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Thoughts on Russian Doll

Thoughts on Russian Doll

Spoilers for the Netflix show Russian Doll. You have been warned.


“The universe is trying to fuck with me and I refuse to engage!”

-Nadia Vulvokov,

Russian Doll


Some days you get ahead on your German homework, and some days you watch that new show that you’ve been hearing about everywhere. That’s just how it is. The other day I just casually sat on my couch and watched the entirety of the show Russian Doll. Don’t judge me to much, there are only eight episodes. Maybe you’ve heard of it, if you’ve been on twitter for two seconds within the past few days, you probably have. The show was co-created by Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler, Natasha Lyonne, and stars Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov. She’s an excellent actress, you may know her as Nicky from Orange is The New Black.

When I first started seeing ads for the show I thought it was going to be some kind of actiony superhero thing where her codename was Russian Doll. I guess my brain just always goes to superheroes. Too much Marvel in my life. It turned out to be something completely different, and I’m delighted with it.

Here come the spoilers. Second warning…you know…cause the internet demands such things. It’s an odd show. Very odd. In a good way. The show begins during Nadia’s birthday party, as she opens a bathroom door which looks like a portal to another dimension. (It’s not, it’s an art piece, though maybe those are the same thing.) Everything’s happening, Nadia’s living her life, things are good, and then she gets hit by a car looking for her beloved cat Oatmeal and dies. Yep. The protagonist dies in the first episode. Pretty bold move Russian Doll.  After her death, Nadia wakes up at her birthday party, in the exact moment that the show began.

You might see where this is going. She keeps dying and coming back to life over and over again, and eventually discovers she is not the only one this is happening to. A man named Alan, who is basically her opposite, is also caught in a loop. It’s actually very cool, because Nadia’s a video game designer, and the two of them are living like video game characters. Trying to stay alive as long as they can and resetting to the same point after they die. They are connected, they always die simultaneously.

I’ve never even tried to write tv shows, I’ve never taken a class on it, I can’t really imagine how it works, so I always really appreciate well done shows.  I mean, the acting is excellent, and it’s such a creative story. I got so engaged by the end I was yelling at my computer. It gets quite dark but holds on to its funny moments, and Nadia is tough and easy to get attached to.  I won’t tell you anymore about the plot, this isn’t a Wikipedia summary, but it’s worth watching. I am going to be very interested if they do a season two, because the show wraps up really neatly, but I would love to see more of Nadia and Alan.

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Olivia is a creative human who writes for IDEAS and reads many, many books. Got an idea for a guest blog? Email