violence and sexual abuse but figuring out how to get help (and
help yourself) after the abuse because it can’t be done alone. For
Kimmy, asking for help is a huge step, as it is for many survivors,
and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes that process very seriously in
the series by allowing Kimmy to make progress through small
steps.
Kimmy doesn’t find someone to talk her experiences
through with until the second season. Kimmy meets Andrea
Bayden (Tina Fey), an intoxicated woman who presumes Kimmy
is an Uber driver in the episode “Kimmy Meets a Drunk Lady!”
Eventually, it is revealed that Andrea is actually a therapist, a
professional who is a totally different person when sober from the
party girl Kimmy originally meets. Kimmy is convinced that she
can help Andrea with her alcoholism and agrees to go to therapy.
At first, Kimmy expects therapy to be able to cure all of her
problems immediately, not understanding why she continues to
have to go back to therapy, reveal secrets, and experience no
obvious benefit. At one point, Kimmy even yells at Andrea about
how she feels like she is being cheated and coerced into talking
about things she finds traumatic for no purpose. Eventually,
Kimmy starts to let herself see the effects of the bunker that she
ignored as a survival strategy before, such as why she refuses to
feel or express anger. A lot of her ability to eventually open up is
because she has built up a community and has sought out
professional help that does not produce miracles but, instead,
provides a process to engage with and interrogate how the past is
affecting the present.
This storyline allows the series to explore what it means to
heal, suggesting that it is a process versus a switch that can be
flipped from “traumatized” to “totally normal.” Kimmy finds
herself facing the frustration that many of us who make the leap to
go to therapy face when she repeatedly asks the question, “Why
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