Emmy episode analysis: Tituss Burgess (‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’) goes viral with ‘Pinot Noir’

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Tituss Burgess became one of the biggest breakout stars of the previous TV season for playing Titus Andromedon on Netflix’s freshman comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Now Burgess has scored an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Supporting Actor for playing Kimmy’s fame-seeking roommate and he’s looking to win by submitting the episode (“Kimmy Goes to School”) that went viral because of a catchy tune about pinot noir.

Click here to see the updated list of all 2015 Emmy episode submissions

Titus is dropping Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) off for her first day of GED prep. He says he hopes it’s better than his high school experience. We then see a flashback of Titus in high school pretending to like sports and uncomfortably agreeing to take a girl’s virginity. Later, Titus asks his landlady Lillian (Carol Kane) to help him make a music video called “Pinot Noir: An Ode to Black Penis.” She agrees but the filming doesn’t go smoothly as they’re soon thrown off the property they’re trespassing on. When Kimmy asks Titus and Lillian to look after Jacqueline Voorhees’ (Jane Krakowski) mansion while she is at class, Titus says he’ll do it if he can finish his video there, which Kimmy agrees to. At the mansion, as Titus and Lillian prepare for the final take of the video, Titus accidentally knocks over a curtain rod, prompting Lillian to panic and flee.

While trying to fix the broken rod, Jacqueline’s step-daughter Xanthippe comes home. Titus manages to convince her that he’s a handyman and Xanthippe asks him to clean up a mess that her and her friends had made the previous night. She later catches Titus trying to finish his music video and wants to use this as leverage to get Kimmy fired, but Titus forces her to keep quiet and in exchange will help her clean up the rest of the house. While cleaning, they see that an antique pipe belonging to the Voorhees family is missing. Xanthippe knows one of her friends took it and has Titus go and get it back by having act butch and menacing. The episode closes with the completed video of “Pinot Noir,” but is it good enough to win? Let’s examine Burgess’ pros and cons:

Burgess steals every scene he’s in and gets to show his chops as both an actor and a singer. It also doesn’t hurt that this particular storyline has been repeatedly talked about as a fan favorite, with the “Pinot Noir” song even going viral.

Burgess’ performance in his episode is easily the silliest of the episodes that have been submitted in this category.

With the accompanying nomination for Best Comedy Series, it proves that the voters are watching and liking “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Some voters might find his character to be too over-the-top and irritating.

His name is not as well-known as his competitors and in a year where things are determined by a larger and broader pool of voters, that could hurt him.

“30 Rock” also had a lot of memorable supporting characters (Jenna, Tracy Jordan, Kenneth the Page) but none of them were able to actually win Emmys.

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Photo Credit: Netflix

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