We here at Sacred Chickens are very concerned with narratives- we love exploring, creating and analyzing them. So, when we run into a book, tv show or movie that challenges us on a narrative level, we get pretty excited. Given that, the Netflix series Russian Doll is perfect for us- it challenges our ideas of what a human story looks like in time and space and plays with that notion. Jarad’s review is for those of you who haven’t seen it. Julie has some thoughts and questions afterwards for those of you who have.
Jarad’s Review (for those of you who haven’t watched the series yet):
Julie was the one who introduced me to this series (I’m not much of a TV watcher) and once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop. I actually stayed up till three o’ clock in the morning trying to finish it, something I don’t do very often.
The narrative of the series is complex, and a gift to any book lover. It centers on Nadia, a woman who dies on her thirty-sixth birthday. Again, and again and again. She repeats the day of her party on a continuous loop, and no matter how hard she tries, she still dies at the end. Also, her cat is missing, and I’m conflicted as to which issue is more important. Without giving too much away, I will say that Nadia is a darkly funny, sarcastic character, and her deaths match her personality.
The series, in a nutshell, examines what it means to exist. Heavy I know, but also not really. Nadia is in the midst of an existential crisis; however, the episodes don’t feel like we’re in a philosophy lecture (the Philosophy department at my college is the most humorless group of people I’ve ever met. Even Socrates knew how to laugh people!). This series is impossible to summarize. I would just tell you to watch it yourself, but I do have to write a post. Nadia, although smart, funny, and an overall interesting person, is deeply unhappy, both because of past trauma and present issues. She, as many people do, doesn’t see the good in her life and what makes it worth living. The universe is trying to teach her something, I think.
It’s funny, smart, poignant, and it’s got great cast of characters. If you’re not interested yet, I suspect you’re from the philosophy department.
Julie’s addendum for those of you who have seen it:
I would like to preface what I’m about to write by saying timelines and alternate realities have been on my mind a lot, particularly in the past few years. Starting about…oh…fall of 2016, for some strange reason. In fact, here’s a little story to let you know how obsessed I’ve been. I got a bleach stain on my purple Alice in Wonderland t-shirt. I really did. I know I did. I washed the shirt and the bleach stain was gone. Thinking perhaps the timeline had gone back on track, I ran to the woodshop and asked my husband, “Who’s president?” Alas…I discovered that the timeline had not repaired itself, at least not in any useful way. Anyhoo…watching Russian Doll brought a lot of my weird thoughts about time and reality bubbling to the surface.
Following is a list of random thoughts and questions that occurred to me after watching, most of related to telling stories about time. Some of them relate directly to the plot and others are just odd connections my brain made. I would love to hear your thoughts as well.
What kind of things did you guys think about when you watched?
Julie Carpenter is the creator of the Sacred Chickens website. She is dedicated to telling stories and making sure that indie writers and publishers have a way to be heard. She uses narrative, her own and others’, to help interpret the world. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Memphis, with an emphasis in Composition Theory. She wants to bend reality one story at a time. Julie’s work has appeared in Fiction on the Web and will be included The New Guard. She is currently working on a novel.
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He recently developed an interest (some might say obsession) with gardening. Jarad is an English major with a concentration in literature. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!