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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s ground-breaking use of color

The use of accent colors in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is fantastic. Notice how Kimmy's pink shirt stands out from everything else around her in this shot.
The use of accent colors in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is fantastic. Notice how Kimmy's pink shirt stands out from everything else around her in this shot.
Netflix

The following post contains mild spoilers for the whole first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

One of the most remarkable things about the new Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is how it uses color. The last series by creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock, took place in a more or less "realistic" New York City, in terms of hues, but Kimmy Schmidt takes place in a veritable rainbow. (For a full review of the show's first season, go here.)

That makes a lot of sense, premise-wise. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) spent 15 years of her life imprisoned in a bunker, and now that she's out, she's moved to the big city. Thus, the dark, foreboding grays of the bunker need the bright colors of the city for contrast.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Similarly, Kimmy's kidnapper is framed with an utter lack of bright color.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

It's not just the bunker, either. When Kimmy goes to work as a sort of ad hoc governess to the child of the rich Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), she steps into a world of primarily beige and white, where everything seems ready to blend together.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

In the apartment Kimmy shares with her friend Titus (Tituss Burgess) and out on the streets of New York, however, the world is awash in color.

In these scenes, the series' stylists and directors of photography almost always use bright, primary colors as accents. These hues stand out from even Kimmy's colorful surroundings, creating a kind of candy-coated glow to the hero's world. They pop. All that color serves as a constant, visual reminder of everything Kimmy has gained by escaping her captivity.

Here's a quick look at the rainbow of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

It comes in reds ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

And oranges ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

And yellows ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Greens, of course ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Notice how Kimmy's green, green outfit makes her seem more at home in the classroom environment than her teacher (Richard Kind), who just doesn't care.

All manner of blues ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Purples ...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

And sometimes lots of colors at once.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Notice how Jacqueline's world explodes in color in the above shot? That's both because Kimmy's there and because Jacqueline is contemplating divorce. Color enters the world of Kimmy Schmidt when people are finally honest with themselves.

Because you made it this far, here's a shot in black and white, from the series' 1930s musical parody, Daddy's Boy.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's first season is currently streaming on Netflix.

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