Original Content podcast: The new ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ special is pointlessly interactive

In many ways, Netflix’s new “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” special “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” is a delight.

For fans of the show, it’s a chance to catch up with Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), Titus (Titus Burgess) and all their other friends/nemeses on the eve of Kimmy’s wedding to Prince Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe).

Creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey (along with a team of writers), deliver their usual barrage of delightful jokes, and even if you aren’t fully caught up, the special more-or-less stands on its own, pitting Kimmy against her old captor Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) as she searches for a hidden bunker of trapped girls.

And if this was just an hour of regular “Kimmy Schmidt,” your Original Content podcast hosts might have nothing but praise. Instead, “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” adopts the same interactive format as the “Black Mirror” episode “Bandersnatch,” with viewers moving through a branching narrative based on their own choices.

The new special isn’t quite as maddening as “Bandersnatch,” — the underlying story is stronger, with fewer frustrating dead ends, and the writers play with the format in some fun ways. But it’s still hard to escape the feeling that the interactivity is mostly a pointless distraction.

Before we get to the review, we also discuss the news that HBO Max will be debut Zack Snyder’s legendary (or infamous) cut of “Justice League” and look at how reality TV has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:42 “Waco” listener response
3:24 “Justice League” discussion
14:04 Reality TV discussion
19:48 “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” review
35:22 “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” spoilers