattan” joke in Jacqueline’s desire to start a philanthropy to help Native Americans, which she hopes will endear her Sioux parents. “The Dutch bought Manhattan for $24 worth of beads. Today, it’s worth a trillion. And I plan to make up the difference! … If I can get back into Deirdre’s world, I can start a charity that will make up for 400 years of Dutch oppression! And if I fail, I won’t be able to go back home.” So Jacqueline’s season 2 arc is about… American white guilt and reparations for the continent’s indigenous peoples? We’ll see if she stays on point.
- “Much like Icarus — a friend of mine who once put too much stuff in his closet — I put too much stuff in my closet.”
- “Mickey Mousing hasn’t been a thing in the community for quite some time.” Sounds like some kinky cosplay coming from Titus, but here’s a FUN FACT! “Mickey Mousing” is the term used for a kind of almost non-stop musical score to a film or TV show that’s synchronized to and mirrors the action seen on screen. It’s associated with old Mickey Mouse cartoons. “Mickey Mousing” gilds every joke and tells you how to feel about everything you see on screen – something that many contemporary comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, ironic and meta, don’t do. So when Titus tells us “Mickey Mousing hasn’t been a thing in the community for quite some time,” he could be talking about the show itself… in an ironic and meta fashion. Or not.
- In the world of Kimmy Schmidt, The Salvation Army is “The Salvation Coast Guard” and Entourage and Mr. Selfridge star Jeremy Piven has made a drum instructional DVD called “Own The Skins.” They haven’t sold very well, apparently.
- Mikey tries to hide his sexual orientation from the guys at work by airbrushing “a chick” on the back of his truck. Butch fail: His “chick” was new century LGBT icon Tilda Swinton.
- Kimmy on Deirdre’s scent: “You smell like summer.” Deirdre: “It’s actually pre-fall. But you’re sweet!”
- All of Kimmy’s selfies on her phone, which, taken together, form a mini-epic about getting attacked by a squirrel in Central Park.
- “I’m not a quitter, Kimmy. I watched Interstellar all the way to the end.” —Jacqueline
- Buckley is on a Little League baseball team, but doesn’t play, per se. ”Because he’s an owner. He just watches the games from his luxury treehouse.”
- Jacqueline: You know who Robin Hood is?
Kimmy: Uh, yeah? That Disney movie where Robin Hood is a fox. When you were little, did you think he was handsome and then, like, your crotch gets a headache?
Jacqueline: Are you kidding? That voice? And how he didn’t wear pants?!
- Oh, and yes, Chuck Lorre, the sitcom king (Two Men and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mom), really did co-write the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
NEXT: Episode 3
EPISODE 3: “Kimmy Goes to a Play!”
Who are we, underneath? Do we know who we are, why we do what we do? Are we real people or are we Jeff Koons sculptures of Ronald McDonald, blending easily into Jacqueline’s bare walls? What are our true identities? Are those ghosts in Pac Man really ghosts?
Can’t answer that last one, but everyone spends this episode pondering the rest of those questions to fend off haters. To Jacqueline, having an identity is all about keeping up appearances, no matter the cost — literally. Without Julian, she’s decided to stage her sparse apartment to make it look like it’s still being redecorated. But when a wedding invitation arrives, making her life look luxurious will take more than a stack of empty boxes; it takes Kimmy’s encouragement at finding a date who’s the opposite of Julian. Naturally, Jacqueline finds her idea of the perfect subject in a pea-brained dog masseuse named Douglas, who’s just young and poor enough to combat the Julian supporters who spurned her advances. Soon, though, Jacqueline figures out that she’s turned into Julian herself by treating Douglas like a dog (“bad Doug!” “bad dog!”), so she takes Kimmy’s advice and heads to the wedding, pulling a last-minute twist by grabbing onto Kimmy and making her her date. She really did take Kimmy’s advice, then: Julian’s opposite could be considered Kimmy. She’s young, she’s poor, she’s female (and strong as hell).
But for Lillian, a change in identity isn’t as easy to accept. Gentrification in her neighborhood makes Lillian feel like she’s losing herself — a painted-over graffiti mural of Notorious B.I.G. sends her over the edge — and almost goes about tagging buildings in protest when she spots a strange new code taking up the premises: “F105,” which she immediately interprets as “Efe Ten Cinco,” a hot new gang that could rustle up an even hotter, newer gang war to drive out the cardigan-wearing, golf-playing club. But psych: “F105” is really just “Fios,” as in the high-speed Internet being integrated into the area. Which means… if the place really is changing for the better, should Lillian be? If it’s no longer dangerous, can Lillian survive? If she’s surrounded by people who hate the way she lives, can she make those haters back off?!
And then there’s Titus, who knows exactly who he is right down to his past lives (including the pug, Titus, including the pug) and who doesn’t need to thrive off his surroundings. (It’s no wonder he missed the “no face journeys” sign in the library.) With some new income flowing in, he’s come up with a one-man show about himself — or rather, his past self: Murasaki, a Japanese geisha. Obvious questions over racial appropriation come into play, but Titus brushes them off, only to be hounded by an Internet forum for racial respect. Luckily, Titus — oops, Murasaki — wins them over with a rendition of a classic folk song. The boos from the group (and from Kimmy booing the group) fade away, and Titus gets a standing ovation. Take that, haters! It’s a miiiiracle!
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Figuring out what Titus can do with his newfound, over-the-table money from no longer being legally dead. Making the Internet (made of Chandlers) apologize for trashing Titus’ one-man show before seeing it. Finding a duck to bring to Jacqueline (thanks, autocorrect!). Getting Jacqueline to stop turning into Julian and ruining a poor dog masseuse’s life. Playing the part of Jacqueline’s wedding date.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: She buys a $30,000 antique rug to pretend to be wealthy until they’re kicked out of the apartment at the end of the year. She gets her dog a massage because she cannot have “a stressed out dog.” She takes the histrionic Mimi Kanasis — hello again, Amy Sedaris! — out to pick up old, rich men with skin tied in knots to help freshen up their visages. She decides to go to the wedding of a pair of wealthy twins who marry to keep the money in the family. (Could Cersei and Jaime finally make it, just in New York? Ha, imagine that crossover.)
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: She thinks “F105” isn’t “fios,” but a tag for a new gang. Yeah, it’s an honest mistake… for Lillian. She spray paints Biggie by herself, honoring him with a, well, minimalist drawing. Run, Lillian!
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: She has in-depth knowledge of Friends, from the way Chandler speaks (“Could you guys be any cooler?”) to when Aisha Tyler recurred in the early ‘00s. “Well, if Aisha Tyler can play a white woman on Friends, then I guess it’s okay.”
Best flashback: The montage of all of Titus’ past lives included Cyrus, the first openly gay slave; Alphonse, who almost invented the raisin; Murasaki, a Japanese geisha; and a pug dog, despite Titus’ protests otherwise.
Yes, Titus said… “My show’s on the Internet, where Beyoncé and the president live.” But of course, the Internet is made of Chandlers, and the Forum to Advocate Respectful Asian Portrayals in Entertainment (hmm… there are also ads on the page for Mole Women Mole Sauce) isn’t too happy with Titus playing a Japanese woman, even if, as he insists, “I she am was me her!” The thing is, Titus does indeed beautifully sing the Takeda Lullaby, a classic folk song. So… if a performer does honor the culture he’s portraying, the performance is therefore respectful, isn’t it? It’s a tough question — and it does feel a bit like Tina Fey and Robert Carlock twisting some of the criticism over Dong with this plot. Time (and thinkpieces) will tell whether it solves the show’s image issue, but as far as this story goes, the heightened humor solves Titus’ problem.
Estimated number of pop culture references: 7. (My favorite was Kimmy wondering “Or did one of the spiders that bit me…” and trailing off at the thought of gaining superpowers.)
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: We learned this week why Titus can speak Japanese and why Kimmy put up a stocking just for Murasaki. (Stockings for Cyrus, Alphonse, and the pug would’ve been overkill.)
- Look, it’s Aladdin on Broadway star James Monroe Iglehart as the performer of the one-man show Titus doesn’t want to do! Magical.
- “I’m used to being paid under the table. People drop a lot of cool stuff under there.” —Titus
- “We’re just friends helping each other out. I’ll go first. Stop sleeping on that side of your face.” —Jacqueline
- Kimmy could pull off her own one-woman show. Check out the lyrics: “Who’s that Kimmy knockin’ on my door, eating pickled chicken on the hospital floor.”
- “A person can outgrow a kimono, it happens all the time. They don’t fit anymore. You happy now?” —Titus… or is it Murasaki speaking?
- “Time to get more D’s than a kid with undiagnosed dyslexia.” — Jacqueline, really setting the mood for an evening of picking men up
- Douglas — as in DJ Fingerblast — and Kimmy both consider dream guys to be men with hands and feet where they belong.
- “Anonymous insults are never funny, except when you write ‘wash me’ on a car. That’s just funny, ‘cause it’s like, is it the car saying it?” — Kimmy
- “A chocolate fountain? How much drinks can you drink from it?” Same, Kimmy, same.
NEXT: Episode 4
EPISODE 4: “Kimmy Kidnaps Gretchen!”
Kimmy gets a call from bunkermate Cyndee, who wants her to watch a very important video of a cat and a bunny. But the video interests Kimmy for another reason: It’s an ad for a cruise ship run by the “Church of Cosmetology,” and Gretchen is a member.
Luckily the cruise is embarking from New York, so Kimmy goes to the pier and fights Gretchen to stop her from getting on the ship. To prove that Gretchen is capable of running her own life, Kimmy lets her choose their adventures for the night — then tags along as Gretchen steals a cop’s gun, does drugs with a “junkyard Elmo,” and gets a tattoo in a bus station bathroom.
A lifetime of competitive gymnastics and bunker madmen have left Gretchen unable to make her own choices, but Kimmy has an idea: She uses an app on Gretchen’s Apple watch to make her sound authoritative (courtesy of Frasier) and suggests that Gretchen start her own cult. Gretchen rents a bus, recruits some followers, and begins a new life.
Meanwhile, Titus and Mikey are going on their first date. Nervous, Mikey shows up hours early and asks Titus to help him pick out his outfit, leading Titus to worry that Mikey is too inexperienced to keep up with him. The night gets off to a rocky start; with Mikey by his side, Titus isn’t getting into any of his usual clubs. But the men bond over their mutual love of The Lion King, and Titus lets down his guard long enough to share a bite of Mikey’s halal food — and then sneeze on him.
Lillian finds Titus in bed alone the next morning, having pushed Mikey away because he’s scared to actually care about him. Titus asks Mikey not to call him again, so Lillian intervenes, visiting Mikey at his construction site to smooth things over. Mikey tells her that Titus is just too complicated for him right now.
But later Mikey stops by Titus and Kimmy’s apartment to get his multi-tool, which surprises Titus; his dates don’t usually come back for the things they leave behind. The two decide to give it another try, and they kiss as Kimmy and Lillian watch through keyholes. Lillian took Mikey’s multi-tool and planted it at the apartment to lure him back. This was her design.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Helping Titus get ready for his date. Keeping Gretchen from the Church of Cosmetology. Avoiding the police. Helping Gretchen chart her own path.
Guest stars: Steve Buscemi, Patrick Stewart, and Kelsey Grammer lend their voices to Gretchen’s app. Dean Winters stars in show-within-a-show Bunny and Kitty.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: She thinks MILF stands for “My Interesting Lady Friend.”
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: She thinks BBQ potato chips are interchangeable with rose petals… and proceeds to lay them all over Titus’ bed.
Mikey doesn’t understand how the world works: “Which one of us opens doors for the other? Or are there no doors? Do we not use doors?”
Gretchen doesn’t understand how the world works: At all.
Best bunker flashback: Gretchen eulogizes Li’l Lisa, who was actually the Reverend dressed as a woman, then puts her hand on the water heater — prompting Donna Maria to cry out in English before remembering that she isn’t supposed to know the language.
Yes, Titus said… “I once went to a Halloween party dressed as Nathan Lane Bryant. It was moderately well received.”
Estimated number of pop culture references: 9, including the revelation that the Reverend “claimed he came up with the ‘Buy the World a Coke’ commercial” — a nod to Jon Hamm’s Mad Men character
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: No explanation here, but Kimmy does burp again.
Viral video moment: Kimmy’s “Bunny and Kitty” song is both adorable and catchy. (“Solving mysteries one hug at a time.”)
- Lillian refers to the apartment as a tugboat, then corrects herself: “This is a normal apartment building, everybody.”
- “How does a Patriots shirt not work? Those guys are so friggin’ gay!” —Mikey
- Titus: “What’s-his-name threw a hammer at me.”
Lillian: “His name is Robert Durst, and he only did that because he likes you.”
- The Church of Cosmetology commercial narrator doesn’t know if outsiders are “lizard people” or “lotion people” because “the napkin the Founder wrote this part on got wet.”
- “I have access to steps now!” —Kimmy
- “I thought the hard part of being gay was going to be figuring out scarves.” —Mikey
- “Dude, that is my favorite movie, play, T-shirt, and sleeping bag ever.” —Mikey on The Lion King
- Titus puts Mikey in his phone as “construction otter.”
- “You think you know everything because you got bit by a roach that crawled out of the dictionary.” —Titus
NEXT: Episode 5
EPISODE 5: “Kimmy Gives Up!”
Kimmy’s all ready to take and ace the GED. Problem is, the GED office only has a confirmation letter for one student — and it’s Dong. (Kimmy’s letter was at home in Titus’ Quest Diagnostic Barbie chalet.) Kimmy uses this opportunity to drop the letter off at Dong’s, and he ends up venting to her about how scared he is of getting deported. See, his interview with the immigration office is the next day, and he has to convince them that his relationship with Sonya is real. This is difficult seeing as their relationship is, well, not real.
Kimmy helps by taking photos of them in various “locations” (translation: a rotating bus stop ad that features photos of a beautiful beach, picturesque mountains, and Steve Harvey) and compiling them together for one happy album. That’s all you need to prove that you’re truly in love, right?
It works, but Kimmy realizes she can’t keep waiting on Dong. She has to move on with her life, so she deletes his number from her phone. (Oh, by the way: Kimmy falls asleep taking the GED and fails. Next time’s a charm?)
Meanwhile, Titus’ love life is flourishing. He’s so smitten with Mike that he can’t stop singing showtunes… and then Lillian points this out, and he’s suddenly so aware of his happiness that he’s afraid it’s going to disappear. After some freaking out, Lillian eventually reminds Titus that, sure, good times don’t last forever, but they’re worth enjoying anyway. With that, the two launch into the episode’s delightful concluding song as a montage featuring Jacqueline (kind of) bonding with her son and Dong sadly sniffing Kimmy’s scrunchie plays on.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting Dong his GED confirmation letter. Making sure Dong doesn’t get deported. Taking the GED. Moving on from Dong.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: On a rare day alone with her kid, Jacqueline literally utters, “I don’t know how to do this.” Parenting is a foreign concept to her, so she spends the day struggling with how to care for her own son.
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: She thinks simply warning Kimmy not to “breathe too much” is an effective way to prevent asbestos poisoning.
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: She left her beloved blue scrunchie — you know, the oversized hair tie once a hit among anyone with a ponytail — at Dong’s, and laments how this throws her “whole weekly rotation” off. “I can’t wear a green scrunchie on Thursday,” she reasons. “Everyone will think I’m horny.” Titus agrees.
Best flashback: Lillian tells Kimmy, “You can’t keep running into a brick wall.” Wrong: A flashback reveals that Kimmy spent plenty of time running into brick walls back in her bunker days. “How does the Kool-Aid man do this?” she breathlessly utters after slamming herself against the hard surface in the clip. Good question, Kimmy. Good question.
Yes, Titus said… “It’s from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Croon Cron Croon, which was eventually reworked into The Sound of Music. Ugh, thank you, Nazis, for saving show business! I said it!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: 24
- Lillian’s history with convicted murderer Robert Durst just keeps getting better. “You sure you’re not just using this as an excuse to see him?” Lillian asks Kimmy, referring to Dong. “Like when Bobby Durst came back to get his conveniently forgotten bow saws? Sly devil. [Pauses] Maybe real devil.”
- The more Titus sings, the better — even if he doesn’t agree. “When I was singing before, it didn’t even occur to me that I was happy,” he says. “I thought it was just gas coming out in a weird way.” If that’s true, gas has never sounded so good.
- The drug Jacqueline gives Buckley is called Dyziplen.
- Jacqueline meets a nanny at the park who is writing a tell-all about her boss amazingly titled Sippy Cup Rosé.
- Kimmy doesn’t quit. Ever. “I can’t give up on stuff. I still want Nickelodeon to take over my school.”
NEXT: Episode 6
EPISODE 6: “Kimmy Drives a Car!”
Thing are finally breaking in Kimmy and Jacqueline’s relationship. Ms. White is basically the only person to text Kimmy, and it’s always for help, without compensation or graciousness. This time, it’s to flip the coffee maker on, followed by buying booze for 200 people for her gala fundraiser. Then it’s trying to get Jacqueline into a dentist appointment after breaking a tooth on a biscotti. The constant running around means Kimmy can’t be working at the Christmas store at the same time — a place that actually pays her.
The Mentos tooth replacement looked good in the moment, but Jacqueline couldn’t finagle her way into an emergency appointment. Now fired from her job, Kimmy is talked into driving — without a license — Jacqueline to the Hail Mary incisor option: Señor Dentista, the neighborhood’s walk-in quack. Because he’s sans legitimacy, his shop goes out of business just as they arrive. Jacqueline continues to treat Kimmy poorly, causing her to uncharacteristically snap and insist on being paid. Jacqueline begrudgingly agrees, “because you’re my employee, and nothing more.”
It takes rock bottom for her to consider acting a little more Kimmy-like and be nice. During a rough bus ride, she spies Linda, the receptionist she berated earlier. After Linda breaks her heel, Jacqueline literally puts herself in Linda’s shoes, and vice versa. She and Kimmy end up on good terms; as the employer-worker relationship ends, their friendship resumes. Let’s see how “Kimmy: Uber driver” turns out.
Meanwhile: Hipsters attack! The basement is listed on Airbnb and rented by a with-it couple, Bob and Sue, from Austin, Texas, scouting locations for their start-up Sole Food, an artisanal fair-trade sneaker experience, located in a former soul food restaurant. The only possible location is one special to Lillian, the former go-to place for her and her late husband, Roland.
All Titus wants is to buy capes with his Airbnb money from the costume shop down the street. But finds out Pawn Werlt was a victim of gentrification and has become a vape shop. Since the location where he and Lillian first met is no more, he protects Mabel’s Soul Food for her and lies to the hipsters about a rival sneakertorium that already planted roots in the neighborhood. Though the Airbnb couple leave broken, a new crop of hipsters appear to sneak into the purported speakeasy.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Balancing work at the Christmas store and providing free, unappreciated labor for Jacqueline.
Guest stars: SNL‘s Kenan Thompson appears in a flashback as Roland. Sofia Mamet (Girls) and Evan Jonigkeit (X-Men: Days of Future Past) are the invading hipster couple from Austin.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: Turning on the fancy coffee maker constitutes as cooking in her life. That one can simply land a same-day dental appointment in a big city. She believes Malcolm X was a rapper.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: Wi-Fi is a mystery. She thinks that newspaper are a thing and the classifieds section are confidential. In trying to correct Jacqueline, Kimmy refers to Malcolm X as Malcolm the 10th, a “Black Pope.”
Titus doesn’t understand how the world works: His definition of the Internet is essentially the memed explanation once given by late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens: “[The Internet’s] not a big truck, it’s a series of tubes. And those tubes are filled with the Internet, and it’s coming here through the air.”
Kimmy loves the ’90s: Our redheaded heroine digs up stand-up comics railing against the DMV and cracks Mimi and Titus up. (Val Kilmer was her hottie of choice in one of the jokes.) She impersonates Jacqueline in a distinct Mrs. Doubtfire voice. Her middle name on her learner’s permit is “Cougar,” an homage to rocker John Mellencamp. The apartment has a Columbia House subscription. Kimmy is stoked to receive a stretchy sticky hand from Jacqueline.
Best bunker flashback: Kimmy’s brief driving lessons come from a simulated experience with Donna Maria barking less-than-inspirational orders at her (in Spanish), and Cyndee emulating the radio.
Yes, Titus said… “Please, what’s scary about books? Just a bunch of leather-bound paper that used to be cows and trees, and they won’t rest until we pay for what we’ve done to them!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: 6, including Kimmy wanting Jacqueline to play the KITT to her Michael Knight. The real highlight was …
Viral video moment: The Mentos commercial to polish off the episode isn’t at Peeno Noir levels, but it sure hits a nostalgic note with its refreshing mints and cheesy smiles.
- The autocorrect gag unexpectedly struck when Titus listed the basement on Airbnb, calling it a “cozy uptown duck palace.”
- “Okay, Kimmy, I have been exploited in the past. I once went to an open audition that was just a bum fight.” —Titus
- “I get making people wait for a kidney, but this is something people can see: The mouth is the eyes of the lower face.” —Jacqueline
- “Teeth are the boobs of the mouth.” —Mimi
- Lillian hates gentrification: “I miss the old days when the longest word I knew was friggingiuliani.”
- All dramatic exits from scenes would be enhanced with a cape.
- The moment Titus tells Kimmy that Santa isn’t real will be the most crushing of the series.
- The dilapidated Chuck E. Cheese robots reenacting a Full House episode sounds grand. Bob and Sue would see that.
- Jacqueline says her non-existent dental appointment is for 2:30 — or as kids say, “tooth-hurty.”
- “This is worse than childbirth — and Buckley initially tried to Alien his way out of me.” —Jacqueline on her missing tooth
NEXT: Episode 7
EPISODE 7: “Kimmy Walks Into a Bar!”
It’s finally the day of Jacqueline’s First Americans for Turtle Island gala, but she’s in for a big surprise when she discovers that the the venue, talent (Sting), and invitees have the wrong date… thanks to Mimi’s attempt at being fancy with European-style dates. At first she’s defeated and can’t muster the energy to fight with fellow socialite Deirdre, who is having a gala of her own that night to benefit lupus awareness awareness. (No, not a typo. Her gala is to raise awareness for lupus awareness.)
Deirdre pushes Jacqueline to stir up some drama, to dethrone her as alpha mom like she did at a Ho-Ho-Hoedown party the previous year, and after some convincing she finally does. She turns her apartment into the venue, has Mimi fill in as the talent (dressed like Sia with a massive wig that covers her face), and calls upon the mistresses of NYC to bring their lovers as the guests and doners.
Things take a turn for the worse when the attendees realize that the event is to benefit Native Americans. One man believed he was supporting a super PAC, and another said, “I thought it was for Turtle Island. That private island where people like me go to dress like turtles and do stuff to turtles.” Since they all give only to causes that benefit themselves, Jacqueline feels defeated — but hey, she did pull off the event!
As for Kimmy, she meets a cute guy named Keith (House of Card’s Sam Page) at a bar while running around doing errands for the gala. He’s an army veteran and assumes she is too because he can see in her eyes that she’s been through a lot. They hang out for a while and really hit if off, but digits are not exchanged (as Titus later advises, ALWAYS GET THE DIGITS). But thanks to Kimmy leaving Jacqueline’s garment bag at the bar, Keith is able to track her down. (Phew, crisis averted!) In the end though, Kimmy ends up taking Keith to the gala. Things are going well until a champagne pop sets off both Keith and Kelly; she has triggers from her traumatic past just like Keith, but she’s not prepared to accept it.
Oh and as for Titus, he and Mikey hit a bump when Titus is frustrated by Mikey being a talker. It turns out though that Mikey isn’t really like that. He was nervous on their first date, so he talked a lot and tried to keep that up since that was the man that Titus fell for. Soon, they find a happy compromise.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting Jacqueline’s gala dress back after she left it at a bar. Getting Keith’s phone number after meeting him at that bar. Helping Jacqueline bring her gala together at the last minute. Dealing with her triggers from her traumatic past (but she’s not quite there yet).
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: She says her gala isn’t about the dress, but is about fixing the issue in her dress, and then proceeds to describe the dress in very precise detail. She thinks “men find funny women disgusting.” She’s baffled to find out that “poor people don’t even do gala season.” She rolls herself up in a rug because she doesn’t want to face her problems.
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: She makes a shoutout to a certain Home Improvement star. “I don’t have time to slow down. I’ve missed too much already…Jonathan Taylor Thomas making the transition to adult movie star, I assume.”
Best flashback: Kimmy clues Titus in on how she deals with people talking nonsense, which is that she imagines people with their eyes and mouth flipped. There’s a flashback to Kimmy visualizing the reverend like this while he’s talking about his movie ideas (one of which has the bad guys as plants, and Marky Mark is there).
Yes, Titus said… “I’m not the one who assumed all gay people know how to arrange flowers. Why don’t you do some prop comedy, Carrot Top?” …to Kimmy.
Estimated number of pop culture references: Let’s go with 6, one standout being Jacqueline’s dad asking if she knows Seinfeld.
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: Kimmy has been burping all season, and it happens again as she’s talking about how tough people basically suppress their feelings. Coincidence? I think not. Also, in an attempt to make up for the 15 Christmases she missed while in the bunker, she announces that she’ll be having a Christmas a week, so sounds like the Christmas party we saw might be any time.
- Kimmy insists that she eat at a bar because she used the bathroom there and there’s a sign that says bathroom is for paying customers only.
- Keith: “Do you know the G.I. bill?”
Kimmy: “It’s G.I. Joe.”
- Deirdre, sitting in a salon, tells Jacqueline she feels disgusting because she had twins yesterday.
- “I haven’t felt this alive since I left the state department,” Deirdre says at the possibility of a gala standoff between her and Jacqueline. “You know, I faked the Saddam capture. He’s still out there.”
- Kimmy likens Keith’s cuteness to that of Lieutenant Dan or Colonel Sanders.
- Kimmy remembered the right date of the gala because October is the month of Halloween and 12 is the (cue ghostly voice) spookiest number minus 1.
- Kimmy had apparently been using Jacqueline’s monogramed towels as toilet paper.
- Deirdre fills her maid’s purse with silver because she’s desperate for drama.
- “I have to save my ear energy for Mikey,” Titus tells Kimmy when he’s clearly tuning out and imagining her mouth and eyes flipped. “For him, I will be a listener. It will be my toughest role yet, and I once played a straight corpse on America’s Most Wanted.”
- Jacqueline says she knows what the mistresses want, and one of them responds with “his wife explodes.”
- Deirdre’s back and forth between crying and laughing when she’s finally defeated by Jacqueline.
- Jacqueline: “Congratulations 10,000 years running and you don’t care about anyone else but yourselves.”
Man in crowd: “Hey, how’d you know the Goldman Sachs cheer?”
- Construction workers admitting their secrets on site, they just can’t be heard over the equipment, or as Titus called it earlier, “The digger thing and the smushers and the crashy balls.”
—C. Molly Smith
NEXT: Episode 8
EPISODE 8: “Kimmy Goes to a Hotel!”
Hey, remember that disastrous Christmas party we saw at the beginning of the season? Turns out that it’s more of a disastrous “Fake Christmas” party, and we’re finally getting some answers as to what the hell is going on.
Mimi is there because she had nowhere to go on Fake Christmas, and Kimmy felt sorry for her. We now know who Murasaki is (even if she doesn’t do Christmas). Jacqueline’s missing painting is the Mondrian she bought for $11.5 million; apparently the Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in the 1930s, and they want it back. And Sonja is angrily climbing through Kimmy’s window to confront her about the scrunchie she found under Dong’s pillow.
In a bit of quick thinking, Kimmy has Sonja put on her invisibility hat and head to Dong’s place, where Kimmy “confesses” to putting the scrunchie there in an attempt to make Dong dream about her. You know, Freddy Krueger style. It looks like things are finally over between Kimmy and Dong, until he shows up at her alley window and asks her to run away with him to the Poconos.
Their romantic trip takes them to an abandoned hotel federal raccoon sanctuary, complete with butt-shaped hot tubs and broken-down candy machines. Together, Kimmy and Dong ride trolleys down the hallways and have fire extinguisher fights until their minds turn to more romantic thoughts. After all, Kimmy packed her fanciest nightgown (which may or may not be a children’s dress with Olaf from Frozen on it).
But when they try to get intimate, Kimmy’s PTSD flares up, and she ends up clocking Dong in the face with a telephone. Multiple times. Things are complicated further by a visit to a convenience for store for ice (more on that ‘90s cameo later) and Dong’s severe latex allergy, and when Kimmy calls 911, they both end up arrested for trespassing on a federal raccoon sanctuary. But even though Dong is almost definitely going to get deported, and they’ll probably never see each other again, they decide to finally consummate their relationship in the back of a police cruiser. Awww. At least it’s not that gross butt-shaped hot tub.
Meanwhile, Titus has to work an extra shift at the Times Square haunted house because one of his coworkers got a role in Hamilton, but this time, he has to trade his werewolf costume for a role as Jason the Scary Gravedigger. Jason is less of a gravedigger and more of an Ebenezer Scrooge, as Titus finds himself forcing his colleagues to work extra shifts and greedily counting coins. But when he gets a visit from the Ghosts of Fake Christmas Past (a younger version of himself with Broadway aspirations) and of Fake Christmas Future (an old, gray Barack Obama), he decides to hang up his werewolf wig and head home to celebrate Fake Christmas with the people he loves.
Even though the love of Kimmy’s life is gone forever and Titus now has no job, they still have each other, and as Lillian makes asbestos snow from the ceiling, they all gather round the piano in a rousing and heartwarming Fake Christmas carol.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Convincing Sonja that she put her scrunchie under Dong’s pillow and that there’s nothing going on between them. Trying to confront her intimacy problems.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: When the lawyer shows her a black-and-white photo of the Jewish family with the painting in the 1930s, Jacqueline triumphantly replies, “But my painting has colors in it!”
Titus doesn’t understand how the world works: “But those papers have numbers on them, Rick! Numbers! The most boring of all the shapes!”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: Kimmy and Dong compare their relationship to Clueless, My Girl, and Home Alone, but especially Dawson’s Creek — which is when actual Dawson’s Creek alum Joshua Jackson shows up! But instead of playing Pacey, he’s a convenience star clerk named Purvis, who informs a shocked Kimmy that Joey doesn’t actually end up with Dawson, but Pacey. “But it’s HIS creek!” Kimmy replies.
Yes, Titus said… “I’m going to find me an ice cream shop that won’t ask me for ID when I say it’s my birthday.”
Estimated number of pop culture references: At least 5, thanks to ‘90s TV shows and movies references, plus Hamilton.
- Lillian, on fake Christmas: “I think this is cute. And a little weird, like a bunny with human teeth.”
- Titus: “You’re a worse actor than Cate Blanchett.”
Mikey: “What! She’s great.”
Titus: “Is she? Or is she just tall?”
- David Cross is delightful as a laywer to Jewish clients with increasingly ridiculous names, including Harry Wiener, Ivana Ita Wiener, and Maya Wiener-Hertz-Allott-Cozzabudts.
- Jason Kravits is also back as Jacqueline’s lawyer, who is still resentful of his cooler brother David. “You should see him peel an orange.”
- Lillian tries to help Jacqueline by recreating the Mondrian painting, but she just ends up with a replica of that creepy Jesus fresco painting that a Spanish woman tried to restore four years ago.
- “Hello, 911? This is Kimmy. How are you?”
- The two cops who arrest Kimmy and Dong: “This is the kind of stuff Trump’s talking about!” “You’re telling me. These Chinese kids taking all our redheads.”
- Fun fact: This episode was directed by Steve Buscemi!
NEXT: Episode 9
EPISODE 9: “Kimmy Meets a Drunk Lady!”
Following the climactic episode 8, in which we finally see the events of Kimmy’s Christmas that were teased in the season premiere, episode 9 dials the main cast back to only Kimmy, Titus, and the introduction of Tina Fey’s season 2 character, alcoholic therapist Andrea Bayden.
We open the episode with Kimmy joyously starting her morning by dancing to a “Walking on Sunshine” called “Hiking on Sunlight,” which is the first of many retro song parodies from Kimmy’s “Now That Sounds Like Music” tape collection that we hear throughout the next half hour. Kimmy’s exuberance is infectious for the viewer, but not for Titus, who is feeling down now that he’s jobless. Apparently, Titus has taken to filling up their shower with his Barbie collection, which means Kimmy has to improvise what she calls an “Ohio shower” by cleaning herself with toilet wipes. Before she leaves the apartment to start her day as an Uber driver, Kimmy asks Titus to use his newly opened up schedule to buy another tape rack, since their current one is running out of space.
Unsurprisingly, Kimmy is delightful as an Uber driver; she offers dips to her customers, excitedly laughs along with small talk, and even holds up signs with her passengers’ names on them like at the airport. That’s how we first meet Andrea, who screams “Yeah, Malala!” at the notion of a female Uber driver. Though she is plastered, Andrea quickly sees through her plucky driver when Kimmy tells her she had to skip a shower because of Titus’ dolls, and she delivers the line that sets off the major theme of this episode: “Do you always put other people’s needs before yours?”
At Andrea’s observation, Kimmy returns to her apartment and stands up to Titus, removing his Barbies from the shower and laying into him for never finishing anything he starts, including the fact that he failed to get a tape rack. Not to go down without a fight, Titus removes his metaphorical earrings and fires back that Kimmy isn’t exactly the most well-adjusted person. Kimmy leaves the apartment to clear her head, and Titus, letting Kimmy’s points sink in, decides to try to build his own tape rack from an old crib and some wig glue.
While Kimmy is driving around after her fight with Titus, Andrea requests another Uber ride from her. After helping the yet-again-drunk Andrea into her office, Kimmy learns that the woman who’s been giving her life advice is in fact a psychiatrist. With this revelation, Andrea’s warning that Kimmy’s body will start acting out on its own without some therapy hits home for our protagonist, as Kimmy remembers all the instances in past episodes when she’s attacked her friends out of nowhere. Despite this, Kimmy is still in denial of her issues — that is, until she lets out a large burb, blacks out, and wakes up on a roller coaster at Coney Island. Finally convinced, Kimmy reports the news of her dissociative fugue state to Andrea, but she refuses to take her on as a patient after Kimmy has witnessed her wild, drunken side.
Meanwhile, Titus has failed to build a tape rack that can hold his “I Believe I Can Fly” cassingle, so he has moved on to shoveling through the city dump to try and find one. After delving into layers of decades gone by — Livestrong bracelets, a magazine with Mark McGrath on the cover, a Furby begging for death — he finally uncovers a tape rack!
Back in Kimmy’s car, drunken Andrea calls her for a ride yet again, and emotionally blackmails Kimmy into breaking into a stranger’s house. During their getaway, Kimmy realizes that while Andrea won’t remember anything Kimmy tells her while she’s wasted, so she unloads her whole bunker backstory, and immediately Andrea agrees that she should help her — the only problem is drunk Andrea and sober Andrea are two completely different people. To convince her sober self to take on Kimmy as a patient, drunk Andrea records a video on Kimmy’s phone threatening to release it wide if sober Andrea won’t help Kimmy. The self-blackmail works, and Andrea agrees to become Kimmy’s therapist.
The episode ends with Kimmy and Titus slow-mo running toward each other having overcome their respective struggles: Titus finally completed a task by getting a tape rack and Kimmy is starting therapy. The friends hug and twirl as “I’m Convinced I Can Swim,” which is of course from the hit film Earth Jelly, plays in the background.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Valuing her own needs instead of putting others first, and coming to terms with her repressed bunker-related trauma.
Kimmy’s burps explained: Andrea finally sheds some light on Kimmy’s constant burping — “You’re Dursting,” the drunk therapist explains. “You’ve got some bad stuff inside, and your body is trying to blast it out.”
Best drunk Andrea line: “The couch pulls out, so I can’t get pregnant!”
Best cameo: Billy Eichner in his Billy on the Street persona asking Titus’ question from last episode: “Is Cate Blanchett good, or is she just tall?”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: “I don’t need to be shrunk like some Rick Moranis kid; I’m blowing up like a Rick Moranis baby!” Also,“This doesn’t look like where they sent Dylan McKay for his drinking problem.”
Best flashback: Kimmy in the bunker dressing up as the reverend so her bunker-mates could take out their rage on her.
Most meta moment: Titus telling Kimmy, “You know there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” the line Taylor Swift said of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler after they joked about her at the 2013 Golden Globes.
Yes, Titus said… “No wonder Jesus quit carpentry. It’s so much harder than talking on a donkey.”
Estimated number of pop culture references: 11, not counting all of the “Now That Sounds Like Music” parodies
- “Excuse me Kimmy Lee and Hoda (first pun of the day don’t judge)…” —Titus
- “So far, no one’s offered me any amazing jobs in this apartment.” —Titus
- “I don’t want to miss the morning rush, that’s when people are most desperate for rides: hungover prep school kids, fishmongers who overslept, girls leaving John Mayer’s houseboat.” —Kimmy
- “Okay, well, I think I’ve gone above and beyond the Uber oath that I made up.” —Kimmy
- “You don’t know me girl, I’m a grown-ass man. Now slide my pizza under the bathroom door.” —Kimmy, quoting Titus
- “But I measured so carefully with a Fruit by the Foot!” —Titus
- “It’s called compartmentalizing, and it’s not a problem because I know the words to describe it.” —Andrea
- “Soon I’ll be sitting, and you know all my clothes double as pajamas.” —Titus
- “Ugh, Day Me sucks.” – [Night] Andrea
- “That foot has a toe ring on it… I’m in the ‘90s!” —Titus reaching a new decade-specific layer at the city dump
- A 1999 magazine with Mark McGrath saying “Even I Know This Won’t Last!” on the cover
- The first bad word to come to Kimmy’s mind is “frown.”
NEXT: Episode 10
EPISODE 10: “Kimmy Goes to Her Happy Place!”
As episode 10 begins, Mikey is finally comfortable with his gay identity and his relationship with Titus. So comfortable, in fact, that he decides to come out to his parents at an upcoming family dinner. This excites Titus to no end; he’s energetic about helping Mikey prepare his outfit, songs, and even “scent profile” for the big occasion.
Meanwhile, the opening of a new chic bakery further energizes Lillian’s crusade against neighborhood gentrification as Kimmy starts actual therapy with Daytime Andrea (instead of just drunken Uber soul-sharing with Nighttime Andrea). To Kimmy’s confusion, Andrea declines to dig into the bunker saga, opting instead to ask about Kimmy’s upbringing before then. This provides us with some interesting new information – did you know Kimmy was born on a roller coaster during a tornado alert? She’s had a very strange life, and that may have started even before the reverend entered the picture.
Lillian’s protests fail even to anger anyone. She may have once broken into the Fed naked with “OPEC” written on her in pig’s blood, but now she’s just a cute old lady who can’t get anyone to take her grievances seriously.
Mikey and Titus show up for the big Italian family dinner, but Mikey gets so nervous about coming out that he can’t eat anything. In a traditional Italian family, this is the worst insult a son could make. The very idea that Mikey ate beforehand is enough to make his mom scream at Lucifer. Titus gets excited – this much anger over food must portend a dramatic coming out – but when Mikey finally reveals the truth, he’s greeted with stunned silence. Kimmy had warned Titus about her experience with an Italian Catholic family who withdrew their daughter from school for kissing a female CPR dummy, but Mikey’s parents are surprisingly chill about their son being gay. As his dad says in one of the episode’s most touching moments, “Do you know what the church says about homosexuality? Cause I don’t, anymore. Our gay pope seems to be for it. So who am I to go against our gay pope?” Unfortunately for Titus’ plans, Mikey’s dad isn’t big on speeches. The family hugs it out, cracks a few jokes, and get on with their dinner.
Kimmy has long resembled a Disney princess: colorful flowing hair, cheery attitude, easy to befriend. Turns out Kimmy’s thought of this connection, too. Early on, she realized that her bunker dilemma was like a mashup of various Disney princesses: She was a captive like Belle and needed to keep her mouth shut like Ariel, etc. This spurred the creation of Kimmy’s “happy place,” an animated Snow White parody where she dances with forest animals and escapes the brutality of her situation. Even after the bunker, she still uses it to calm down her anger. Daytime Andrea tells her it’s okay to get angry, so Kimmy sets off with Lillian so her cranky landlady can teach her how to get angry.
Titus’ disappointment with Mikey’s successful coming-out goes beyond his everyday desire for drama. Remember, Titus never had a coming-out moment; he simply walked out on his wedding with Vonda, never to be seen in Mississippi again. In his words, this denied him the chance “to stare bigotry in the face and say ‘homie don’t play that!’” Luckily, his pensive walk around the neighborhood gives him a chance to do just that when an Italian neighbor calls the cops on him. Mikey realizes that this is a chance for Titus to really come out… as black. Titus Andromedon delivers with a song about the “magic of tolerance,” complete with a magic trick and an extended Pictionary analogy.
Kimmy tries returning to her happy place, but it’s tainted after her experiences with Lillian. Her fairy grandmother lets a facsimile of the reverend into the dream world; Kimmy responds by sending her cute forest friends after them. These bunnies are surprisingly good at sadistic torture! Kimmy’s angry at Andrea for ruining her dream, turning it from Disney World to “the unhappiest place on earth, like everywhere else in Florida,” but now she’s dealing with Nighttime Andrea. The drunk version of her therapist ignores the daytime talks about incremental progress and gets straight to the point: The fairy godmother’s betrayal must be a reflection of another woman in Kimmy’s life who abandoned her. Together, therapist and subject realize Kimmy has unresolved issues with her mother.
Before she can get to that, however, Kimmy has to support Lillian, who just handcuffed herself to a construction crane in a desperate attempt to stop the march of gentrification.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting to a breakthrough in therapy as soon as possible. Learning to get angry. By the end of the episode, Kimmy has learned that these are all lead-ups to her biggest problem: unresolved issues with her mother. To be continued.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: Unfortunately for Kimmy’s girlhood crush on Lance Bass, everyone from Daytime Andrea to Titus already understands that “’Lance’ is actually a super gay name.” Also, “class act” is not what most people think of when you call them “a massive C-word,” and working in Congress is not fun at all.
Titus doesn’t understand how the world works: Keeping a bunch of butterflies in a shoebox won’t prepare them to fly out at the dramatic climax of your surrogate coming-out speech. They’ll just suffocate.
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: In addition to misunderstanding the sexuality of pop stars, Kimmy’s ‘90s upbringing also influenced her love of Disney princesses (including Tan Sally Dress-Up, as Pocahontas was known in Indiana) and her idea that therapy should work exactly as seen on Frasier.
Best flashback: In some ways this episode has the ultimate bunker flashback: the scene of the reverend kidnapping Kimmy for the first time. She just wanted to help him get to the nursing college.
Yes, Titus said… “The only therapy I ever had was a Christian summer camp that tried to make boys less ‘musical’” … to Lillian.
Estimated number of pop culture references: 16, if you count all Disney princesses as one and include The Merchant of Venice as “pop.”
Viral video moment: This episode actually has a few contenders, but though Titus’ coming-out song about “the magic of tolerance” is delightful (complete with a disappearing act and a prolonged Pictionary analogy), it has nothing on the viral potential of Kimmy’s animated dream sequence, especially the second part when she sics her bloodthirsty forest animals on the reverend and fairy godmother.
Daytime Andrea vs. Nighttime Andrea: Nighttime Andrea’s antics have left her daytime equivalent with a mysterious bruise on her leg (“as Beyonce would say: ‘I woke up like this’”) and double-pierced ears, but their biggest struggle is about the nature of therapy itself. Daytime Andrea maintains that therapy is an ongoing process, but Nighttime Andrea knows that “actually, it’s always the parents.” So far, Nighttime Andrea seems to be winning, even if the booty call from her doorman didn’t quite work out.
- Lillian couldn’t even be bothered to make a new protest sign. For her bakery battle, she simply took an old “Make Love Not War” sign and transformed it into “Make Lo(a)ve(s?) Not(!) War(ning!)”
- This hipster bakery serves Pop-Tarts, but since “both those words are gendered,” they’ve given it a new politically correct (and nearly impossible to pronounce) name.
- What is it with Mikey’s Statler & Waldorf-resembling grandmother, anyway? Along with the animated sequence, this is proof that as the show goes on it feels more and more comfortable getting really weird.
- Daytime Andrea thinks Disney princesses are problematic, though not because of the archaic gender norms. She’s mostly mad about the end of Tangled, when Rapunzel’s hair loses its magic by turning brunette. “What’s that about?”
- Mikey finally says what we’ve all been thinking: “You’re not supposed to eat those. They’re biscotti. They’re terrible.”
- The fate of gay men in Titus’ Mississippi hometown is to be seen as “funny” and then marry “a Vonda.” Mikey understands all too well, except in Queens, they’re called Ginas.
- Nighttime Andrea’s vote of confidence in Kimmy’s therapy: “You and me, we’re gonna figure this out. Like a couple of lesbians hooking up a hot water heater.”
NEXT: Episode 11
EPISODE 11: “Kimmy Meets a Celebrity!”
Dr. Andrea may have issues of her own she needs to sort out, but she does give Kimmy some solid advice: She needs to work out her issues with her mom. So, when episode 11 starts, Kimmy is talking to a photo of Geena Davis (one Titus stole from the dry cleaner) because she doesn’t have a photo of her actual mom.
Titus thinks this is bogus therapy and instead puts Kimmy through regression therapy, something he saw on backwards TV (you know, when you’re watching TV through a mirror from the toilet). His version of therapy results in Kimmy reenacting her birth, through a pillow fort, while Titus tests out his accents as her mom, the hospital’s top scientist, the top nurse, and an Irish priest.
But Kimmy doesn’t get to finish this bogus therapy because “Cyndee Pokorny from kidnapping” calls with news that she’s in NYC. Although Kimmy doesn’t want to get swept up in Cyndee’s shenanigans again-igans, she of course lets her come by the apartment. Over wine glasses of whole milk, Kimmy and Cyndee catch up. Turns out they’ve both been in therapy — and that’s the reason Cyndee’s in NYC. Kimmy tags along to her “therapist” … who turns out to be Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Dave, who has a TV talk show à la Dr. Phil.
Kimmy watches from the audience as Dr. Dave tapes a segment with Cyndee called “Superstars of Tragedy.” Part of his on-air treatments include confronting Cyndee with a coconut in Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne beard and glasses (because she likes coconuts, but not the reverend) and having a costumed Shamu chase around a woman who was swallowed by an orca at SeaWorld.
All this is much different than the therapy Kimmy is receiving, so she calls Titus to ask what’s up with Dr. Dave. He saves lives, according to Titus — he got him to flip his mattress based on an episode about depression after all. So Kimmy goes to talk to Dr. Dave herself about Cyndee’s issues.
Fast-forward to Dr. Dave’s next taping (he films five episodes a day), where he asks Cyndee about her future and then uses what Kimmy told him to start a confrontation on-air. Kimmy doesn’t want Cyndee to marry and start a life with Brandon because … as you’ll recall, he’s gay. “Gay guys can have babies — I saw it at the airport,” Cyndee fires back. “They just come out Chinese.”
Kimmy and Cyndee continue their fight off camera, where Kimmy tries to make her friend see that she’s just letting men manipulate her — this time Dr. Dave. Dr. Dave scoffs at this idea and then throws out an idea to Cyndee: The next filmed segment can be Cyndee’s dream wedding. Cue squeals from Cyndee, groans from Kimmy, and a look of horror from Brandon.
Wanting nothing to do with this, Kimmy leaves the studio, but on her way out, she sees a poster for Saw 5: The Need for Pede, which shows girls tied up at the bottom. This reminds her of Cyndee — and she doesn’t give up on her friends. But when she’s standing on the edge of the stage watching Brandon try to get someone, anyone in the audience to object to the wedding, Kimmy realizes Dr. Dave wants her to create a scene for the episode. So instead she starts crying. Cyndee hears her, and the fact that Kimmy — who never cried once in the bunker — would cry over her wedding means she won’t go through with it. No one is more excited about this than Brandon.
So while Cyndee won’t be starting a family anytime soon, Titus is starting to think about it. He’s growing side hair thanks to a medical trial he’s being paid a whopping $20 for. Pair that with the hospital lost-and-found he’s forced to wear, and a kid on the street takes him for a “sir.” The boy, Tyler, wants help purchasing movie tickets to the R-rated Human Centipede 5. He also has his father’s credit card, so Titus offers to do it for some popcorn.
While Titus gives Tyler advice on how to butter popcorn and dress for a date, he realizes he could enjoy being a father. But Tyler’s date doesn’t go so well, and he runs out of the theater, blaming it on Titus and yelling how he hates him as he leaves.
Titus is confused how kids can make you feel so much. He goes to talk to Lillian — who is still handcuffed to the bulldozer, which no one has noticed for days — and asks her about kids. She says the neighborhood is her child, and that kids are selfish and take you for granted. But Titus still thinks it will be worth it. Watch out world: There could be more Tituses Titi running around soon.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Learning to talk to her mother. Stopping Cyndee from marrying Brandon.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: “People go to therapy on TV now? What’s next? Watching people h-u-m-p on your computer!?”
Cyndee doesn’t understand how the world works: “I read the average American family has two and a half kids, so I hope we get to choose which half because I like the top… that’s where the face is!”
Best flashback: Can Man broke up with Cyndee, and she just wanted to lie in bed, watch Titanic, and cry — so Kimmy talk-acted the movie for her while manning the crank on Penance Night.
Yes, Titus said… “How dare you? I’m a person who deserves respect. I will not be treated like an animal unless it’s a glistening panther emerging from an infinity pool.”
Dr. Dave’s guests for the “Superstars of Tragedy” episode:
Well baby, “Baby Debby,” Deborah Wells
Thomas Vletchen, a man with a disease named after him
Bob and Bub Kittle, twins formerly conjoined at the crotch
Holly Krieger, a woman eaten and pooped out by an orca she raised at SeaWorld named Tonku
Indiana Mole Woman Cyndee Pokorny
All The Dr. Dave Show sponsors:
Splotchguard Stain Blaster, “Life is messy. Your clothes don’t have to be.”
Delta Airlines, “We hate this as much as you do.”
Donaldson’s Night Vision Goggles, “Own the night, perv.”
Spine-snap Possum Traps, “When you hear the snap, you got a possum to bury.”
American Horror Story: Ghost Bus
Estimated number of pop culture references: Well over a dozen, including multiple references to Human Centipede 5 and Titanic. Speaking of…
All the Titanic references:
- “What do you want, Bill Pullman or Paxton? I’m an old lady with no necklace.” —Kimmy talking through Titanic for Cyndee in a bunker flashback
- “That movie is so sad, when Leonardo has to draw that fat white girl.” —Titus
- “Kids can make you feel like you’re king of the world. Like Leonardo DiCaprio before chubs took over the whole floating door. And then they turn on you for no reason like me with Kate Winslet.” —also Titus
- Titus got Cyndee when he took the mole women quiz. Kimmy’s a Gretchen.
- Cyndee on the Backstreet Boys: “Did you know they’re all ‘the old one’ now?”
- Shark Week is a union holiday and the reason no one has noticed Lillian.
- Titus on Human Centipede 5: “When I was your age, a terrible movie was something like Britney Spears’ Crossroads, and it was extraordinary.”
- Pizza rat lives in Lillian’s neighborhood, but won’t share his pizza with her.
- Like Gwyneth Paltrow, Dr. Dave is dear friends with William Joel.
- Kimmy has sexual fantasies about Tony the Tiger.
- Louis Anderson once killed someone on The Dr. Dave Show.
- Baby Debby, the well baby, started a charity that throws roast beef sandwiches down wells across the country.
- Lillian refers to Meth-Head Charlie as “Methodone H. Charles” when she’s angry at him.
- “I thought you were a good doctor, but you’re a creep, like Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Why is he asking a 16-year-old boy to meet him alone in an empty parking lot with a video camera?” Kimmy makes a very good point.
- “If anything’s going to kill me, it’s going to be my love of Bobby Durst.” —Lillian
- “Now I’m 30-mumble.” —Titus
- Next week on Dr. Dave: Does your raccoon have OCD?
NEXT: Episode 12
EPISODE 12: “Kimmy Sees a Sunset!”
Kimmy is finally ready to talk about her mother — Lori-Ann Schmidt, lover of tube tops, tube socks, and roller coasters — but doesn’t get very far because she realizes Dr. Andrea’s already drunk and it’s only the middle of the day. She insists she’s a better therapist when she’s been drinking: just like darts, driving a Zamboni, or running away from a Zamboni that you can’t stop.
After their therapy time is up, Daytime-turned-Nighttime Andrea makes Kimmy go out on a night that ends with her sleeping at Kimmy’s house, having lost her keys, shoes, phone, and Nuva Ring. (She threw the keys in the river to protest racism, Kimmy tells her.) Her drinking has gotten to the point where she needs to go away to a “conference” — therapist speak for rehab — but Kimmy wants to try and help Andrea herself so she doesn’t have to go away. They haven’t even gotten to her fear of Velcro, yet!
Jacqueline is trying to woo Russ because of his money, but he is way more interested in his business phone calls than her seduction attempts. He’s not great with women, he tells her, but he’s also wary because women are often after him for his money. She tries to argue that’s obviously not the case here, because she gave away a $12 million painting and while her apartment looks sparse, it’s because she’s not finished moving in (“I have 100 chairs!”).
Titus picks up his last paycheck at the restaurant, where his old boss says he needs to put himself out there and go on more auditions, suggesting an open call for a musical version of Mahogany starring Dionne Warwick. Titus is mad the Psychic Network didn’t tell him about this, but they did predict someone with a letter in their name would tell him something, so…
Back at home, he sees Mikey, who is sick in bed, and wonders if the reason he hasn’t cared about work is because he’d rather be with him — when Mikey was away at that construction convention, Con Con, he was too sad to sing (awww). Mikey says he doesn’t want to get him sick, but Titus says he only gets sick on the dance floor – from the flashing lights and spinning. But of course, he does get sick, and the audition becomes his second third worst one ever. (See below for the full lyrics to his made-up Trident jingle.)
Kimmy has a plan to stop Dr. Andrea from drinking, and it starts with getting her drunk. Before she can enact it, though, Jacqueline stops by to wonder why Russ wouldn’t sleep with her. Lillian, back from her bulldozer protest, points out it might be because he’s looking for love, and making someone actually fall in love is something Jacqueline has never done before. Lillian says you know it’s love when someone puts your needs above their own — which Titus realizes is what he did with Mikey taking care of him while he was sick.
Determined to try and help, Kimmy shows up at Dr. Andrea’s office and handcuffs them together, vowing they’ll stay on the roof until the sun goes down to keep her from drinking. Kimmy knows Andrea drinks to not have to deal with bad stuff, which is something Kimmy knows a little about from her time in the bunker when she’d have to keep her mind busy with things like staring contests and holding your breath for as long as possible (“the trick is not caring if you live or die,” Kimmy says, after holding for four minutes). The sun goes down, and Kimmy is proud that Dr. Andrea made it through the day without drinking — but she didn’t, because a “whazzuppppp” and a hidden Camelbak full of vodka reveal Dr. Andrea had been drinking the whole time.
There’s no Day Andrea and Night Andrea, she tells Kimmy: She’s just one big mess, and can’t be fixed. Kimmy feels responsible for her boundaries getting crossed and Andrea having to go away, but the therapist tells her (both regular style and Oprah style) that it’s not her fault and she’s not responsible for other people’s problems or when people leave. This is how her relationship with her mother affects all her other relationships, Kimmy realizes, and the same thing will keep happening until she deals with it.
Titus complains to Mikey about continuously humiliating himself on auditions, and offers that he makes enough money that Titus might not have to work. Plus, his lease is up at the end of the month and maybe they can move in together? It’s a big step, and Titus is not a fan of steps. But then he gets a phone call letting him know that Norman Gordon — a fellow aspiring actor he ran into at his earlier audition (and once starred as “corpse emitting gasses” on Law & Order: Drifter Incineration Squad) — has died, and if he wants to pay his respects they’re throwing him in the East River that afternoon. At the “Unloved New Yorker Disposal Unit,” a group of people who knew and worked with Norman are gathered as Ice-T delivers a eulogy and plays “Amazing Grace” on the saxophone.
Jacqueline brings Russ back to her apartment after some kids on the street attack him, but when he sees she sleeps on an air mattress she panics, covers his eyes, calls to a fake servant to get an ambulance, and runs into another room to wonder why she brought him there. She realizes she put his needs above her own… which means she’s falling in love with him.
And Titus gets another call later with better news — he’s been offered the Mahogany pat, but the musical is on a cruise ship for four months in the Caribbean. Mikey tells him he has to take it, and they’ll talk about moving in together when he gets back.
Kimmy walks in and tells them she’s going to find her mother. If she can find every gosh-dang Waldo that’s crossed her path, she can do this. But all her plans for a private eye to infiltrate the Coasterhead community won’t be needed: The guys quickly find her on Facebook, and Lori-Ann Schmidt is in Orlando.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Helping Dr. Andrea stop day drinking.
Kimmy doesn’t understand how the world works: When she went into the bunker, people still knew each other’s phone numbers (thanks, cell phones). She’s also “dressed to party like an MC Skat Kat” when she goes to take Dr. Andrea out, and thinks a hand gesture made by her therapist referred to rolling dice when, well, it doesn’t.
Titus doesn’t understand how the world works: Taking care of Mikey while he was sick made no sense, just like “wearing pants in your own home.” Also, he’s been keeping busy between auditions: “Getting my 14 hours every night and hitting the g(J)im…Gaffigan Show craft service table.”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: Important question: “They’re the Mario brothers but one of them is named Mario… does that mean his name is Mario Mario?”
Estimated number of pop culture references: At least a dozen, including Kimmy’s Bambi tangent, multiple Law & Order references, and Russ vowing to stand up for the voiceless like the other members of Coldplay. Also: Seeing Tina Fey whip and nae nae.
Titus’ Trident jingle:
Trident gum is the chewiest gum,
Give it to your friend and chew it with your teeth
Your teeth are bones that live outside
That hang from your lips like bats, oh!
Outside bones! Outside bones!
Never forget your teeth are outside bones!
They’re bones that you wash, and when you’re a kid
They fall from your head
And to make things less weird we say they got stolen
By a demon that your parents knoooooooowwwwww…Trident!
NEXT: Episode 13
EPISODE 13: “Kimmy Finds Her Mom!”
Propelled by her breakthrough with Nighttime Andrea, Kimmy heads to Orlando to track down her Coasterhead mother, Lori-Ann, in an attempt to break the patterns that have been keeping her from maintaining fulfilling relationships.
Titus hitches a ride with Kimmy on his way to Miami, where he’ll perform for four months aboard the “Carnivore Cruise Line’s flagship ship, Ocean Skank,” but he’s still feeling trepidatious, asking the important questions: “What if a sea witch says I can meet Prince Eric if I give her my voice? I do it, right?” Definitely.
Back in New York, Jacqueline is selling the last of her jewelry in order to properly furnish her apartment so that she can host Russ’ family for Thanksgiving. It’s a last-ditch effort to ingratiate herself with Russ — someone whom she actually loves, lactating foot nipple and all — and his rich family. But, plot twist: The rich people are garbage people! Obviously! The Snyders are not only pretentious bullies who torment Russ, but their money comes mainly from their ownership of the Washington Redskins. As Jacqueline later asks, incredulously, “The Redskins? How is that still a thing?”
Over at Universal Studios, Kimmy runs into Lori-Ann — played by Lisa Kudrow (!!!) — in short order, but the wind is taken out of her angry sails when Lori-Ann is thrilled to see Kimmy and apologizes for not having found her. They find common ground when Lori-Ann tells Kimmy that she just had to leave Durnsville — everywhere she went, people would look at her pityingly and she couldn’t take it anymore. Kimmy agrees: “I’m more than this one terrible thing that happened to me.” The mother-daughter duo decide to ride the Rip Ride Rockit together, and everything is perfect! Years of trauma done and dusted, right?
Titus is not quite as ready to push forward. Hesitating to board the bus to Miami, Titus looks to “black Jesus from the Madonna ‘Like a Prayer’ video” for guidance, just as a bus to Titusville pulls into the station. He takes it as a sign and makes his way to the city best known for the Kennedy Space Station.
But Kimmy’s not letting Titus off the hook. Over the phone, she accuses him of hiding from the real world, a charge he turns around on Kimmy and her mother, who have yet to have a real conversation about their feelings; he tells her that Lori-Ann will change the subject and run away as soon as Kimmy brings up anything serious. And, of course, she does.
When Kimmy takes too long tying her shoes, Lori-Ann gets antsy and upset, worried that they’ll miss the time on their roller coaster express pass. She asks Kimmy why she can’t just wear velcro shoes, and Kimmy says it might have something to do with the reverend — at that, Lori-Ann takes off for the coaster.
Titus’ epiphany comes courtesy of astronaut Captain Mooney — “no pun intended,” he says; “none gotten,” Titus replies — who bemoans the life of an astronaut in a country that no longer seems to care about space travel. “Titusville is just a place where dreams go to die,” he says, and Titus finally realizes that he needs to take the risk and board that cruise and know that Mikey will still be waiting for him in four months. Change is scary, but no more so than stagnation.
Jacqueline comes to her own realization in New York and decides to break up with Russ over his family’s ownership of the team and all it represents. But, duh, Russ also hates his family, and he tells her that they’ll work together to take down the Redskins. I’m relieved that Jacqueline has new purpose — and a roof over her head — but I can’t help but think about Russ’ “chronic stink tongue” as they make out. They might have made him too nauseating.
On the roller coaster, Kimmy finally has it out with Lori-Ann. She tells her that she was supposed to keep looking, and that she was a bad mom who was never there for her even before she was kidnapped. She was selfish, and Kimmy is mad, and, breakthrough: “I’m entitled to that emotion.” Lori-Ann, too, screams her feelings: Of course she didn’t want Kimmy; she was 17, but she loved her all the same, and doesn’t that count for something? Plus, “You sound like them reporters and police station ladies treating me like you got kidnapped ’cause I wore a tube skirt.”
After their extended roller coaster ride, Lori-Ann admits that she wasn’t the perfect mother, but she did the best she could. Kimmy bends down to tie her shoes and sees a kid fixing the velcro on his own, and she flashes back to the moment she got kidnapped: She had bent to fix her shoes, but her mittens got caught, and the girls she was walking home with went on without her. Distracted and alone and ill-equipped to deal with real-life situations thanks to Lori-Ann, that’s when Reverend Wayne pulled up in his big white van.
Kimmy imagines herself tearing into Lori-Ann; she could not even be bothered to teach a too-old-for-velcro Kimmy how to tie shoelaces, it was her fault she got kidnapped, and her best was simply not good enough. But Kimmy shakes herself out of the fantasy and, like Titus and Jacqueline before her, comes to an epiphany: “There’s nothing I can say that will un-kidnap me or fix my childhood or give you the life you wanted before you had me. And I just have to accept that.” With a deep breath of relief, she repeats: “I just have to accept that.” And she does. “We’re cool,” Kimmy promises Lori-Ann, and they make plans to visit with each other over Christmas.
Kimmy doesn’t need Lori-Ann, anyway: Back in New York, she toasts Thanksgiving with her misfit found family — plus Robert Durst in disguise as Robertina, and minus Titus, whose absence is made up for with a TV playing his Law & Order audition tapes.
As they go over what they’re thankful for, Kimmy’s phone rings: It’s Rev. Wayne calling from jail, and he’s getting married; he and Kimmy will need to get a divorce.
We certainly didn’t know that Kimmy was married, but did Kimmy? I’m going to assume that she didn’t, but her look of shock could have also been the result of a blast from the past invading her peace of mind so soon after she found it. Thanks to Andrea, Kimmy now has the tools to deal with her trauma; unfortunately, PTSD is not really something that can be cured, and the reality of Wayne’s continued presence in her life lays rich and interesting ground for season 3.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Finally, her own. In episode 12, Jacqueline and Titus learned that love is putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. Though she doled out some tough-love advice to Titus, Kimmy’s driving motivation was to take care of herself by confronting her past.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: Now that she’s in love, she knows what all those songs have been about all these years. “Like Sheena Easton’s ‘Sugar Walls.'”
The most decidedly un-romantic lyrics from Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls”: “Blood races to your private spots / Let me know there’s a fire / You can’t fight passion when passion is hot / Temperatures rise inside my sugar walls,” and, “Come spend the night inside my sugar walls.”
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: She’s worried that Titus will get discovered, move to L.A., and “get big fake breasts. I don’t want to see him like that.”
Titus doesn’t understand the difference between television and NASA initiatives: “Ever since I was a child I was always fascinated by Major Tony Nelson’s failed space flight: His capsule crash-landing on a desert island knocking over a genie bottle, releasing Barbara Eden …” He thanks NASA with a cheerful laugh: “She was his slave!”
The Snyders don’t understand how racism works: Duke (played by Will Gardner — er, Josh Charles), says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Jacqueline, look: Some of my best … statues are of Indians.”
Kimmy loves ball pits: “Man, a ball pit is definitely my favorite kind of pit.”
Best flashback: Donna Maria tried for over a year to teach Kimmy how to tie her shoes, but Kimmy just couldn’t get around the instruction, “Then the bunny’s ear goes around the other ear and into—” “Why would he put his ear inside himself?” (In present-day, Kimmy says as she ties her shoes, “Bunny wraps one ear around the other ear, pokes it into his skull, ’cause he has his reasons …”)
Yes, Titus said… When Kimmy tells Titus that he doesn’t even care about space, he counters with, “Weightlessness, non-melting ice cream, buff scientists … I think the burden’s on you to prove that I haven’t cared about space this entire time!” Later, he adds, “If [Lori-Ann] even gets a whiff of anything serious, she’ll just change the subject faster than a theoretical speed-of-light spacecraft on which I would age more slowly. See? I love space!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: Four, including Kimmy mistakenly referring to SpongeBob SquarePants as “Cheese Businessman.”
- The other Mole Women are doing great! Donna Maria’s mole sauce is in Goop, Leah Remini joined Gretchen’s church, and Cyndee met a rabbit.
- Lillian: “I’ll be all alone, just like after Roland left.”
Kimmy, under her breath: “He was shot in the face by you…”
- The tired parents at Universal Studios thought that Kimmy was a cartoon character of some kind, either “Irish Dora” or “Whoville Lady, or whatever.”
- Lillian is going to work with ISUS (the Interborough Society for Urban Settlement — “We had the name first!”) in running for office as they fight to curtail the new developments overtaking New York’s historic landmarks.
- At the Kennedy Space Center, Titus asked the attendant whether Titusville had any Titus-friendly attractions. For example: “Interactive couch museum? A shirts-required swimming pool? … Food?” Same.
- Is it season 3 yet?
—Amanda Michelle Steiner
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt