Okay so either you’ve watched Russian Doll or you’re one of those people who reads the last page first. Spoilers ahead.
One of my favourite things about this show was the way they portrayed Nadia’s relationships with her friends Maxine and Lizzy. Maxine is hosting the birthday party Nadia keeps looping back to, and Lizzy provides a lot of dialogue variation in each loop. The two characters seem quite opposite: Maxine is a very Type A “Here to be seen” character, and her friendship with Nadia is tense; you almost wonder why they’re friends at all. Then there’s Lizzy, so cool, so chill, so aware of herself and along for the ride, no questions asked (“Oh sweet I love fire escapes!”). Her relationship with Nadia is also tense, but Lizzy hides it and accepts Nadia for who she is, even when it hurts. This seems like a straightforward presentation of modern women’s friendships, but one could very easily see Maxine and Lizzy as the personifications of Nadia’s own duality and internal conflict. Nadia is so terse and blunt with her friends because in the
Duality plays a major roll in this series. The show takes a deep dive into the nature of the self, why we are who we are and how our self-perception shapes the reality around us. The most obvious depiction of this is through mirrors and literal reflections of the character. But the cinematography also captures this beautifully, utilizing a lot of split screen or implied-split
I liked Alan a lot, for his fallibility as much as the way he showcases Nadia’s stubborn nature and inability to evolve, and eventually becoming her point of stability in a world that’s falling apart. Alan seemed to personify Nadia’s relationships with/to men in general. He begins as a tool she needs to figure out what’s happening and becomes a mama bird forcing Nadia towards her own independence, and eventually ending with their friendship. Sure, they hook up for a moment, but that didn’t mean anything to either of them, right? It was during the middle of their cycling when neither character was considering the consequences of their
I went into my marathon of Russian Doll knowing nothing more than the autoplay trailer on mute. It started as some kind of dark
Nadia actress Natasha Lyonne was involved in every aspect of the show, from writing to producing, with Leslye Headland and Jamie Babbit also directing, and Amy Poehler executive producing. I don’t think the female-centric perspective of this show is necessarily worth dissecting here; it simply is. But learning of the all-female writing team after the fact did explain my enjoyment of certain scenes. When Nadia heads to her code review meeting, and everyone else at the table is a) male and b) receiving praise, and then “Nadia, we… we found a bug in your code.” That scene is so tense, like ooooh shit well the woman fucked up but of
I want to talk about Horse for a minute.
And in return, he wanted to cut her hair. “Let me cut your hair, I know what I’m doing.” Always the hair. We see in a scene with her mom that Nadia’s hair is important, and it serves as the reflection of her mother in her adult self. Women’s hair is
The scene that made me literally shout at the TV? It was, appropriately, the final scene, the parade march that Nadia and Alan find themselves falling into. Is… is it really…? A Dia de
There is A LOT a lot more to unpack from these 8 episodes, and I’m looking forward to a rewatch. Knowing what unfolds, I want to watch for more covert displays of reflection and dualities, watch for what repeats and what changes, what and who disappears. There were some amazing quotes throughout the episodes that I didn’t bother to write down, but overall I found the premises presented in Russian Doll to be quite profound and humbling. Food for thought.
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