What to Watch

What to Watch With Ellie Kemper

The Mindy Project and The Handmaid's Tale top the to-watch list of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star.

by | May 15, 2017 | Comments

Ellie Kemper in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Eric Liebowitz / Netflix)
Elle Kemper stars in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Despite being a new mother and a working TV actress on Netflix hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper still finds time to unwind from a long day and catch up on her favorite TV series. 

“I would like to think I’m on the pulse,” she jokes. “[Watching my shows] has become now a ritual: I put the baby to bed and I’m like, ‘OK, what’s on!’ But I’m proud of myself — I think I’ve been keeping up with most stuff,” Kemper said.

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the streaming star recently to find out which series she considers appointment viewing (answer: she makes appointments to watch episodes she sometimes stockpiles). A couple have completed their runs, but can still be found online. We also asked which series are in her streaming queue.

Plus, she told us a bit about what’s to come in her own series’ upcoming third season, which will see her off to college.

Need more TV to add to your binge-watching schedule in addition to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Kemper has you covered. Check out her favorite current series.


The Mindy Project 86%

“I do not miss an episode of The Mindy Project, which only comes out to me week-by-week, so I actually try to save it. I don’t watch it on Tuesdays. I try to save it for Wednesday or Thursday so I have something to look forward to. But that season just ended, so I have to move on. But Mindy Project is definitely, it’s not appointment viewing, but it’s, like, appointment-ish viewing, I guess. I think that Mindy has such a singular voice, and I think that there’s no one like her in media, I guess. (I was about to say television, but she also writes and performs and produces and all of it.) So I think that there’s no one like her. The jokes on her show are so sharp and so good. I think she is such a funny comedian, and her physical humor is so funny. There’s [also] a lot of drama in it, and it does it really seamlessly. I cried at her show when she’s measuring the closet for a crib! I would think of it, of course, first and foremost as a comedy, but it gets me when I least expect it and I start crying. I really love that show. I think there’s only one season left, so I’m sad about that.”

Big Little Lies 90%
Big Little Lies stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO)
“I finished Big Little Lies, which that was another one that I wanted to save. I kept wanting to save it. I loved it. I devoured it. It was HBO, but I did sort of binge watch it. I saved the final three for one amazing night, and that was the best night of 2017. I love that show! I was unaware, I thought it was, like, 20 episodes, and then however many it was, I was so sad to learn that. That’s when I started hoarding them. That’s when I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to stave them off and watch them all at once.’ Because I work for Netflix and binge-watching is good!”

Girls 89%

“I also just finished Girls. That’s not on my queue, that’s not the answer to the question. But it just popped into my head that I finished watching that, too. I loved [the finale]. I thought it was great. I mean, I do think as a new mother, I found it particularly interesting, but also just from a creative standpoint, I thought it was really great to see Hannah in this new chapter. And sort of regressing before she moved forward. We don’t have to unpack it here, but I enjoyed the finale.”


The Handmaid's Tale 88%

“[The Handmaid’s Tale] is on my queue. I was so excited to start watching it last night, and I did. I put it on, there was a trailer for it (even though I was about to watch it), and then, I’ll blame it on my baby: he started crying, and I went in. I know I’m not supposed to — at this point, I’m supposed to let him cry, but it sounded like an angry cry. So then I went in to take care of him, and then I was so tired that I went to bed. But The Handmaid’s Tale I cannot wait to see. I love Elisabeth Moss. I actually never read the story — I don’t know how I missed it, but Margaret Atwood is, like, the most amazing writer. So I’m very excited to see that one.”

Better Call Saul 97%

“I also need to catch up on Better Call Saul. That’s something that I have not seen a full episode of and really want to. I loved Breaking Bad. Very excited for that.”

What’s Coming for Kimmy Schmidt in the New Season

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Eric Liebowitz / Netflix)
Ellie Kemper goes to college in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz / Netflix)

What can we expect from season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? In short: Don’t expect the wild antics of a traditional freshman year in her stint at Columbia University.

“If by [antics], you mean the erg machine, then yeah!” Kemper says. “She gets into Columbia on a crew scholarship, which doesn’t exist, but somehow she manages to get one. And she is thrown into the political correctness of college these days where she is not sure exactly what she’s allowed to say, what she’s not allowed to say, what’s offensive to people, what’s not offensive.”

Series creator Tina Fey and many of her colleagues have been outspoken in the past about the pitfalls of political correctness in comedy.

“I think the biggest thing that college does is introduce her to a little philosophy class, and these ideas that she’s been dealing with about what’s the right thing to do, what’s the wrong thing to do, are sort of drawn into sharper focus though this class,” Kemper said. “That issue is something that she grapples with throughout this season: What is the correct thing to do? She is beginning to understand that she can’t save the world and that she has to put her own needs at the forefront before she can help others.”

Plus, there’s apparently a bubbling love affair with Hamilton breakout and Tony winner Daveed Diggs to look forward to.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 premieres on Netflix in full Friday, May 19

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