'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Does What '13 Reasons Why' Cannot, It Starts A Conversation

'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Does What '13 Reasons Why' Cannot, It Starts A Conversation

"Kimmy Schmidt" handles some of the same issues "13 Reasons Why" tries to, but far more clearly and thoughtfully.


**Spoilers for Season 4 of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and Season 2 of "13 Reasons Why" ahead**

6 episodes, 30 minutes each - you're in and out in three hours, yet walking away with a stomach ache from laughing and a reaffirmed sense of justice in the world.

Season 4 of Tina Fey and Rob Carlock's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" tackles the #metoo movement, women's empowerment, and society in the era of Trump with biting wit and "oh my god, they went there" jokes: Kimmy's accused of sexual harassment in the workforce, the Reverend supports a meninist movement to get him out of jail, and Titus educates children on personal intersectionality (a concept which Netflix's other hit, "13 Reasons Why" tries but ultimately fails to relay).

In a lot of ways, this half season of "Kimmy Schmidt" handles a lot of the same topics "13 Reasons Why" does, except much more clearly and thoughtfully. As Titus performs as a stereotypical nerd in an anti-bullying performance, during which kids are clearly bullying their "nerd," he breaks to tell them, "I'm a nerd - fine. But that doesn't mean I'm not also a jock. And guess what? I'm also gay." In a stark contrast, none of the kids on "13 Reasons" are willing to look past the labels that they believe define them (see: Bryce as the golden jock, Tyler as the bullied nerd, Jessica and Alex by their respective traumas) which only further perpetuates their problems.

Because of this, none of the kids are especially nice to one another either, even after Hannah Baker's trial begins. Tyler is shoved into lockers, kicked out of birthday parties, continuously mocked and ridiculed; Tyler demeans Ryan and blackmails Zach, who gets yelled at by everyone for trying to appease everyone. Clay doesn't understand sexual assault or Jessica's personal experience despite believing himself to be everyone's protector, and Justin makes jokes about suicide to Alex who makes light of Jessica's rape who yells at Tyler. They have no regard for their words or actions and are more than happy to live their lives confined by how everyone else sees them.

More importantly, "Kimmy Schmidt" doesn't pack their episodes chock full of hot-button topics and directed social commentary. The best and most lighthearted way to describe the content within "13 Reasons" is actually with a quote from "Kimmy Schmidt":

"We've only got 15 minutes to touch on abstinence, drugs, and not joining ISIS. Nerds are nerds, jocks are jocks, end of discussion."

Not only does "13 Reasons" prohibit their characters from moving past cliche high school labeling, the show also tries to touch on too many topics which ultimately prevents it from handling each sensitive conversation properly and fully.

Specifically, the way in which "13 Reasons" presents sexual assault seems to depict the issue at the forefront of this season. Yet, due to also attempting to touch on mental illness, bullying, sexual orientation, sex in general, drug use, youth homelessness, child abuse, peer pressure, homophobia, how the criminal justice system functions for minors, lying under oath, male sexual assault, gun violence, gun control, school shootings, mass shootings, and the effects of suicide on the community an individual leaves behind, all within thirteen episodes, none of the issues get the focus they deserve, least of all the one slated as the central focus.

Whereas the show could have done an incredible job bringing attention and light to sexual assault in regards to educational settings, the injustice that is typical in sexual assault cases, and the effects it leaves on survivors (note the italics, as the dialogue only features the derogatory term victims), it instead promotes a culture where it is okay to force a survivor to talk about their experience if they're not ready, survivor shaming, and the idea that there is not anything a survivor can do. Despite its kitschy, comedic tone, "Kimmy Schmidt" sheds valuable light on this topic through Kimmy's experience with the Reverend and Titus' experience with a puppet (serving in the role of a studio executive).

Further, Titus educates Kimmy on why her seemingly thoughtful method of firing an employee was considered sexual harassment in the workplace and Kimmy works not only to make sure society recognizes the wrongs the Reverend has committed but creates a young adult series to educate young boys how to not act like the Reverend. In a bold move, the show also brings the focus back to President Donald Trump's sexual misconduct allegations, a topic that has unfortunately gotten lost in talks of Russia, North Korea, mass shootings, and wherever in the world Melania is, despite Harvey Weinstein's recent arrest.

For all of its seemingly good intentions, "13 Reasons Why" focuses on the shock value of tragedies rather than on telling the stories of those affected by them. Instead of beginning a conversation on mental illness, suicide, and sexual assault, the show has instead become another glorified example of tragedy porn. In a stark contrast, Season 4 of "Kimmy Schmidt" quietly commits itself to tackling the topic of sexual assault and harassment fully enough to make sense but with enough laughter and biting commentary that viewers can continue the conversation after the episode's end.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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