‘Kimmy Schmidt’ Doesn’t Pick Up Where It Left Off — Here’s When Season 4 Actually Takes Place

Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

Spoilers ahead for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 4 Part 1. The new episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seem at first to pick up exactly where the third season left off. Titus' career has reached a new peek; Jacqueline has found her calling as Titus' manager; and Kimmy has left Columbia University for a career as a human resources professional for burgeoning tech company Giztoob. However, the first episode of the season centers around a cultural movement that didn't happen until well after Season 3's premiere in early May 2017. So was there a time jump before Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 4?

Kimmy Schmidt has always made jokes out of whatever is happening in the culture, whether the show is referencing popular movies or music or mocking America's political situation. However, it seems that Season 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes place a year after the events of Season 3, judging from the specific references that the series makes — as well as some evidence about the timeline from a documentary-within-the-series. While this jump in time doesn't affect the characters much, it does afford the show the opportunity to make fun of everything from white privilege to Men's Right's Activists, making Season 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt one the show's most political seasons yet.

Many of the season's references have been part of the larger cultural conversation for a while, including a callback to the film Get Out, and an entire episode presented in the style of a true crime documentary similar to Making A Murderer or The Jinx. However, one of the most immediate cultural references in Kimmy Schmidt indicates that the new season takes place in 2018, or at least the latter month's of 2017 — the #MeToo movement. The season's first episode shows Kimmy's kindness towards others being misinterpreted as sexual advances, leading to the office claiming that she's harassing others — and a later episode makes reference to Harvey Weinstein; the deluge of accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him that were made public galvanized the #MeToo movement.

Additionally, the true crime documentary about Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne that Kimmy watches on HouseFlix labels a scene as being set in February 2018 — making it likely that Kimmy is watching the finished product at least a few months later. Using that February date as a marker, it's entirely possible that Season 4 begins a few months after the filming of that documentary, possibly even beginning on May 30, 2018, the actual day that Season 4 of Kimmy Schmidt premiered on Netflix.

Kimmy Schmidt seems to lack a distinct timeline, but that doesn't really mean much to the show's narrative. Unlike shows like Westworld in which timelines are important to understanding the story being told, the only timeline Kimmy Schmidt is beholden to is whatever timeline allows the writers crafting the series to make the best jokes. All the better if those jokes are able to comment on the many pitfalls of living in America in the year 2018.

While subjects like the misogyny exhibited by many Trump supporters, white privilege, manipulative documentaries, and the career of Greg Kinnear have been around for far longer than the past year, many of these topics have inspired more conversation in the year since Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 came out... with the exception of maybe Greg Kinnear. And since the timeline doesn't matter much, the show has the freedom to tackle whatever topic strikes its fancy without having to re-explain the existing cultural context. Whether or not there was a proper time jump between Seasons 3 and 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it seems the world of the show has changed, even if the characters are still the same.