Return to Gilead: 10 shows to check out if you miss The Handmaid’s Tale

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

What it’s about: A sexual abuse survivor remakes her life after 15 years of captivity at the hands of the idiotic, self-proclaimed reverend of a doomsday cult. Did I mention this is a comedy?

The Gilead connection: I often joke Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is basically Room, but funny. While I mostly stand by that assessment, I can’t deny the obvious DNA Kimmy shares with The Handmaid’s Tale. June’s experience is quite similar to Kimmy’s: both have been held hostage by women-hating forces. Unluckily for June and her cohorts, Gilead is much more efficient and far-reaching than Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne and his bunker.

The reverend is an oaf, but he’s no less sinister than The Handmaid’s Tale’s Commanders and Gilead sympathizers. He, too, is sure women are less intelligent and were put on earth only to meet his and all men’s needs. And, similar to all of Handmaid’s female characters, Kimmy and her fellow “mole women” were forced to cede control of their bodies and behaviors based on a dude’s whims. They weren’t even allowed to choose their own hairstyles or clothing. (Really, I can’t decide which is worse: the Handmaids’ pre-Revolutionary caps or the mole women’s sister wives-esque Prairie frocks.)

Overall, the most optimistic connection between UKS and THT is the suggestion that June could have a fulfilling life if she ever manages to leave Gilead. It will be rife with PTSD and musings about what could have been, but it will be a life that’s hers and no one else’s.

Where to watch: Kimmy Schmidt’s entire run so far is streaming on Netflix. The second half of its fourth and final season is expected in 2019.