Netflix’s “Russian Doll” Blends Horror and Comedy

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BY Samantha O’Donnell

Staff Reporter

“Russian Doll,” premiered on Netflix on Feb. 1. The show was created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland.

Lyonne is no stranger to Netflix originals. She appeared in the hit Netflix show “Orange is the New Black,” where she played inmate Nicole Nichols. She received an Emmy nomination in 2014 for her role.

“She was definitely the strongest actress on the show,” said sophomore Erica Allocca.

Fans of Lyonne seem to have no qualms with her taking on this role. The sentiments are similar regarding Amy Poehler’s directing.

“I have never seen Poehler in a serious light or in any dramatic roles,” said sophomore Rebecca Radisic. “I have also never seen anything she has directed. But I think it’s cool when actors direct shows and movies. People underestimate them, but they know how things will play out on set because they’ve been around it and worked with all types of directors before.”

This is not Amy Poehler’s first time directing a TV show.

Many know Poehler from her leading role on the popular sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” on which she played deputy parks director and city council woman Leslie Knope. Poehler directed three episodes of the TV show: “The Debate,” “Article Two,” and “Gryzzlbox.”

She also directed the TV movie “Dumb Prince,” and, most recently, the movie “Wine Country.”

“Russian Doll” follows a young woman named Nadia Vulvokov who is in a sticky situation. Nadia finds herself reliving her 36th birthday party over and over again, dying every time. She has to figure out how to stop the cycle from repeating itself.

The show has received a positive reception from its audience. On the popular review website, Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a 98% approval rating. Rolling Stone’s television reviewer Alan Sepinwall gave the series four and a half stars out of five.

Although the show has received a slew of positive feedback, there are some naysayers.

“The plot seems very similar to ‘Happy Death Day,’ ” said freshman Carrie Camara.

“Happy Death Day” is a popular horror film that was released in Oct. 2017. The movie follows a college student who gets murdered on her birthday and relives the day over and over again. The protagonist has to find the killer and stop her death to break out of the cycle.

“It is very similar,” said Allocca, “they just took the same concept and made it into a show.”

Movie buffs might also recall a much earlier use of time loop trope in the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day,” which stars Bill Murray as a weatherman who must bemusedly relive the titular holiday until he makes the right change in his life.

With the trope having been implemented so many times in the past, some students have opted out of watching “Russian Doll” – especially since “Happy Death Day 2U” (the sequel to “Happy Death Day”) is hitting theaters this month. These students are more inclined to keep up with a familiar franchise than to get involved with a new one. The sequel follows the same plot line as the original movie.

What separates “Russian Doll” from “Happy Death Day” is the suspense. “Russian Doll” has the plot develop over eight episodes.

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