Zach’s Zany Movie? Reviews: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT – KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND (A NETFLIX INTERACTIVE SPECIAL, THE “YOU WIN” CANON ENDING)

Nope, the title of this review is not a mistake, it is that long and I meant to put a question mark after the word movie. Because is this really a movie review? Or a television show review? A little bit of both, so that would make it a TV movie review, which I don’t normally do, (El Camino is shot like a movie, doesn’t count) right? Whatever it is, if UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND had played it straight and not been a new Netflix Interactive Special, then this whole thing would’ve been DOA. It would’ve been a cheaply made, production money completely going to all the celebrity cameos, awful television movie, like the ones we used to get in the 80s and 90s that were basically just longer episodes of famous hour longs. But due to the fact that this is an interactive special, where you, the viewer, get to choose the path of where the characters and plot go, it’s a couple of slight steps above above the awful comparison I just made. And just because I’m about to say that it probably is the most interesting thing about the entire series of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt since Season 1, doesn’t mean that it’s that great. It’s tolerable and produced a couple of chuckles out of me, and it shockingly recaptured some of the quirky magic the first season had, but by no means does that mean I’m going to re visit it or the series anytime soon…if ever.

For those in the know, this is not Netflix’s first “Choose Your Path” Interactive Special. That goes to the awful, awful Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch. The main problem with Bandersnatch’s choose your own adventure storyline is that a lot of the choices the special had you make were completely inconsequential to either what happened directly afterward or later. And all the endings sucked, were too confusing, didn’t make any sense, etc. etc., and the choices weren’t all that seamless editing wise either when put into the overall narrative. The whole thing was a giant, unplanned mess. This Kimmy Schmidt special is a GIANT step in the RIGHT direction. There are several big choices at the beginning of the special that have VERY SIGNIFICANT different paths for how the narrative will unfold later, several big choices at the end as well. In the middle you are a bit more lax, as a wrong choice will trigger pretty amusing little abrupt endings that make it clear to the viewer that your choice is not meant to be taken seriously (or as canon) and will rewind you back to make a different choice. If you don’t give a shit about the endings and don’t care about canon regarding this quirky cast of characters or story line, have fun, there are a shitload of different choices you can make, going through the entire thing is said to get you about an hour and 20 minutes of footage altogether. If you make the correct choice every time, and get to the “You Win” ending straight away, it is basically a hour in television without commercials (42 to 44 minutes) and is a cute and harmless epilogue to the series finale.

Basically this special is only for A. hardcore fans of the series or B. people that actually watched all of the series (like me) even though you might not have cared for most of it. Season 1 is really the only great season of Kimmy Schmidt. They all get progressively worse from there, Season 2 hitting a giant sophomore slump, and it only gets worse and never recovers (unless you could this special as sort of recovering). As each season just chugs along it tries harder and harder to be quirky and funny and it all eventually feels forced, especially season 3 and 4, where you get to the point of eye rolling your eye balls out of your sockets. But if you aren’t a grouch like me and have enjoyed this series from top to bottom, you’ll love this special, I guarantee it. All of the characters you know and love are back and Ellie Kemper still can act her cute little butt off. Jon Hamm still feels like he wants to be there, Carol Kane still has a shit ton of energy, Titus Burgess is still…well Titus, there are a bunch of other small celebrity cameos of which some put a smile to my face, and if anybody gets short changed scene time wise its Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline, but I hated her character anyway so that’s definitely a check mark on the “PRO” side to this special. The best edition though to this universe is easily Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Frederick, Kimmy’s fiance. He is in a lot of this special and thankfully he isn’t wasted. The guy has charm up to the wazoo and I’ve been trying to watch everything he has done post Potter as I think he has always had more potential other than that one role. With this and everything else he’s done recently, I stand here with a smile on face, proud that I was right.

Anyway, with this being the last paragraph of my review, after it if you skip my ranking of all the Kimmy Schmidt Content to date, you’ll see how to get the “You Won” ending if you aren’t in it for the goofy, fake, nonsense paths and want to see the story how it is meant to be, canonically wise. Don’t worry, I only partially ruin the absolute 4 choices you MUST make, but I don’t reveal what happens in the story fully, it’s just a little nudge in the right direction. But if you are a true fan of the series, yet you are one of those people that only want the correct path, once you are done I suggest restarting it and having a bit of fun to see all the different ways things play out with all the different choices. Some of them even got more than a chuckle out of me. But if you haven’t ever been a fan of this series, or you were out ever since you realized Season 2 was a giant bummer, this will not change your mind. It’s the best thing to come out of this world since Season 1…but is that really saying anything? Like I mentioned earlier, if this had just been a TV movie epilogue to the series, with no choices and only one path to the straight and narrow, this would’ve been a giant dud. You can tell that not much thought was put into the linear parts of the story, but more input was made into the fake, abrupt, yet funny, non-canon endings. To give it credit, everything is nice and seamless here, the editing and comedic timing working well while choosing a path, going back after a wrong choice, or to get to the next scene. I do hope that this is the final final ending to the series, we don’t need anything else. Next time, I would love for Netflix to make one big giant original interactive choice movie that doesn’t have any ties to anything previously released on the streaming platform or anywhere else. Time to get the audience that doesn’t want to devote their time to having to watch a whole bunch of something else, just to get to the newly released content. Time to break that habit.

My Ranking of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Content:

  1. Season 1
  2. Interactive Special
  3. Season 2
  4. Season 3
  5. Season 4

******SPOILER CORRECT PATH WARNING, ALTHOUGH NOTHING IS REALLY REVEALED*****************

To Get The “You Won” Ending:

This is the only ending that rewards the viewer with the coveted “You Won!” bumper at the end of the show. To get it, you must make Kimmy select the Fun Dress in the very first choice of the game. This is not a Bandersnatch situation, the first question really matters here.  

The second crucial choice is to Read The Book when Kimmy gets home from her dress fitting. There’s something in the book Kimmy needs to know for later, and failing to do so early in the game sets up a chain reaction towards crappy, non-canon endings.

Many of the choices in between reading the book and the third act lead to temporary fail states that are easily reversible, so you can pretty much do what you want in the middle a bit (which I suggest you do, it is quite fun) without screwing up the ending, but the game’s final two choices are super important:

Titus must Follow Kimmy when she chases the Reverend through the woods. Ignore the Garden Banquet.

Finally, Kimmy must Spare the Reverend. Once these four choices are complete, the winning ending is automatically unlocked.

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