Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is back and both more ridiculous and brilliant than ever.
The anticipated second season of Netflix's comedy juggernaut premiered Friday, picking up where the first season left off without a hitch.
Of course, the stakes aren't quite as high this go-around. After the criminal conviction of her once-captor and doomsday cult leader Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (guest star Jon Hamm, Mad Men) in the season one finale, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, Bridesmaids) has mostly left her 15 years spent trapped in an underground bunker behind and settled into her new life in New York City.
Still, the show's storyline progresses with impressive ease and binge-worthy momentum. Kimmy struggles to move on after finding out her Vietnamese ex-boyfriend Dong (Ki Hong Lee, The Maze Runner) has married someone else in an attempt to get a Green Card. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock) tries to simultaneously reconnect with her Native American heritage and re-enter the Manhattan high society she's been ousted from as a result of her recent divorce. Titus (Tituss Burgess, 30 Rock) has a boyfriend.
The show remains tonally consistent, too, brimming with the same absurd and caustically witty comedy that now defines the series. For example, Titus introducing his alter ego — a Japanese geisha named Muraski — in a one-man show is as fun to watch as the show's Asian community's outrage is a meta, genius response to allegations of racial insensitivity in the show's first season.
Still, the series' greatest feat is the subtler jokes nestled in between the ludicrous sequence of events. Jacqueline, the former Mrs. Voorhees, now goes by Ms. White, the name given to her Sioux family in the 1920s "by a sarcastic census taker," and Kimmy's landlady Lillian (Carol Kane, Gotham) alludes to an ex-boyfriend who seems a lot like suspected serial killer Robert Durst.
In an era of casual binge-watching, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a show with satisfying surface material but even more gratifying gems buried underneath — even if a viewer becomes distracted for only a minute, he or she will surely miss at least two or three jokes.
And while it's been more than a year since the first season's premiere — and much longer since it was filmed, originally slated to air on NBC last season — Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's continuity is remarkable. In the first season two episode, the show manages to catapult a catcalling construction worker from a season one episode into a recurring role. A few episodes later, there is a call back to Daddy's Boy, a fictitious musical mentioned offhandedly last season.
One could argue fan favorite Dong deserves more screen time than he's given (and the sometimes grating Lillian less). Nevertheless, it is safe to say Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's second season is practically a perfect one.