Unbreakable Donny Trump
If you are not familiar with the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (starring Ellie Kemper; created by Tina Fey & Robert Carlock) you may not have recognized the similarities between the titular character of the show and our current Chief Executive. Unbreakable is a comic satire about a young woman (Kimmy Schmidt) who is kidnapped at age 14, along with three other young women, by a cult leader, the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), who convinces the girls that doomsday has come and gone --- and they are the only people left in the world. After 15 abusive years in captivity, the girls are rescued and make the obligatory appearance on the Today Show. Kimmy decides to stay in New York City and not return to her hometown in Indiana. The show then follows her life in NYC as the irrepressibly optimistic Kimmy navigates life in her new world. With only an 8th grade education and totally unaware of the social and technological changes of the past 15 years, Kimmy charges headlong into her new life --- with poignant and comic results.
How, then, does Kimmy Schmidt resemble our current President? An immediate parallel is the effect isolation has had on both characters. While Kimmy was secluded in her bunker, DJT was holed up in Trump Tower (aside from his occasional public appearances for tabloid coverage) and neither character has an understanding of what normal, civil, human interaction is. While Kimmy’s blundering and missteps are comic, 45’s are, ultimately, rather sad (when they’re not infuriating or frightening). Kimmy blurts out whatever’s on her mind and, as we know, Trump tweets it. In both cases, their inability to understand what is going on around them is clearly revealed in what they say.
Likewise, Kimmy only has an 8th grade education and, as a result, is grossly ignorant regarding government, economics, the world of sports, social inequities, etc. While Trump claims to have a “Wharton” education and degree from UPenn, it is difficult to believe this when he, on a daily basis, unfurls his massive flag of ignorance about the Constitution, economics, diplomacy, and just about everything else he “expounds” on. The only difference, really, is that Kimmy is a good soul and well meaning while Trump is an insecure narcissist who sees nothing beyond the end of his nose.
The Unbreakable descriptor for Kimmy relates to her ability to miraculously find silver linings while soldiering on, whatever the circumstance. In Donald Trump’s case, his “unbreakable” nature is baked into a belief that he is always right and that loyalty, to him, is paramount. He does not deviate from those core beliefs --- just as 8th graders are always convinced that the adults in the room “just don’t get it” and only 14 year olds know what’s really going on. It is this core characteristic that connects Kimmy Schmidt and Donald Trump.
If you haven’t watched the show (and have Netflix), please give it a look. The half hour episodes go by quickly and there are wonderful performances delivered by superb actors, show after show. You may decide that Jon Hamm’s Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne --- the manipulative, woman-abusing cult leader --- is a more apt parallel to our current “leader,” but I’ll simply posit that the basic bones of the show have strong parallels to our current situation. The wonder of watching someone who has “grown up” in an isolated bubble misunderstanding (time and again) what’s really going on seems one way to gain a moment or two of comic respite from the daily drama being cranked out by the Unbreakable Donny Trump.