With the first part of the final season of the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt streaming on May 30th, it feels necessary to relive some of the show’s best musical moments. Over the last few years, the show has proved itself as not only as one of Netflix’s strongest original shows, but also one of the best comedies on TV. Known for its zany, slapstick tone, and brilliant one liners, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has proved that it is just as smart as 30 Rock, with jokes that fly so quickly it’s almost too easy to laugh over them.
Despite its influx of double-entrendres, and sight gags (a robot that originally was seen at a dinner party in season one can be seen in the background in almost every episode), Unbreakable has managed to balance the tragic, dark undertone of the show with the rest of its over-the-top, laugh-out-loud moments. The trauma Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) endured during her 15 years in an underground bunker with an insane cult leader (Jon Hamm) is only lightly touched upon at first, and then slowly fleshed out in gradually more affective ways.
One of the main ways the show pulls off this tricky balance of tone is through its music. The cast includes broadway stars Jane Krakowski, Titus Burgess, and Carol Kane, and as a result has featured a great deal of original music, usually from Burgess’ character. Over its three seasons, the show has perhaps become best known for these moments. So, before the release of season 4, which will no doubt bestow us with even more original songs and parodies, here are some of the best musical moments from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (so far):
Peeno Noir (Season 1 Episode 6)
One of the first, and arguably biggest break-out songs from the series, and also the one that certified Titus Burgess as a true comedic genius. The idea for the song came to Titus (the character) in a dream one afternoon, and thus “Peeno Noir: An Ode to Black Penis” was born. According to Titus, lyrics are the least important part of any song, leading to gems such as “Peeno Noir, Smoke a cigar, revenge can be spec-tac-u-lar” and “Peeno Noir, You’re a Star, listen to Tom Beren gar.”
Daddy’s Boy (Season 1 Episode 10)
One of the greatest closing scenes in the show’s history features a clip of the televised screening of the 1938 musical Daddy’s Boy. Just a musical about “a sailor who gets off a ship after months at sea and goes straight to visit his daddy.” Unfortunately the musical ended mid song, as the crew refused to resume production.
Under the Manhattan Moon (Season 2 Episode 1)
The Season 2 premiere features a Kimmy Schmidt with a completely new perspective on life, after finally putting away the man who kept her in an underground bunker for fifteen years. While Kimmy takes a new command over her life, Titus and Lillian both reconnect with former lovers. Lillian’s is of course Robert Durst (played by Fred Armisen), her first crush who she met at summer camp on Roosevelt Island. The two come together and sing a surprisingly touching rendition of “Under the Manhattan Moon” at a roller skating rink.
Hold Up (Season 3 Episode 2)
When Titus becomes suspicious that his boyfriend Mikey is cheating on him, he decides to do what any reasonable person would do in the situation. He “lemonades.” This leads to possibly the greatest parody the show has ever done, as Titus struts down the street in the iconic yellow dress, complete with a baseball bat.
If Peeno Noir was what truly introduced us to Titus Burgess’ undeniable talent, then this Lemonade parody was what solidified him as the true star of the show. Smart, hilarious, and of course completely respectful of the original song.
Boobs in California (Season 3 Episode 4)
This episode features Titus singing backup for a controversial musician (Judah Friedlander) whose songs include lyrics such as “Milk has an expiration date. We should do that with the elderly”. Although the song that truly pushes Titus over the edge is called “Boobs in California”. It’s surprisingly (annoyingly?) catchy, and much funnier than it should be.
MeeMaw (Season 3 Episode 5)
Jane Krakowski doesn’t get to show off her singing chops anywhere near as much as she did on 30 Rock. This makes the list solely because it’s one of the only times she gets to sing, plus it’s a scene of Jacqueline singing to the ghost of an old woman to get her secret corn pudding recipe.