them in her life outside after her escape, too. During the first
season, Kimmy explains to her employer Jaqueline White (Jane
Krakowski) that she has a strategy from living where she used to
live (Jaqueline doesn’t know she is a mole woman at this point),
which is that she would smile really big and jump up and down and
yell, “I’m not here! I’m not here!” Other techniques she describes
throughout the series include counting down from ten seconds
(Kimmy explains that anyone can survive anything for ten
seconds), imagining herself in a Disney Movie, and singing loudly.
These strategies help Kimmy during flashback scenes when she is
in the bunker by allowing her to not be overcome by hopelessness
and despair about her complete lack of control over her own life.
Instead, Kimmy continuously upholds the philosophy inside and
outside of the bunker that by keeping her cool and using these
strategies she does maintain some control (at the very least, control
over her emotions in tough situations).
It becomes clear as the seasons progress that Kimmy’s
overly bubbly personality is not merely an expression of herself but
a way to distract others and to move beyond the hardships in her
life. As Lenika Cruz explains, “Kimmy’s upbeat outlook isn’t
naiveté or stupidity so much as a survival technique she developed
after being kidnapped in middle school by an old, white cult leader
(Cruz).” Some of these strategies are used productively to help her
calm down or to motivate her to get things done; at other times,
these strategies are used to mask or push down emotions that were
not useful in the bunker (such as anger or sadness). She tries to use
these strategies to help make the world seem better, however, and
really takes on the idea that the only thing she can control is how
she reacts to things. The plot of the second season of the series
delves into which ones of these strategies are helpful for living back
in the world again and which ones, though necessary in the bunker,
are limiting in the world outside. The process of discovery is very
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