Tina Fey’s Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been accused of racism — but the series co-creator and former 30 Rock star doesn’t really care if viewers find the show offensive.
In an interview with Net-a-Porter, the 45-year-old writer-actress said she’s finished explaining her jokes to the politically correct, oversensitive television audiences of today.
“Steer clear of the Internet and you’ll live forever,” Fey joked in her interview with the online magazine.
Fey’s exasperation stems from the third episode of the show’s first season, which delves into Jacqueline Voorhees’ (Jane Krakowski) Native American heritage.
It’s clear the show intends for the joke to be on Jacqueline, but this approach fails roughly half the time. Jacqueline learns directions from the traditions of the Four Winds that help her in her future as a rich white lady who has broken her GPS in a tantrum; Jacqueline triumphantly howls at the sky after deciding to re-embrace her heritage and attacking a high-schooler in an Indian costume. The caricatures are so over-the-top, the show is clearly aiming for self-awareness (one of the latter episodes includes a line about being upset that Hispanics play Native Americans on TV — meanwhile, the actor who plays Jacqueline’s father Virgil, Gil Birmingham, is of Comanche descent). But self-awareness is often the pop-culture equivalent of prefacing a comment with, “I’m not racist, but …” — it doesn’t serve as instant absolution.
Buy Fey has seemingly had it with the instant outrage culture of the Internet.
“We did an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode and the Internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist,’ but my new goal is not to explain jokes,” she told Net-a-Porter. “I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There’s a real culture of demanding apologies, and I’m opting out of that.”
Fey hosted last weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live alongside friend and frequent collaborator Amy Poehler. The duo also star in the movie Sisters, which opened against Star Wars last weekend.