One of my favorite movies of all time is Groundhog day. I think the idea that someone who is not doing well in life has a chance to re-live the same day – that one day can make a difference – and change everything for the better? It’s really appealing. Not so appealing is the insinuation in that movie (and in interviews later) that lead character Phil was potentially trapped there for potentially thousands of years. And there are lots of other takes on this genre of story, including one of my favorite cheesy Christmas movies, and a recent surprise blockbuster. So whenever I hear about a new movie or show that uses this same plot device, I’m a little hesitant. So many are terrible, and there are few great ones.
Fortunately, Netflix’s Russian Doll is the kind of series that people took to immediately, and thus binged and started discussing within days. Yes, it’s another time loop story – Nadia is stuck reliving her 36th birthday over and over again. She learns a little more about what’s happening, goes someplace new in the world and tries another path, and then continues to reset in the bathroom while Harry Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up” plays. (Side note: if you aren’t either completely put off by, or adoring that song by the end of the show, there is something wrong with you).
…And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because I feel like it’s best to go into these kind of things fresh without expectation or advanced warning. I feel so lucky that the Boy and I managed to sneak in watching this show as early after it came out as we did, because I feel like the spoilers about what happens, and things to look for are already out there (and were out there even when we were watching!) and just waiting to ruin the show for you.
It’s a fun show, and self-contained in the world that the 8 episodes presents. It is funny and dark, deep and thoughtful. You will probably find yourself pointing things out and looking for connections to other episodes as you continue the show. It is so smart, and I hope that more shows like it get made. It is a show made by an all-female creative team – creators, writers and directors – and gives me hope that its success will be beneficial for more movies and television shows created, written and directed by women that also star and feature women in multi-dimensional roles.
And with that, I’m going to let you go watch it if you haven’t already. If anyone wants to discuss what happens in the show, feel free to do so in the comments, which I will consider a spoilerific zone.
Details: Russian Doll, streaming on Netflix.