The 2015 Netflix original comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created by comedy juggernaut Tina Fey and starring big names like Jane Krakowski, was sure to make waves. The show starred religious cult escapee Kimmy Schmidt and struggling actor Titus Andromedon as flatmates trying to find their way in New York City. Sure enough, the critical response at its release was almost unanimously positive. Many praised its dark sense of humor and willingness to explore questionable topics.
One of the heavy topics that the show explores is race. Titus is a large, openly gay black man who frequently finds himself surrounded by controversy about either his race or his sexual orientation. One episode focused on the former, as Titus scored a role at a horror-themed restaurant as a werewolf. Upon leaving the restaurant, however, he discovers that he receives better treatment in his werewolf makeup than he ever did as a black man in New York City.
Eventually, the makeup begins to wear off. Titus begins to look like himself again, and the world around him once again treats him badly. Throughout this ordeal, Titus never falls into the archetypal black man in cinema, filled with anger and aggression. Titus remains one of the softest and kindest characters in the whole series, and this episode juxtaposes those kind actions with the cruel actions of those around him.
Unbreakable manages to create an episode about racial stereotypes without falling into them itself. It does this by pointing out the ridiculousness of the stereotype, in this case that all black men are dangerous, by showing how untrue it is. Therefore, this show is fighting back against the stereotype and helping to construct a new cultural identity for black men in America.