‘Russian Doll’ Ravishes With Radiance

Ryan Stewart, Staff Writer

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Episode after episode and layer after layer, each new face is shown of “Russian Doll,” a Netflix original starring Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, a compulsive smoker and source of surprisingly good one-liners and Charlie Barnett as Alan Zaveri, an obsessive compulsive with more than a few mental issues.

The first scene is of Nadia hyping herself up in front of a mirror, a scene which will happen just one or two more times in the span of the show. We soon learn that Nadia can’t die. Or rather she can, but each time she does, she wakes up in the bathroom right at the beginning.

This could have been a nothing kind of show. This premise has been played out to death.

But thanks to there being another person who this is happening to (Alan), mind-bending pseudoscience and drug-fueled lapses in judgement, “Russian Doll” avoids being just another re-run in a Groundhog-Day-esque montage.

Another way that “Russian Doll” avoided that montage is with an absolutely brilliant cast of actors. Their performances were all stunning, each actor felt like an actual character. Their offbeat humor and tones make it seem as if they’re all just a bunch of people engaging without scripts.

“Russian Doll” is an oddball kind of show. The humor? Dark. The story? Spiraling. The end result? Something which finally stands up to the name “Netflix Original.” Most of these shows that Netflix puts out, with a few exceptions, are generic in everything from the story to the title.

The title of this show however, is at first confusing; it’s an allusion to the nature of Russian nesting dolls — it’s impossible to see the entirety of the doll without fully opening it up. “Russian Doll” means just about nothing with the context of the first few episodes.

But as this easily (more so than your average Netflix Original) bingeable show keeps going, and you see the next face of the doll, the metaphor and the plot start to make sense in a way that is intriguing and left me with just one question:

When is the next season due?

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‘Russian Doll’ Ravishes With Radiance