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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 Review

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 Review

            Some situation comedies often fall victim to a very specific curse: they put out strong first seasons and attract a decent following, then grow lax and deliver a mediocre second season, effectively dooming themselves.

            Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is not one of these sitcoms.

            After a fantastic first season, the Netflix show, headed by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, had plenty to prove – and it did. The show’s fantastic writing, which, much like Fey’s 30 Rock, is tethered in irony and quick dialogue, has only improved. Similarly, the strong performances of lead actors Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane have continued to be comedic and complex.

            Kemper, acting as Kimmy in the titular role, brings back the brightness and cheer that she so perfectly displayed in the first season. However, season one ended with the imprisonment of Kimmy’s childhood kidnapper Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), leaving Kimmy without an obvious antagonist to work against. This created many opportunities for her character’s development this season, most of which were explored vigorously. Kemper manages to take her character’s new motivations in stride while continuing to be downright hilarious.

            Kimmy Schmidt’s ancillary cast also returned in full force. Tituss Burgess’s Titus is the focus of a plurality of the season’s A-stories, and continues to be both touchingly human and hysterically over-the-top. Lillian, as played by Carol Kane, has one of the season’s funniest plotlines, which has her ferociously protecting her trashy Manhattan neighborhood from hipster gentrification. As Jacqueline, Jane Krakowski keeps doing what she does best – playing a somewhat oblivious New York elite. However, even Jacqueline has some significant development as her economic downwind conflicts with her place in the New York social scene.

            The season’s guest stars offered some surprisingly impressive performances as well. Most notably, David Cross as Jacqueline’s wealthy but eccentric new beau was decidedly poignant, a major departure from Cross’s usual absurd roles. Jeff Goldblum makes a Goldblumishly quirky appearance as a Doctor Phil-esque TV therapist, Lisa Kudrow is endearing as Kimmy’s estranged mother, and Tina Fey’s recurring role as an alcoholic therapist is a huge treat for any fan of her earlier work.

            The season was hardly without error. Most of the Kimmy Schmidt’s problems come from it’s slapdash post-production work; the show’s editing is often jarringly poor, with bad cuts and serious audio synchronization issues. The strength of the show is undoubtedly its actors and writing, but the various technical issues occasionally take the viewer out of the show’s world and upset the story’s flow.

            All in all, though, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has made a glorious return. It’s still doing what it does best by combining surreally quick and jokey dialogue with heartfelt and earnest characters. The program has solidified itself as a strong comedic offering and a flagship of Netflix’s line-up.  Personally, I’m already eager for season three.

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