Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 production still. Image: Eric Liebowitz / Netflix (via Netflix PR).
Episode 3: Jacqueline takes on the Washington Redskins
The whole white-woman-is-Native-American thing is still pretty twitchy, even two seasons down the line. I’m not especially qualified to say anything about whether or not it’s tasteful, so I’ll stick with the character herself: Jacqueline is undergoing some major changes in season 3. In season 1, we laughed at her caricature of rich, white ineptitude and obliviousness to the needs of others. It was funny at the time, but I now understand that three seasons of it would have been far too much. The writers got this, too, so they set Jacqueline up to learn something of philanthropy in season 3. And she learns it by trying to rename the Washington Redskins.
Her best moment in this arc was actually in season 2, where she breaks up with Russ, a man she loves, because of what she perceives as his stupid, racist attitude (an attitude she learns he does not share with his family). But there’s another, smaller, similar moment in episode 3 of season 3, when Russ outs her as a Native American to his entire family and Jacqueline storms off, angry that he took something that was hers and hers alone to share and threw it to the dogs. Watching Jacqueline get hurt by very real problems, as opposed to her former, made-up, rich ones, offers an intimate window into the transformation of her character. We’ll be back with her again toward the end of the season to see how all this plays out.