Holy "Schmidt"! That last name has become a go-to for TV and film writers looking to give their characters a memorable moniker.
Netflix made headlines last week when it picked up two seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the sitcom starring Ellie Kemper as a former cult member navigating the big city. NBC was originally set to launch the new comedy, from 30 Rock exec producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, but the Netflix deal was too good to pass up (and saved NBC the expense of trying to launch the new show in this sitcom-challenged era).
Kemper's character is just the latest in a growing community of TV and movie Schmidts. Max Greenfield plays the bro-tastic Schmidt (first name unknown) on Fox's New Girl, while Ashton Kutcher is wealthy Internet tycoon Walden Schmidt on CBS' Two and a Half Men. In features, Jonah Hill has played undercover cop Morton Schmidt in 21 Jump Street and this past summer's sequel, 22 Jump Street, while Jack Nicholson played in the title character in 2002's About Schmidt.
Why is TV piling up in so much Schmidt? "We wanted a strong, American heartland name for our strong, heartland heroine," Carlock says. But what makes the name funny? Quite simply, Carlock notes, "It is German." (The fact that it sounds a lot like an epithet obviously doesn't hurt.)
Is there a chance all of these Schmidts are related? "I smell a spinoff," Carlock says with a laugh. "With Phillies great Mike Schmidt playing the dad!" We have to say, that idea sounds full of Schmidt.