There are Netflix shows that master the art of the binge-watcher, and Russian Doll is one of them. A show centered around Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) and her seemingly endless loop of death, the show is a poignant look at how we view our past mistakes, connections to those around us, and the power of the desire to survive.
Created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, the show is best described as Groundhog Day meets every snarky comedy you love with your whole heart. Nadia is brash, sassy, and hides her pain behind her selfish mask, though it’s through her actions towards a homeless man she continually runs into (Horse) and how she actively makes sure he’s okay—along with Ruth, the woman who helped raise her, and her friends—that prove that Nadia is more open than she lets on.
While, yes, she lives the same day over and over again, Lyonne, Headland, and company have managed to make each new death and journey that Nadia has to go on interesting and worthwhile. We’re not stuck in the same rut as Nadia. With each new day, we get a new glimpse into her life and what she has been through to get her to her career as a coder for a video game company, and to her group of interesting artist friends living in the East Village of New York City.
There is an air about Nadia that’s typically only allowed to surround male characters, heavy into her sarcasm and her chosen career, but there is never a moment where she is questioned about her status because she is a woman. Maybe that’s because she has bigger things to worry about (like why she keeps dying and ending up back at her birthday party), or maybe it is because the show is created by a team of exceptionally talented women who know how women can exist in these spaces without making it about the fact that they’re women.
It’s a breath of fresh air in a completely morbid way. We’re watching as Nadia continues to die these horrific deaths, but it’s wonderful because the show is unapologetically female in a way we don’t often get to see. While Nadia is understandably cold at times, there is a warmth that comes to the show in the form of Alan, played by Charlie Barnett. A wonderful man who is stuck reliving the worst day of his life, he also dies continually alongside Nadia, and the two have to join together to figure out how they can stop it, having not known each other before all this started happening, even though they were practically neighbors.
From Natasha Lyonne’s amazing performance as Nadia to Barnett’s sweet take on Alan, the show is packed with talent, wonderfully intriguing dialogue, and a plot that you couldn’t figure out even if you tried.
Filled with twists and turns you never see coming, Russian Doll manages to always keep you on your toes and give you a perfect show to binge watch. The show manages to have heart, be clever, and be something completely original in 2019—definitely worth the watch.
Russian Doll hits Netflix this February 1st, right before we find out if Punxsutawney Phil is freeing us from winter or keeping us stuck in a loop for the next eternity, just like Nadia.
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