They’re alive! It’s a miracle!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or living among the Amish, you’ve probably heard of the new Netflix sensation, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s a show currently available on Netflix written by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as one of four women kept in an underground bunker by a cult leader for 15 years. The women are released in the first episode, and we follow Kimmy on her new life adventures in New York.
If you’ve been watching the show and you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you noticed a whole bunch of Disney references in many of the episodes. Ellie Kemper frequently plays characters who love Disney (see also, Bridesmaids), but Disney references are in a serious abundance on this show. Allow me to walk you through them:
[Warning: spoilers ahead!]
Episode 1: Kimmy Goes Outside!
Kimmy’s new roommate, Titus, says he has auditioned for the part of a giraffe for the The Lion King on Broadway twenty times in fifteen years. Later on in the episode, Titus and Kimmy sing “The Circle of Life” in the middle of Times Square, and right behind them is the Times Square Disney Store. Since locations are chosen very carefully for shooting tv shows, you can bet that this was a conscious choice by production and not a coincidence.
Episode 2: Kimmy Gets a Job!
Titus needs money. (Don’t we all?) He is a busker in Times Square so he tries to get his security deposit back on his faux Iron Man costume for the cash, but the owner of the costume rental company refuses. In a flashback, we are graced with a magnificent scene of Titus reenacting the Lion King to an empty theater. Well, almost empty – the sole audience member is a Disney copyright attorney who serves him legal papers. Titus uses this knowledge of copyright infringement to threaten the costume company owner, who has been renting fake Disney, Sesame Street and Muppet character costumes, into giving him the security deposit.
In another scene, we get a hilarious quote from the quintessential teenage daughter of the family for which Kimmy works as a nanny. Xanthippe, the teenage daughter, is fed up with Kimmy’s unbreakable spirit and informs her that “You know, Disney lies to little girls! Stepmothers aren’t evil and nannies aren’t magical and dwarves don’t let you sleep in their house without expecting something!” (Don’t worry, Xanthippe comes around to Kimmy eventually, kind of…)
Episode 3: Kimmy Goes On A Date!
This Disney reference is a little oblique, but we open with Kimmy entering her apartment, all dressed up in a princess gown and tiara with Prince Charming. I know it’s not a specific Disney reference, but it has the markings of a generic Disney princess movie.
Episode 4: Kimmy Goes To The Doctor!
Kimmy discovers an old box television on the street and brings it into the apartment, excited with her find. Titus wearily responds “Ariel, this thingamabob is not going to work.” I like this reference especially because Kimmy is a redhead like Ariel and is equally obsessed with humans.
Episode 7: Kimmy Goes To A Party!
When Kimmy pretends to be able to speak French, she says “Lumiere” which I’m guessing she knows from having watched Beauty and the Beast down in the bunker. Later on in the episode, Mr. Voorhees, the absentee father of the family Kimmy works for, says “Put Walt’s head on the phone…Then wake him up!” Finally, just like a Disney princess, birds and mice help give Kimmy a makeover (except they’re not as cute as Gus and Jaq!).
Episode 8: Kimmy Is Bad At Math!
Kimmy befriends an illegal immigrant from Asia. They are playing in a fountain in Central Park and a policeman comes up to stop them. The illegal immigrant puts his hands up and yells fearfully, “I’m Richard Pennsylvania from EPCOT!” to avoid getting arrested.
Well there you have it, all the Disney references in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 1. Given that they manage to include multiple references in almost half of the episodes, I’d bet dollars to donuts we’ll be hearing more in Season 2.
Did you love Kimmy’s antics as much as we did? Tell us your favorite episode in the comments below!