THINKPIECE: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Has A Bat Problem

Yes, we love that it's funny. Yes, we love that's it co-created by a woman and has a strong female protagonist. Yes we love that it stars a gay black man and celebrates his race and sexuality. Of course we're proud that the love interest is Asian – we're huge fans of Asians in theory. But of all the things Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt gets right, it gets one big thing very, very wrong – it does not feature a single bat.

I have seen each episode multiple times because I love it so much, and in not one of my many, laughter-inducing viewings did I happen upon an Egyptian Fruit, Vampire, or Giant Golden-Crowned Flying-Fox bat. It is literally insane that a show claiming to be as diverse and progressive as I ascribe it to be in my own mind would not prominently feature a bat. When I imagined a show that was all things to all people all the time, I imagined a half-hour situation comedy with several bats in it. When I'm not laughing so hard that I find it difficult to breathe, it's obvious that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt objectively fails to meet my impossible standards.

Of course, you know if this deeply funny show, which is pretty progressive and subversive in its own right, did have a bat in it, it would get it all wrong. The writers would be content to hire a bat and have a bat fly around. The bat wouldn't do the things, I, a bat ally, want bats to do. It's a lose-lose situation where nothing the pieces of media that I thoroughly enjoy can do anything to please me.

And it's not just the lack of bats I have a problem with. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dropped the ball by including so many jokes. Why couldn't this have been the show where a gay black man monologues on what it means to be gay and black in America? Instead, they wasted all that potential on being funny, often uproariously so. Now if I want to know the gay and black experience, where will I turn? To the sea of overwrought essays on the Internet? To an actual gay black man? I wanted Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to be the half-hour situation comedy that bucked the trend of setting up and then resolving a comedic situation in twenty two minutes. As it is, it's just another hilarious TV show that helps normalize non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual characters. And it could have been so much more.