Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy Goes To School!
March 16, 2015 5:52 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Kimmy starts her GED class while Titus tries to make a music video.
posted by drezdn (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I shall forevermore call a tool belt a tool sash.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:42 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]

"Scholae Nullo Motto"
posted by sobarel at 7:05 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

"Is that why the school dance theme is 'Gymnasium'."
posted by drezdn at 7:15 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

I loved the background music paying homage to "Major League.*"

*When I was a kid, "Major League" was a big deal because most of it was filmed in Milwaukee. I didn't realize until I was an adult that having your city stand in for another run down city probably wasn't something to be that proud of.
posted by drezdn at 7:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Girl's name!"
posted by plastic_animals at 7:52 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just loved the fact that this show referenced the rubber room, which I first learned about on Metafilter.
posted by nubs at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

This has one of their most explicit Bad Men, the teacher played by Richard Kind. It also introduces themes that will show up for the rest of the season: sexual abuse and institutional incompetence. When I realized that the interaction with the student was a molestation joke, it took my breath away, and I think it was a little too breezy for the sort of joke it was, but it fits in with the ongoing theme of the series, and I don't think you can have a show in which men relentlessly take advantage of the people around them (especially women) without including the way they do this sexually.

On the other hand, I think the guy who lives in the air vents is a sharper iteration of theme, in that it turns out he's actually spying on the school's staffers and will yell at them when he disapproves. I mean, the guy's only institutional power is that he has moved into the institution, and yet he's still trying to boss people around.

I will never be comfortable with the Dong joke. It's lazy -- I mean, 16 Candles is 31 years old. And while Dong is a Korean name, I find no evidence that Kimmy means penis in Vietnamese, and so that rejoinder just seems a distancing trick, like, hey, we made the crassest joke about Asians we could, but it's okay, because we're inaccurately claiming our main character has the equivalent of the same name!

That being said, the video for “Pinot Noir” is a thing of beauty.
posted by maxsparber at 8:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]

Jaime Farr.

Terry Garr.
posted by nubs at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

I choose to believe that Richard Kind's character is the same one he played on "Spin City" after he fell on hard times.
posted by drezdn at 8:48 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]

Er, Dong is a Vietnamese, not Korean name in this instance. My apologies for typing one thing that clearly is not another.
posted by maxsparber at 8:51 AM on March 16, 2015

Was it really a molestation joke?
It seemed that way from the yearbook entry and I was expecting it, but then it turned out to be about a recommendation letter or something.
Did my mind just gloss over the "joke"?
posted by Seamus at 9:57 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

yes, I thought we were supposed to assume that Kimmy messed up and it was actually about molestation, but in reality the teacher had just not followed up with a letter or something?
posted by gaspode at 10:21 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh, I'm not sure he's actually supposed to have molested the boy, but we sure are supposed to think it was a possibility, between his yearbook saying "I'll never forget what you did" and Kimmy saying "you touched this boy and made him a man."
posted by maxsparber at 10:24 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

I also think it's doubtful that an adult would go out his way to assault an adviser who screwed up his choice of high school, but I absolutely understand why someone would want to punch their rapist in the face.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2015

His screw up led to the student missing out on the best school in the district and ending up in the worst. That seems like it might also be a punchable offense.
posted by drezdn at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

Can I just say how happy I am that Carol Kane is finding good work again? It's been a delight seeing her here and on Gotham. I know she never stopped working, but she sure lost visibility for a few years there.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:55 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

We were pretty clearly intended to believe that Teach molested the boy only for the incident turn out to have had an innocent explanation. The writers were kind of playing "Psych! Got you" with us.
posted by scalefree at 10:55 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

The writers were kind of playing "Psych! Got you" with us.

I don't know how "You touched a boy and made him a man" fits into "you were a shitty adviser" though. And being cornered like that, I can see how Mr. L-squiggly would choose to give Kimmy the most sanitized version of why the student hates him as opposed to admitting the worst of it.

The molestation being played for laughs also fits into the whole "yes there was weird sex stuff in the dungeon" thing too. This show is willing to give us hints about horrible trauma while joking around with the future manifestations of that trauma (scream lines, velcro, "I DON'T LIKE THAT", [other things that happen in future episodes])
posted by sparklemotion at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2015

sparklemotion: "I don't know how "You touched a boy and made him a man" fits into "you were a shitty adviser" though."

There wasn't any molestation. The "You touched a boy and made him a man" was just Kimmy trying to be all This Is Your Life dramatic. His yearbook said "Off to Winston Zeddemore High, all thanks to Mr. Lefkovitz. I'll never forget what you did." which does sound like he screwed him on a recommendation.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

Guys ...

Pinot Noir ....

.....Gom Jabbar
posted by The Whelk at 3:59 PM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]

Winston Zeddemore High

Who ya gonna call?
posted by Servo5678 at 4:22 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

There wasn't any molestation.

There is such a thing as subtext.
posted by maxsparber at 5:33 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pinot Noir?

posted by Dr. Zira at 5:40 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

Mid-sized car.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:21 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

There wasn't any molestation.

There is such a thing as subtext

I dunno. I also (of course) at first thought the joke was a molestation one, but then the backing away from that was so immediate that it just felt a little off to me. Additionally, the molest-y language comes strictly from Kimmy, who has no reason to be making a double-entendre, whereas the former student's yearbook accusation squares perfectly with the teacher's version of events. Kid can go to Bronx Science, teacher can't be bothered to get off his ass, kid misses a major educational opportunity because of the teacher's apathy. Since Kimmy was trying to prove that the teacher wasn't always apathetic, and inadvertently proved that he was, throwing purely subtextual molestation into the mix doesn't feel right to me, particularly because this show gets so much of its edge from dropping the darker details in very clearly and succinctly.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Revenge can be spectacu-lar" -as Lillian exits a bathroom.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:35 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

As for this episode, I feel like the Major League moment was one of the best earned Kimmypiphanies of the season, in part because it's one of the first times (maybe the first time?) where her belief in finding the best in even awful people hits a brick wall, and a sense of simple justice kicks in in its place. Lefkowitz doesn't care, has never cared, just wants to abuse a crippled school system that Kimmy and her classmates need, and would probably be useless to them even if she could turn him around. Secondly, because her speech doesn't solve everything right away, but just sets up an arc that keeps coming up all season (a couple of arcs, actually.)

So then, let's talk about Dong, introduced here.

As opposed to Jacquelyn's Lakota heritage, which didn't feel offensive to me so much as like something the show didn't/doesn't know why it was doing it, this feels like the show definitely has best intentions and reasons for what it's doing, but screwed up and crossed over into lazy stereotypes quite a bit.

Dong is clearly our romantic lead now. The S1 finale was written knowing that S2 was happening, and so left them on a cliffhanger. Given that he's our romantic lead, and was given several episodes to "earn" it, so to speak, the show definitely seems invested in his character. So why does it feel so lazy? Well, a couple of reasons, I think. First off, I think it's important that Dong be an Immigrant, not just for the story-arc (though obviously it's required there) but also for the show, which is about people starting fresh, so some variation of a "fobby" accent is probably going to have to be there, and I trust that Ki Hong Lee was making his own choices about how to do that. It still takes us pretty far down Stereotype Lane. Secondly, the show has in general been sort of dropping in hints of characters' backstories as it goes along, but Dong is the most major character not introduced in the pilot, and it's unclear how major he'll be at first, and his eccentricities just end up reading as jokes about his race rather than about the character, as I think they were more likely intended.

This isn't to excuse how he comes across, just to explain that I have faith that he'll get better and more developed.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:24 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

I was going to write exactly what you just said Navelgazer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:41 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

On first reflection, I was trying to recall anything that hadn't been mentioned here already. Then in reviewing the transcript, I remembered that there are so many good lines and scenes.
Teachers have it tough. One of my Aunt Ernestine taught sixth grade. After years of buying school supplies out her own pocket for future dropouts, she stopped caring. She quit. Wound up walking the streets selling drugs.
She's a pharmaceutical rep. I phrased that so badly.
At first, I thought this next one was Lillian being old, but then I realized Titanic isn't exactly a dead reference.
So this is Julian Voorhees' house. Wall Street royalty. Ha! You know what we need is another Titanic. Thin the herd a little bit.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on March 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

My favorite lines:
"That crown I got for being Prom King is so tacky I hardly ever wear it anymore."
"...the curtains that are intended to be curtains - those are coffin linings. "
"I sanded off my fingerprints years ago"
"...maybe he's a car fixer, or something with ladders."
"Eh the Dutch, I never formed an opinion about them."
"Not so fast, MTV's Daria"
posted by sweetmarie at 1:40 PM on March 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

Also also also , the slide in the quickest little Auntie Mame reference in this episode and that's when I completely fell for it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

The S1 finale was written knowing that S2 was happening

Sidebar: I think the S1 finale was written hoping for a S2, but without any assurances. Jane Krakowski states in an interview they were on their second to last day of filming when they found out about the Netflix deal. Source.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:20 PM on March 17, 2015

I'm the kind of person who always has the factory-set ringtone on their phone. Until today.

posted by tchemgrrl at 5:25 PM on March 24, 2015 [8 favorites]

I had heard/references to Pinot Noir so I knew it was going to be good...but that was just...beyond comparison!

I feel like after I finish watching the series I'm going to have to go back and watch it again, because there are so many little things I've probably missed! As it is I have to keep pausing and rewinding.
posted by radioamy at 11:57 AM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

If Pinot Noir doesn't become a queer hipster kid ironic anthem I will be DISAPPOINTED
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:39 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

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