“We were all so obsessed with ‘The Jinx’ when we started writing the season, and Durst is such a great New York character,” showrunner Robert Carlock tells THR.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s second season.]
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is living in an alternate universe in season two, all because of Robert Durst.
In the season opener, Lillian (Carol Kane) reveals she met her first crush, “Little Bobby Durst” (Fred Armisen), at summer camp on Roosevelt Island, and they reconnect to go roller skating and sing a duet, “Under the Manhattan Moon.” Although she hints that it was a dangerous first encounter — “literally, he tried to crush me” — their romance shows no signs of the crimes Durst allegedly committed. And that was in part to Kane not having seen HBO’s The Jinx before she and Armisen filmed.
“I hadn’t watched The Jinx before we shot our stuff, so I didn’t really understand the torque of the whole thing as much as I might have,” Kane tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t understand because I was just able to go with what it was and the imaginations of [showrunners] Robert [Carlock] and Tina [Fey].”
Carlock says it was all Fey’s idea. “We were all so obsessed with The Jinx when we started writing the season, and Durst is such a great New York character … but his character exists in a slightly alternate universe where he hasn’t yet plead guilty to gun charges.”
(In real life, the accused killer pleaded guilty to a felony weapons charge in February and received an 85-month sentence. He is waiting to stand trial for the murder of his friend, Susan Berman.)
The nod to The Jinx continues throughout the season with Kimmy’s nervous burping tic — or “Dursting out of your face,” as Fey’s psychiatrist character, Andrea, says — before ending on a very out-there note.
In the finale, Armisen wears a dress and a blond wig at the Thanksgiving dinner table with Lillian, Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), where Lillian laments, “I’m thankful Bobby is back.” He responds, “Who’s Bobby? I’m his sister Robert Tina Durst. And I’m mute.”
That confirms that Durst’s questionable past doesn’t bother Lillian. “He’s my man and I choose to believe in him,” says Kane. “Except for my dead husband who I accidentally murdered, he’s probably my longest relationship.”
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season two is streaming now on Netflix.