Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday "Classic" Recap: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: "Kimmy Goes to a Hotel!"

“But those papers have numbers on them, Rick! Numbers! The most boring of all the shapes!”

Technically, this episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was about “Fake Christmas” and all the misadventures that happen to Kimmy and her friends on that day, but it was Christmas-y enough to count for this holiday blog post, I think! Especially since it was on a bunch of lists of holiday episode available for streaming (and it’s Kimmy Schmidt!). Kimmy decides to throw a “Fake Christmas” for her friends with all the trimmings, but everybody ends up getting called away for different reasons. Most of the episode focuses on Kimmy and her ex, Dong, but there’s also a charming Christmas Carol pastiche involving Titus, and a typically silly subplot involving Jacqueline that isn’t really all that worth watching (even if it did indirectly lead to the “While You Were Sleeping” send-up in season 3). The episode ends on a satisfyingly cheery holiday note, with Titus declaring that Fake Christmas is for spending time with your Fake Family. Found families are the best and always give me the warm fuzzies, so I appreciated this sentiment.

The episode opens with Kimmie ready to start celebrating Fake Christmas. Titus’s boyfriend, Mikey, even briefly stops by dressed as Santa Claus. Titus and Mikey do have a little argument about how Mikey wouldn’t pretend it was Titus’s birthday so they could get free ice cream at Baskin Robbins, but then Mikey has to leave. The celebration gets even more chaotic when, Sonja, Dong’s green card wife (who thinks he should really consider her his wife) shows up, accusing Kimmy of being a “ho, ho, ho.” She found Kimmy’s scrunchie under Dong’s pillow. Kimmy says that she and Dong definitely are not together anymore, and she left the scrunchie behind hoping he’d take her back. Sonja seems satisfied by this and warns Kimmy that because of her “invisibility helmet,” she could show up at any time.

Meanwhile, Titus is about to leave the party to go find another place to get free ice cream, but then he gets called into work because one of the shift managers got an audition for “breakdancing John Locke” in Hamilton. Titus isn’t thrilled about this when he realizes he can’t don his usual werewolf outfit (he works at a spooky dinner theatre) and sing his solo. Instead, he has to wear a gravedigger costume that looks suspiciously like Ebenezer Scrooge and do paperwork. He also gets to count “spooky coins,” which are what the dinner theater gives out as gift cards. He also gives a very Scrooge like speech to an employee who wants to go to the doctor due to an issue with his penis. Near the end of the episode, Titus finds out that the usual shift manager did actually get the role in Hamilton. Titus is offered the shift manager job permanently, but he has a quick series of visions (a young, hungry employee taking his Werewolf gig, a graying President Obama) that convince him he should quit his job and follow his bliss.

Jaqueline had crashed the Fake Christmas party to announce that “the Jews” were trying to take her prized painting. Apparently the painting was stolen during the Holocaust, Jaqueline later bought it, and now a nonprofit is trying to get it returned to its rightful owners. Lillian offers to help Jaqueline in this quest, considering, having been a nude model, she “knows” the art world. They go to a meeting with lawyers, where they meet Russ Snyder, the lawyer who is trying to get the painting back for his clients (whose names basically just constitute a lot of not super creative dick jokes). He’s rather slovenly, and he has no intention of letting Jaqueline keep that painting. He has a photo of his clients’ ancestors with the painting and everything. Later back at Jaqueline’s apartment, Lillian tells her she has a “guy” who could take care of the situation. Basically he’d make sure the painting was destroyed (probably by dogs) so Jaqueline could file an insurance claim. Jaqueline is broke, and this painting is the only thing of value she has left, so she seriously considers calling the number Lillian gave her. Then Jacqueline listens to a voicemail from her parents, where they’re so happy that a secret society at Yale returned a skull that belonged to their ancestors (while I love “Kimmy Schmidt” overall, I do find Jaqueline’s storyline awfully problematic). Jaqueline decides to do the right thing and return the painting. She also thinks Kimmy is wrong for thinking she’d be okay without a rich husband, so as soon as she hears that Russ has a private jet, she decides to move in on him.

To further make things right with Dong and Sonja, Kimmy stages a whole apology conversation with Dong while Sonja is watching and wearing her “invisibility helmet.” She says she’s finished with Dong, and they both say they hate each other. After Kimmy leaves, Sonja finally seems satisfied. Kimmy goes home and drowns her sorrows in hot chocolate. Just when she’s feeling really sorry for herself, Dong shows up and says he wants to run away with her. They decide to head to the Poconos of all places. They end up at an abandoned resort that still has a “Happy 2003” banner hanging up. Kimmy swears the fax line was still working when she called from the road, but it turns out the noise she heard was just a raccoon.

Kimmy and Dong decide to make the best of the situation. The fact that the resort is abandoned means they can choose whatever room they want. The heart-shaped tub in the room they choose doesn’t work, but the bed seems okay. Once they’re settled in, they start to ponder what to do next. Dong wants to lose his “American virginity,” but Kimmy wants to raid the candy machine. So they raid the candy machine. And they play with the luggage cart. And they pretend to work the reception desk. And they pull the tablecloths off all the tables in the ballroom. They even dance a bit. Eventually, they go back to their room, and Kimmy acknowledges that yes, this is probably a situation where they should have sex. Every time they start trying to make out, though, Kimmy involuntarily hits Dong in the head with a phone. Clearly there’s some trauma from her time in the bunker still buried.

Kimmy and Dong go to a nearby convenience story to pick up an ice pack for Dong’s head. Kimmy laments how she wanted their first time to be like Dawson’s Creek, and who shows up as the convenience store clerk but Joshua Jackson himself. Only here, his name is Purvis. He’s got a great monologue where he basically sticks up for Pacey that I found amusing but probably would have found even funnier if I had ever watched Dawson’s creek. Purvis says he doesn’t intend to have sex because he thinks it’s gross, but with the right person, it would probably be okay. Kimmy then decides to buy some condoms to go with the ice pack. Back at the resort, Dong tries to put on one of the condoms, but it turns out he has a latex allergy. Kimmy ends up having to call 911. The officers figure out Dong is committing green card fraud, and they’re going to have him deported. Before that happens, though, Kimmy and Dong have sex in the back of the police car (Kimmy feels more comfortable about it with Dong in handcuffs, apparently).

The group (minus Dong, naturally) ends up gathered back at the apartment. Titus is out of breath from running for four hours (he thought it would be festive), but he definitely has the Fake Christmas spirit. He’s glad to spend Fake Christmas with his Fake Family, and he even sings a song about it. Kimmy and Lilian join in, and it’s a nice little moment. It's the kind of warm, fuzzy moment that makes this a real holiday episode, even if it's about a "Fake" holiday.

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