And, it also has a slew of new guest stars, locations, surprises and a big cliffhanger, according to Kemper.
“It’s an excellent cliffhanger,” Kemper tells Variety of the upcoming season ender. “Season one, there was a number of cliffhangers and so, I don’t know if cliffhanger is the right word, but season two ends with some things not wrapped up, some things are addressed, but there’s a lot left open, which is good since we have another season.”
Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, Zosia Mamet, Jeff Goldblum, Anna Camp and co-creator Tina Fey are among this season’s guest stars, and as for new settings, Kemper reveals the New York City gal heads to Universal Studios (“Kimmy has some business to take care of on a roller coaster”).
With this season being produced for Netflix, while season one was made for NBC, Kemper insists that the show has stuck to its roots and didn’t change just because it’s no longer under broadcast regulations. “Tonally, I really don’t think there is much difference, which I’m grateful for,” she says.
Here, Kemper talks to Variety about changes in Kimmy for season two, guest stars, Netflix — and her grandpa.
What changes will see in Kimmy this season, in terms of character development?
Kimmy’s grappling with right vs. wrong, black vs. white, gray areas of life. It’s one thing to survive a bunker, which is this extreme circumstance that’s unimaginable to most of us, but now she’s just making her way through everyday life and I think she’s frustrated that she can’t fix everything and that not everything is up to her. If she sees a problem she wants it to go away and she’ll make it go away. This season is a lot of acceptance that a lot of stuff is out of her control. Without losing her optimism, she’s accepting the reality of the world, which is that there has to be a lot of acceptance. Never apathy, but accepting that some things you can’t change.
You mentioned optimism. Does she keep that same bubbly spirit in the new episodes?
I think the spirit is present throughout. I think that it’s tempered based on what ordeal she’s going through, but I think that she’s frustrated a lot in this. There are outbursts and flashes of anger that we maybe didn’t see in the first season, and that’s healthy. She needs to understand that is okay, it’s okay to be mad, you can be mad but you can also retain a sense of hopefulness. I keep saying I think that sort of optimism she has is innate, but it doesn’t come naturally. I think it is kind of in her DNA to be hopeful about things, but her greatest asset is probably her strength, which helps her to endure these things.
The first season was produced for NBC and the second season was produced for Netflix. What differences in tone will we see, now that you didn’t have broadcast regulations?
I think the time is the biggest difference that I’ve noticed. It’s not like it’s racier — I think there’s one thing with someone lifting up her shirt, and that’s like nothing. There’s no nudity, there’s no violence. Tina [Fey] brought up a great point, which is that a lot of the audience is younger. She and Robert [Carlock] maybe felt the responsibility like, “Oh, well we don’t want to blindside them.” These parents are letting their kids watch this.
As you mentioned, you’re given more time in each episode. How do those few added minutes change things as a performer?
It’s been nice and also I’ve noticed, “Oh, the days are longer.” Which is great! The scripts themselves have gotten longer and we actually did add a day of production. We were doing them all in five days — now it’s all six days. It is nice to have time for the jokes to breathe and for the emotional moments to register a bit more… you don’t feel like you have to rush through things. I watched the first three episodes and I hardly noticed they were longer, which is, I think, a good thing. It did feel like a good pace, nothing was abrupt.
Had the show stayed on NBC, as originally planned, do you think it would have done well?
I think Netflix is a wonderful fit. Netflix has a whole variety of shows that caters to different people’s tastes. I actually think that a lot of people who might not have found it on NBC found it on Netflix. I don’t know specifically who those people are, since Netflix doesn’t release any ratings or demographics, but the landscape is changing. Even someone like my grandpa, he subscribes to Netflix, he’s 94. He wants to watch things when he’s awake. It’s nice that he can do that on his own schedule and he loves our show.
You’re grandpa is very tech-savvy!
He’s the one who told me about Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify.
Do you like not knowing how many people are watching?
I’m just glad that it landed where it did land. It’s also nice that they release all episodes at once because we don’t have to worry, at least, about numbers. You don’t have to think, “Uh oh, it didn’t do well this week, is it going to do well the next week?” They just did it all at once, so there was no chance of it getting cancelled, which is a good feeling.
What was it like to have Tina Fey, your boss, guest star?
We see her for a bit, which is a huge blessing because I think she’s so funny. I know that’s a crazy opinion to put out there — Tina Fey is funny!
“Pitch Perfect” star Anna Camp is also guest starring. What can you reveal about her?
I didn’t have that much interaction with Anna, actually. She played Pam’s sister on “The Office.” She can do all things well and be funny or serious. She’s also great at being a villain, which she kind of is in this. I didn’t really get to interact with the guest stars as much as some of the other characters. Tina and Robert know everyone, so they bring in their friends and it’s a lucky thing.