PopHampton: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ ‘Revenge,’ ‘Avengers’

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" season one starring Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper is now streaming on Netflix.
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" season one starring Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper is now streaming on Netflix. Photo credit: Netflix

Are you guilty of binge watching? You’re not alone. These days, anyone with a Netflix or Hulu Plus account is at risk of losing hours and hours watching entire TV series at a time, and Netflix has taken advantage of the phenomenon by releasing entire seasons of their own, original programming at once.

I just spent my weekend watching all 13 episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix’s new single-camera comedy about 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt, who moves to New York for a fresh start after being rescued from an Indiana doomsday cult. Co-created by Montauk regular Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the show takes the potentially dark subject matter and makes brilliant comedy out of Kimmy’s plight. With an eighth-grade education and no practical skills or knowledge, Kimmy (played by the lovely Ellie Kemper) sets out to make a fulfilling life for herself in spite of the tragedy that befell her. It’s a really great message. And I was delighted to see a plethora of familiar Hamptons faces playing all sorts of colorful, wacky characters.

The Hamptons connections start from the very beginning, as Matt Lauer—who seems to excel at playing exaggerated fictional versions of himself—interviews Kimmy and her three fellow captors, announcing a surprise makeover for Gretchen (Lauren Adams), who is still in her cult clothes. Later, Kimmy is hired by Jacqueline Voorhees, played by Southampton’s Jane Krakowski, to be her devilish son’s nanny. Krakowski is laugh-out-loud funny as Jacqueline. Krakowski’s performance has been overshadowed in the press by a subplot in which Jacqueline is revealed to be a Native American who whitened her skin and abandoned her heritage to be successful. While the criticism isn’t unfounded—Krakowski is white and the show’s portrayal of her Native American parents is highly (but intentionally) stereotypical—it shouldn’t cloud your opinion of the show, which is too warm and well meaning to offend.

East Enders guest star throughout the series. Martin Short, who recently gave Matthew Broderick a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guild Hall, plays a deformed plastic surgeon; frequent Hamptons performer Christine Ebersole appears as Jacqueline’s husband’s crunchy first wife; Sag Harbor’s Richard Kind hams it up as Kimmy’s disinterested GED teacher; and Fey herself appears as an incompetent prosecutor during the trial of the cult leader, played by the brilliant Jon Hamm. Characters also make frequent references to the Hamptons and Long Island—Kimmy’s flamboyantly gay roommate (Tituss Burgess) mentions a wild experience on Fire Island, while her drunken, slightly unhinged landlady (scene stealer Carol Kane) attacks a limousine when she thinks the neighborhood is being gentrified, shouting, “Go back to Amagansett!”

If you have a Hulu Plus subscription, I highly suggest catching up on any Revenge episodes you may have missed this season. The droll, flat first half of Season 4 has wrapped, giving way to a set of colorful new stories, with queen bee Victoria reclaiming her socialite throne and Nolan purchasing the swanky (fictional) Southampton Beach Club. It would appear that the writers have remembered what made the show a hit in the first place—parties, polite backstabbing, gossip and romance. So tune back in! On a related note, Mexican media conglomerate Azteca has announced a telenovela remake of Revenge that’s set to debut later this year.

It’s possible to binge-watch movies, too. AMC Theatres has taken advantage of our viewing habits, announcing Ultimate Marvel Marathon 2015, a non-stop marathon of all nine Marvel Studios films leading up to the highly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hamptonite Scarlett Johansson reportedly has a major role in the new film as Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow. Ultimate Marvel Marathon 2015 begins on April 29 at select AMC movie theaters.

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