Netflix’s Russian Doll Is a Binge-worthy Experience

Show expected to be the first major hit of the year for streaming service


Dr. Alexey Yakovlev

Ekaterina Shipulina from the Bolshoi Theater performs “The Dying Swan” from “Swan Lake” ballet.

Alin Pasokhian, Web Editor

Leading 2019 with what is believed to be the first hit tv show of the year, Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” created by Amy Poehler, Natasha Lyonne, and Leslye Headland, draws the audience in with its absurdly vague trailer. What seems to be yet another “Groundhog Day” gone wrong, or a far more cringe-worthy version of “Happy Death Day,” the trailer opens with the lead, Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) staring into the mirror in her best friend’s bathroom.

What is supposed to be a celebration of her 36th birthday, quickly turns into a quest of discovering the reason why she keeps dying and “restarting” her life back at her birthday party. Though the trailer does not give away anything other than the continuous loop of various elaborate deaths, watching the show itself, reveals that Nadia is not stuck in a mere purgatory. Rather she may not be the only one affected by all the actions committed in this loop.  

The reason behind this vague trailer is only to showcase the genius behind the work of Poehler, Lyonne, and Headland; they want the audience to go into this series with as little knowledge as possible, just as Nadia does. The trailer does nothing other than giving the audience the premise in which the show takes place.

Though “Russian Doll” was meant to originally be a drama, Nadia continuously dies in comedic ways, providing comic relief to the audience in an otherwise grim storyline. This showcases yet another one of Poehler’s, Lyonne’s, and Headland’s talents as writerswith the ability to create a very sober tale of how our actions have very serious consequences while also fitting in some humor to keep the story fresh and interesting.

Despite the wide range of praise received from critics and audiences alike, the show’s biggest achievement that is often overlooked, is that it is created by women, with strong female characters, who do not overshadow their male counterparts. Though the male characters may not get as much screen time or significance, each one of their stories still proves to be essential to the main plot of the show.

Cleverly created, this show also introduces several hidden gems of information that slowly gain significance as the story goes on, and the supporting characters gain traction. This constantly keeps the audience at the edge of their seat, not knowing what little piece of information they need to remember, and which will gain importance later on in the show.  

By doing this, the audience should take the advice of the creators (as well as mine), and watch this show with as little knowledge as possible because it will only enrich the experience of going through the quest alongside Nadia. The point of the story is to not only help the audience figure out what happened with Nadia but to also help the audience analyze their own actions, constantly second-guessing themselves and how it will affect them in their own purgatorial loop.