Good news, fans of Tina Fey! The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt arrives on Netflix this week, and it's as brilliant as ever. Fans of 30 Rock will love the whip-smart dialogue, absurdities and pop culture references – all trademarks of Fey – but everyone will love the characters of the Kimmyverse. Not seen the show? We're jealous – that means you haven't heard the theme song too! You've got so much joy ahead of you, but before you start, here's a primer to the 8 best characters in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
1. Kimmy Schmidt
Bless Kimmy Schmidt. She spent her formative years locked in an underground bunker, held prisoner with three other “mole women” by a madman who was convinced the world was going to end. 15 years later, she escapes and moves to New York, but her cultural references are all stuck in the early '90s, and the world tries to break her. As you may have guessed from the show's title, it does not succeed. Adorably naïve with a can-do attitude and a smile that could melt the polar ice caps, Kimmy Schmidt is the modern-day poster child for positivity. And you haven't even heard her sing yet.
2. Titus Andromedon
“But I already did something today!” That's Titus in a nutshell: by his own admission the most fabulous man in New York City, he'd be a star if he could actually be bothered to leave the house. Still: he sings, he dances, he shoots music videos in houses that Kimmy works at – check out 'Peeno Noir' for a sample of his work. Recently, Titus has found work dressing as a werewolf at a horror-themed restaurant and finds he gets more respect as a werewolf than he ever did as a black man. To get an idea of his work ethic, he once asked Kimmy if holding in a fart counted as an achievement.
3. Lillian Kaushtupper
Neighbourhood warrior Lillian – catchphrase: “Run, Lillian!” – is Kimmy and Titus' landlord, but when she's not overstepping personal and professional boundaries, she's staving off her hood from gentrification. She is a complex woman with what sounds like a sprawling history of crimes both petty and significant (“The last time I turned over a new leaf I found a finger under there”) but she's always there to support Kimmy and Titus and to dispense life advice: “Titus, cherish this time. Someday you'll wake up and you'll say, "Who's that old woman in the mirror?" And then she'll punch you, and you'll say, "That's not a mirror. That's an open window." What are we talking about again?”
4. Jacqueline Lannister-Voorhees
If that surname didn't clue you in, Jacqueline is a woman of wealth who is to be feared – but when her husband leaves her and she ends up going 'broke' (she only gets a settlement of $12 million) she learns what really matters. Until then though, it's fun to see exactly how detached she is from real life, like when she didn't realise she had to stock her own fridge (“Where's my water? What happened to the magic refrigerator?”), or when Kimmy tells her she looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (“No, I had that lasered off”). We're especially fond of her flashbacks to when she was a young Native American girl, when she dreamed of marrying People Magazine's Sexiest Man of 1992, Nick Nolte.
5. Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne
The monster who imprisoned Kimmy and the mole women in his underground bunker is revealed at the end of the first season, where we learn he looks just like John Hamm with a really lame ponytail and beard. He is quite possibly the most stupid man alive, but he is a man of faith (“I believe in Gosh and his son, Jeepers”) and his down-home charm almost manages to hoodwink a jury. He's his best self when we see his Apprentice audition tape, featuring a display of his martial arts prowess (“Karate! Karate! Karate!”) and a weird video of him humping an exercise ball.
6. Gretchen Chalker
Of the other three mole women trapped in the Reverend's bunker, Gretchen is the only one who's there voluntarily – she is a special kind of stupid indeed (“I like being brainwashed. I have a clean brain, you can eat off it!”). Even once she's freed from 'Saviour Rick's Spooky Church of the Scary Apocalypse', it's not long before she joins another cult, Cosmetology; even with Kimmy's intervention, she winds up starting her own movement, after being brainwashed... by a recording of her own voice. She wasn't the smartest tool in the drawer, but she was the most enthusiastic user of the bunker's hand-crank.
7. Mimi Kanasis
Socialite friend of Jacqueline, Mimi is desperation personified – a lackey who'll do anything if it'll further her social status. Equally, as soon as Jacqueline's fortunes go down the toilet, Mini turns her back on her (“How does this sad woman know my name? Away, gypsy! No babies for you here!”). The betrayal doesn't last long, minutes in fact (“Jacqueline's my best friend!”) and before long, Mimi is locking herself in a closet for convenience. She is, apropos of nothing, terrified of how fast ostriches can run.
8. Marcia / Andrea
A special shout-out to both cameo roles by Kimmy Schmidt creator Tina Fey. In season one, she plays Marcia, one half of a lame duck lawyer couple (modelled on OJ lawyer Marcia Clark, complete with ghastly perm) who overwhelmingly fails to prosecute the Reverend (“I'd like to use one of our do-overs, please” she asks the Judge). In season two, Fey plays Andrea, a sober-by-day therapist who is constantly being outsmarted by her drunk-by-night alter-ego, like the time Drunk Andrea asks her sober self to open an envelope via video message: “I farted in there.”