The Weird World of “Russian Doll”

You know that strange feeling that you get when you experience deja-vu?  That feeling that you’ve lived this all before? Well, imagine if that “feeling” was a reality.  Netflix’s new original show “Russian Doll” explores the lives of two people, Nadia and Alex, who keep reliving the same day over and over again.  On paper, it sounds a lot like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day,” but here’s the catch: Nadia and Alex are not just waking up on the same day. They’re coming back to life.  Whether it’s by a car crash, falling down the stairs, or even an elevator accident, the protagonists immediately find themselves standing in a bathroom, staring at themselves in the mirror just like the beginning of every episode.  Although “Russian Doll” is a comedy, the show’s premise is truly a nightmare as the desperation to solve the mystery increased with every episode.

The character Nadia, played expertly by Natasha Lyonne, is an eccentric woman who, despite being a successful game programmer, lives an erratic lifestyle full of drugs, parties, and sexual adventures.  When she notices her cat is missing on the night of her grandiose birthday party, she ventures out into New York City to look for her. This is the beginning of the (first) end for Nadia. Needless to say, Nadia’s larger-than-life personality and spontaneity keeps the audience on their toes throughout the series.  I could never predict what she would say or do. Natasha Lyonne, most commonly known for her work in “Orange Is The New Black,” does a wonderful job at portraying such a complex and hysterical character. Her wit and frank personality keeps fans laughing despite the stress of the plot. It is near impossible to watch the show without admiring the actress’s ability to create such a character as Nadia.

Although Netflix original series are usually a huge success or a major flop, “Russian Doll” surpassed all expectations.  Dark comedies like this Netflix series are hard to produce in this time, particularly because it’s tough to deal with sensitive subjects in a comedic light without offending the audience.  However, creators Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne have succeeded in making an entertaining and, well, psychologically troubling series with flying colors. To sum up the entire show, as Nadia puts so clearly, “It’s a long story involving multiple deaths,” but it’s definitely worth the time commitment.  It will make you laugh, make you scared, and even warm your heart a little.

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Alison Mader is a Junior english major from Alpharetta, GA. She is a staff writer for Cistern Yard and a self-proclaimed Harry Potter expert.

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