Tina and Robert Carlock were interviewed by the AV Club to talk about the end of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘. Read the full interview below!
In the spring of 2015, the fact that Tina Fey and Robert Carlock had created a sitcom about a survivor of a doomsday cult wasn’t half as strange as where that show had ended up: Produced for NBC, it was later acquired by Netflix and set to be the first original comedy series to debut on the streaming service. Today, the streaming service pumps out so many series and movies—and has pushed other outlets to do the same—that it’s inspired one of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s best running gags. House Flix subscribers will be missing out, but the final six episodes of Kimberly Cougar Schmidt’s namesake series arrive on Netflix this Friday, January 25. The A.V. Club spoke with Fey and Carlock about the end of the series, the potential for a feature-length follow-up, and explaining to Fey’s oldest child how Saturday Night Live can be watched, live, on a Saturday night.
The A.V. Club: So much has changed, so rapidly, in the television industry in the past few years—what’s it been like to work in TV as things have shifted more toward streaming, and what was it like to be working on one of the shows that was instrumental in that shift?
Tina Fey: The funny little journey that this show had is that it started for broadcast—the first 13 episodes were made and written and edited with the intention that they would be on NBC. And then [then-network chair of NBC] Bob Greenblatt wisely saw that there wasn’t a slot for a show like this—this premise, it is harder to sell on broadcast TV. Rather than giving us a choice of a strange time slot in the summer or something, he allowed us to take the show to Netflix, who took it immediately, which was very exciting to us because it was before they had as much original programming and they were looking to launch original things.
So we made the first 13 broadcast-style, and then after they launched we learned anecdotally that a lot of the audience was young. I guess the main part of our audience is still that like 18-to-whatever. But there was a lot of 12-, 13-, 14-year-old kids watching the show. And I said, going into season two, “Now we’re on streaming, but I feel like a nude shower intercourse scene doesn’t fit our universe.” [Laughs.] So except for the delight of not having to make a really strict timing, we kept things clean and we kept writing toward act breaks in a way that you would do on broadcast, but just the beauty of not having to have every episode be 21 minutes and 15 seconds long I think was the greatest gift. Wouldn’t you say, Robert?
Robert Carlock: The amount of time it takes to get to that arbitrary timing—it’s soul-sucking. But we love broadcast television!