Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a go-to for many when it comes to sure-fire laughs sparking from silly story lines, not to mention a stunning list of guest stars. With comedy mastermind Tina Fey backing Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, and their gang of quirky characters through hilarious situations, it can be easy to forget that the entire plot is based on a pretty awful beginning. That’s why season three of the series does something incredibly important: It finally uses the word “rape.”
*Note: Spoiler ahead.
As Kimmy Schmidt deals with a possible divorce from the man who kept her captive underground for 15 years, Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (played by Jon Hamm), a woman named Wendy (Laura Dern) shows up on Kimmy’s doorstep with the hope of getting all legal papers signed.
When she reveals that she herself hopes to marry Wayne, she tells Kimmy, “It’s kind of sophisticated, if you think about it. An evening in Manhattan with my lover’s wife. It sounds like a Noel Coward play.” To which an understandably angry Schmidt replies, “If Noel Coward was really a coward who rapes everybody.” Whoa.
While the series’ pilot confessed that “weird sex stuff” had happened in the bunker according to Indie Wire, and there’s no doubt that Kimmy’s past has seen her struggling with her current relationships, this is the first time the show has outright proclaimed that Reverend Wayne is a rapist, which means that Kimmy herself is a survivor of his abuse.
It’s serious stuff for a comedy, but it’s undeniably important to address what happened to Kimmy Schmidt in a responsible way while allowing the character to continue her journey of healing, discovery, growth, and being her wonderfully unbreakable self.
What do you think about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt using the word “rape” this season? Let us know @BritandCo!
(h/t Indie Wire; photos via Neilson Barnard/Getty, Netflix)