Just as there are natural born leaders, there are also natural born followers, and I think we can all agree that Kimmy's former bunker-mate Gretchen has a tendency to fall into the latter category. While checking her "electronic mail" at the library, Kimmy discovers that Gretchen has become a member of the religion known as the Church of Cosmetology. And while the cult of Cosmetology isn't real beyond Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt , it could be seen as an alleged spoof on the popular, real-life religious organization known as the Church of Scientology, which has become a well-known belief system for Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and many, many more. Bustle reached out to Netflix and the Church of Scientology about the similarities, but has not yet received a response.
As the episode progresses, we come to learn more and more about Gretchen's newfound religion — like the fact that the founder of the church is former makeup artist Clint Flagstaff, who went on to write a book called Foundations: Unlocking Your Hidden Potential, which basically serves as the gospel for all of his followers. Could this character be seen as a parallel to Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who created the organization by means of a book — a self-help book titled Dianetics — as well?
Then there's the cruise ship ad, which is how Kimmy realized that Gretchen was a member of the religion in the place. This could allegedly be a parody of The Sea Organization, which Hubbard only allowed his most dedicated Scientologists to join, according to the organization's website. The Kimmy Schmidt ad also assures its viewers that those who join will be granted "mind powers" (like the ability to turn corn kernels into popcorn) and showcases a device that looks similar to the Scientology E-meter (short for electro-psychometer), which Hubbard created for his auditors that "measures mental state and change of state in individuals," according to the Scientology website. The site also says the device is used to "locate and confront areas of spiritual upset."
In the end, Kimmy is able to talk Gretchen out of following yet another leader, which results in Gretchen forming a religion of her very own. All's well that ends well?
Images: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix (2); Netflix; Giphy