Since Netflix became a main player in the television landscape, few series on the streaming giant have had quite the same enthusiasm and irreverent humor that the beloved sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had. The series followed Ellie Kemper's Kimmy Schmidt, a cheerful yet childlike young woman who made a life for herself after being freed from the cult she'd been abducted into as a middle school student.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt also featured standout performances from Tituss Burgess as Kimmy's loud and proud roommate Titus Andromedon; Jane Krakowski as Kimmy's onetime employer and later friend Jacqueline White; and Carol Kane as Kimmy's zany, one of a kind landlady Lillian Kaushtupper. In addition to the undoubtedly vibrant characters, the series also had a truly one of a kind opening credit sequence. We've compiled some of the most interesting facts about it here.
10 It was produced by the Gregory Brothers
The opening credits sequence of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is unlike any other you've seen on television before - and that's likely due in large part to the fact that it was produced by entertainers known on an entirely different platform.
The sequence is designed in the form of a viral video remix, best known as "songifying," and perfected down to a science by the YouTube artists The Gregory Brothers. Known for hilarious hits like the Double Rainbow Song, the Bed Intruder Song, and Winning, the Gregory Brothers have made the viral video remix the true online sensation that it is.
9 The Gregory Brothers also made their own cover version
As we've just explained, the viral sensations The Gregory Brothers are best known for putting their own spin on current events, whether serious political matters or hilarious pieces of viral content that become popular online for no apparent reason.
So it makes sense, then, that the group would want to put their own spin on the very distinctly performed opening credits of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Though it doesn't cover the version of the song used in the series regularly, a short cover sampling of the catchy song is available for your viewing pleasure above.
8 It features an unlikely connection with The Americans
Using stock footage isn't unheard of in promotional materials. But when series use stock footage within their own introductory segments, it's bound to inevitably lead to some hilarious unintentional moments of crossover. Take, for example, the hilarious observation made by one keen-eyed Twitter user shortly after Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premiered in the spring of 2015.
Both the introductory credits for Kimmy and The Americans use the same stock footage clip of a little girl hula hooping while wearing clothes that could be befitting of the 1980s. It's highly unlikely that any reference or crossover was intended in any way - but that doesn't make it any less hilarious to think about.
7 It also features photos of young Ellie Kemper
Stock footage wasn't the only sort of retro flashback the opening credits sequence included, however. For a few shots during the lively introduction, a photo of young girls in a dance group, wearing flashy pink leotards and cowgirl hats and boots, can be seen, before the camera zooms in on the little redhaired girl in the middle of the group.
As it turns out, that little girl is none other than series lead Ellie Kemper herself, during her younger dancing days. It's a sweet moment in the upbeat credits, and allows for a heightened sense of realism in a series otherwise devoid of it.
6 Walter Bankston reappears later in the series
Walter Bankston, as hilariously portrayed by stand up comedian Mike Britt, might have only been an unsuspecting neighbor of the psychotic Richard Wayne Gary Wayne when the series began. But thanks to the interview that would lead to the viral sequence the series used as its theme song, Bankston would go on to become much more than that.
He would not only feature in every episode's opening sequence, but also in a handful of other episodes, most notably "Kimmy Goes to Court!" and "Kimmy Makes Waffles!" when he cautions Titus about the perils of online fame.
5 It was planned from the very start of pre-production
The very premise of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - a young woman escaping the captivity she was forced into by a crazed madman with delusions of post-apocalyptic grandeur - isn't exactly something that translates well into a sitcom scenario. How, for example, are viewers going to get a sense of the immense psychological trauma and world re-entry issues that Kimmy would be facing, without the series getting too dark?
According to Evan Gregory, one of the Gregory Brothers, that was something taken into consideration from the planning phase of the series: "That concept of the [Mole Women] coming out of the bunker, being on the news and immediately going viral was this really cool idea to introduce the characters to the audience. You go viral and then what happens after that?"
4 It was inspired by Kimmy's own upbeat personality
As we just discussed, it would be pretty difficult to find a way to translate Kimmy's true underdog story in a way that didn't resonate with viewers in a manner other than deeply depressing, had the series been in any other team's hands.
But with Tina Fey and Robert Carlock manning the ship from behind the scenes, and Ellie Kemper wearing Kimmy's incredibly optimistic shoes, the series managed to nimbly avoid descending into either pathos or bathos. That was true from the very beginning, as the opening sequence quickly established a connection with Kimmy's bouncy and upbeat personality through the vibrant colors and catchy, lively rhythms of the remixed tune.
3 The lyrics have a very personal connection
Everyone knows that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hailed from the comedy genius mind of none other than Tina Fey. But what they might not know is that the lyrics of the ever catchy theme song were conceived of by Jeff Richmond, a producer on the series who is Tina Fey's real life husband.
Richmond's original concept of the viral video style credits would be updated and expanded upon by the Gregory Brothesr. But it's clear that, in more ways than one, this series was a family production.
2 There's an extended version of the song with more hilarious jokes
Opening credit sequences can never be too long, because their purpose is to introduce the episode in a lively, exciting way before getting on with the main feature. That's why the over two minute long expanded version of the Kimmy Schmidt theme song wouldn't work to introduce each and every episode.
But the expanded version is available for viewing online on the Gregory Brothers' YouTube channel, and as they themselves explain, "We had fun with it. We knew that the extended version was going to be important for the conversation happening online but wasn’t going to be appearing in the show, so that took the pressure off to just have fun and do whatever we felt like."
1 The stock footage was all chosen with a very deliberate, inspiring message in mind
We've already talked a little about the role that stock footage plays in these truly memorable opening credits. But one thing that you probably never noticed is that these pieces of stock footage were very consciously chosen with one of the series' key messages in mind.
According to designer Emily Oberman, "What we liked is that all the clips were of people stumbling then getting back up. They’re all meant to evoke Kimmy and Titus’ spirit and do it in a way that is about nostalgia since her story is so much about getting back into her life where she left off as a 14 year old. They reference a past that is just coming back into focus."