Kimberly Cougar Schmidt is the title character on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
BackgroundKimmy Schmidt was born in Durnsville, Indiana, around 1984 to 17-year-old Lori-Ann Schmidt. According to the episode "Kimmy Goes to Her Happy Place!", Kimmy is unsure who her father is, as he had sex with her mother in the bathroom of a Ruby Tuesday. Also, revealed in the same episode, she was born on a rollercoaster during a tornado warning. At the age of 14, Kimmy was kidnapped by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne along with three other women – Donna Maria Nuñez, Cyndee Pokorny, and Gretchen Chalker. They were placed in a bunker near Durnsville and were told that the apocalypse had come and that everyone else was dead. At some point, Kimmy found a rat from one of the vents, and realized the reverend was lying to them. When she confronted him, he told her she could send out Cyndee alone if she was so sure, and Kimmy, who was very attached to Cyndee, ended up deciding against it at the last moment.
Season 1After fifteen years in the bunker, the women were found and released, and made famous in the media as the "Indiana Mole Women", but Kimmy moved to New York City and went by the name "Kimmy Smith" to avoid the attention. She eventually arrived at an apartment building, and shared an apartment with Titus Andromedon under landlady Lillian Kaushtupper, and proceeds to get a job working for Jacqueline Voorhees.
Here she meets the Voorhees family's tutor Charles, with whom she has an awkward almost relationship, but it is very brief. Jacqueline sets her up on a date with Grant, a wealthy man who was a veteran of World War II and is now losing his mind from war trauma. That relationship however, doesn't work out either.
She joins a GED class in hopes of finishing her education, but it doesn't work out very well; so, she begins tutoring with one of the other adults in the class, immigrant Dong Nguyen, who falls in love with her. She teaches him better English, and he teaches her to be better at math.
However, at a dinner party at Jacqueline's, she meets Logan Beekman, who she ends up dating; he and Dong get in a fight about it all at Kimmy's 30th birthday party; however, they break up when Kimmy discovers he called the police on Dong. She and Dong begin dating.
Kimmy goes out of town to testify against the Reverend, who seems to be winning until Kimmy goes back into the bunker and finds a piece of evidence against him. She gets a call from Dong, and discovers he was forced to marry an old woman named Sonja from their GED class in order to stay in the country.
Season 2Kimmy receives a job at an all-year Christmas store, but she was fired after she missed work several times on the account of her former boss Jacqueline White. Later, she attempted a relationship with an Army veteran.
Eventually, Kimmy and Dong attempted to reconcile their relationship by staying at an abandoned hotel in the Poconos. The two intended to have sex, though this was prevented when Kimmy unconsciously assaulted Dong multiple times, as well as Dong's allergy to the latex on the condoms. The police found them, and later called Homeland Security in order to report Dong. It is heavily implied that Kimmy had sex with him at the back of a squad car. Soon after, Dong is deported back to Vietnam.
Soon after, Kimmy became an Uber driver, where she meets Andrea Bayden, a perpetually drunk therapist who attempted to help her after ending her relationship with Dong. Eventually, Andrea stated that Kimmy's relationship issues were because of her long-gone mother. As a result, Kimmy went to Universal Studios Florida, where she found her rollercoaster-junkie mother Lori-Ann. The two quickly reconciled, but their issues were far from the surface.
On a rollercoaster, Kimmy and Lori-Ann argued on why Lori-Ann had left Indiana after Kimmy disappeared, and also why Lori-Ann didn't go looking for her after she was rescued. We learn that Lori-Ann felt overwhelmed by motherhood, as well the wave of sympathy she received after Kimmy was kidnapped, and revealed that she attempted to find Kimmy after several years. Eventually, the two reconciled after several rides on a rollercoaster, with Lori-Ann promising to visit Kimmy in New York for Christmas.
At the end of the season, Kimmy received a call from the Reverend in prison, who revealed that he was engaged and has to annul his previous marriage – to Kimmy.
Season 3Kimmy finally graduates her GED class and begins looking into colleges. Though she is originally going for community college, she ends up tearing up the application. She had hoped to pay for college with money she got through the divorce with the Reverend, but she ends up deciding not to divorce him after meeting his fiancée.
She begins doing work for an app called TaskRabbit to try and make some money, and one of the tasks brings her to Columbia University where she finds Xanthippe, who is sharing her room with three girls on the rowing team who hate her. They want her to assemble a practice machine, which she does, and they let her try it. She proves exceptionally good at it due to her years turning the crank in the bunker, and she gets accepted into the university with a full scholarship.
Also at Columbia, Kimmy finds Refrigerator who was her tour guide at county college and is now a student. They end up kissing, but when Perry says he wants to become a Reverend, she pushes him to the ground and runs.
Additionally, as the only registered voter in East Dogmouth, Kimmy votes Lillian into city council. She then goes on to stop Gretchen, who has started a cult, from blowing up herself and a bunch of abducted teenage boys. Gretchen is then sent to prison.
Kimmy decides to discover what religion really is, and joins a church with Titus.
Kimmy is invited to a special dinner by her professor, where she meets Perry and apologizes for pushing him away. He accepts this apology, but when Kimmy's professor announces that her most interesting students are at the dinner and that Kimmy is a Mole Woman, Kimmy learns about how everybody googles everybody else these days, including Perry. Xanthippe comforts Kimmy and tells Kimmy about her own childhood embarrassing video available online, and then they search for a viral video of an adult – who turns out to be Kimmy's former therapist, Andrea. Kimmy tracks Andrea down by googling her and Andrea encourages Kimmy to accept that now she doesn't have to hide who she is.
Later that day, Perry comes to Kimmy's class to rap about philosophy. It doesn't go very well, but Kimmy, noticing he is being filmed by numerous people, goes up with him, taking away some of his embarrassment. Their viral video is dubbed "Kimmy Schmidt and Friend Epic Rap FAIL."
Kimmy is also given an opportunity by Xanthippe to talk about her experience as a Mole Woman on her show, Profiles. Kimmy considers it, but realizes she does not want to and leaves the episode after introducing Titus.
Kimmy gets kicked out of Columbia due to her poor grades, and applies to become a crossing guard. Though she has an exceptionally good interview, she is rejected due to her marriage to the Reverend.
She then gets employed by Zach, who she met at Columbia but dropped out and is now starting his own company.
Friends and familyKimmy, after her abduction, became close to the other women: Cyndee Pokorney, Donna Maria Nuñez, and Gretchen Chalker. However, Kimmy had a special attachment to Cyndee, whom she helped cure of her "Hulkamania". Their relationship nearly was destroyed when the trial occurred, when it was revealed that Kimmy had the opportunity to escape alongside the others when Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne allowed them to leave. However, after Kimmy proved that Wayne did in fact kidnap the women through video evidence, Cyndee and Kimmy's relationship was restored.
Upon arriving in New York, Kimmy met Titus Andromedon, a flamboyant, gay actor originally from Mississippi. The two became best friends after Kimmy moved into Titus' apartment in the pilot episode. Kimmy was also friends with their landlady Lillian Kaushtupper, who often spoke of her odd past with her and Titus.
Initially, Kimmy was on ambivalent terms with her boss Jacqueline Voorhees, but the two soon became allies when Kimmy expressed support for Jacqueline standing up for herself during her divorce from her husband. Jacqueline sometimes insulted Kimmy for her look and clothing, though she was never outright mean to her.
After Kimmy was released, she learned that she had a stepfather named Randy, a state trooper who failed to find Kimmy during her missing years but ended up marrying her mother, and a younger half-sister Kymmi, a teenager who frequently claimed to have hated Kimmy. We later learn that Kymmi was bitter towards her sister because her childhood was restricted due to Kimmy's disappearance, but she later started to become friends with her sister, while reconciling with her father, whom she had expressed hostility towards.
At the end of the second season, Kimmy found her mother Lori-Ann, a rollercoaster junkie, at Universal Studios Florida. While Lori-Ann quickly embraced her daughter, Kimmy was suspicious of her mother and had some difficulty reconnecting with her. It is also revealed that Kimmy's fear of Velcro is because Lori-Ann never taught her to tie her shoes, which resulted in her being left alone at the time of her kidnapping. Eventually, after several rides on a rollercoaster, Lori-Ann revealed that she was overwhelmed by the sympathy she received after Kimmy's disappearance and wanted to get away from it all. They eventually reconciled, with Lori-Ann promising to visit Kimmy at Christmas.
ReceptionKemper has received overall positive reviews for the part; critic Kate Erbland saying "The ever-peppy Ellie Kemper's...optimism is perfectly suited to this material." Arthur Chu of Slate said "In general, The show is everything I loved about 30 Rock, with an added dose of something totally unexpected with Ellie Kemper's performance as the titular 13-going-on-30 '90s refugee." Ken Tucker of Yahoo! Entertainment wrote, "The show is super-clever, features a winning performance by The Office's Ellie Kemper, and moves like a well-oiled joke machine." Critic Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter also praised her, saying "What infuses the entire series with sweetness and positivity is Kemper's never-flagging, completely endearing portrayal of Kimmy, who doesn't want to be a victim and doesn't want to waste another day of her life." David Weigand of the San Francisco Chronicle said "Kemper is hilarious, advancing perkiness to a comically psychotic level without having Kimmy ever lose her fundamental appeal." TV Guides Joyce Emper said "Kemper sells Kimmy's wide-eyed naiveté and cluelessness at iPhones, selfies, slang and the like with irrepressible cheerfulness, curiosity and joy." Critic Robert Ham of Paste also praised her, saying "What is... evident is how perfect a star vehicle this is for Ellie Kemper." Matt Roush of TV Insider said "Kimmy is a beaming bundle of perversely adorable gumption, winningly played by The Office gamine Ellie Kemper." Vicki Hyman of NJ.com commended Kemper's performance, commenting "Kemper is delightfully daffy in this modern Mary Tyler Moore role, oozing wonder as she discovers the marvels of the new millennium -- matching tattoos?" Verne Gay of Newsday said "There never was any doubt that Ellie Kemper could anchor her own comedy series. She's all lightness, charm, vitality and teeth -- big bright ones that have a character all their own." Margaret Lyons of Vulture said "Kemper's just about perfect, and the show’s pretty damn good, too."
Awards and nominationsEllie Kemper has received several awards and nominations for the role.
|2015||Webby Award||Best Actress|
|2015||Ewwy Award||Best Actress|
|2015||Gold Derby TV Award||Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series|
|2015||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series|
|2016||Primetime Emmy Award||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series|
|2017||Primetime Emmy Award||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series|