Russian Doll: The Perfect Weekend Binge

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cynical person is compelled to relive a certain day in repeat, over and over again and stuck in a time loop.

Of course, you have. Because this is the exact same premise for a whole host of movies and TV series episodes. For example, Groundhog Day, Source Code, Edge of tomorrow and even recent Black Mirror event, Bandersnatch to a certain degree.

So can the same plot, that’s been done so many times over be any good or entertaining? In the case of Netflix’s new comedy-drama “Russian Doll” very much so.

Produced and co-written by Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreations”, Russian Doll, as the show itself describes itself, “a long story involving multiple deaths.”

Minor Spoilers for the 1st and 2nd episode.

It starts off with Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), a cynical New Yorker who is seen at her 36th birthday party thrown by two of her closest friend at their apartment.

Nadia happens to be a chain-smoking, alcoholic, video game programmer with a self-destructive nature and pretty bleak outlook on life. After an accident involving a local deli cat, Nadia is run over by a speeding taxi and is killed on the spot on the night of her birthday.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show

But surprising enough she’s transported back to the where the episode started off. At birthday party her friend threw for her, giving her the worst case of Déjà vu. Although writing it off as her imagination and side-effects of the narcotics she took at the party, she realized that the loop she’s in is very real after she ends up dying a few more times. Nadia is left to figure out how to free herself from this never-ending loop or if it’s even possible to free herself at all.

What makes it binge-worthy

Even with the worn out plot, Russian Doll has a lot going for it in term of making it one the most binge-worthy shows out there. For one, with having just eight episodes and a runtime less than 4 hours, it hits the sweet spot in terms of keeping the audience glued to their screens as the show keeps peeling off its different layers.

On the topic of different layers, the show is very smart right down to its characters. Dark humor and how it portrays it and handles heavy subject matter and even the theory of relativity at one point. The title of the show itself is a reference to depression and mental health which gets more prominent as the story progresses.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show.

The protagonist Nadia Vulvokov is a great reason to watch Russian doll in itself. The deaths were comically hilarious and some hilariously dark but the drama of the show was very genuine and heartfelt. Being funny, brash, cynical, and hedonistic from the beginning to the revelation of her troubled back-story and characters growth, she is the life of the show. Although the show can get a bit confusing and disjointed at times, everything comes together beautifully by the end of the final episode.

Verdict

Overall, Russian Doll is a solid show to watch with enough twists and turns and character development to keep the audience hooked. Although its overused plotline might turn away some initially, you could do much worse than giving it’s a shot and hopefully love it by the end.

That ’70s Show: The criminally underrated sitcom you need to binge.

“Hello, Wisconsin!”

If those words do not ring any bell to you, chances are you have never watched “That ’70s Show”. For those who are unfamiliar with this sitcom, here is a piece of television history for you. That ’70s Show is an American period sitcom that aired between 1998 and 2006. It ran for 200 episodes, spanning 8 seasons.

If you are a patsy for comedy, now might not be the best of times for you.

The Big Bang Theory is closing its curtain with its twelfth and final season this year. Modern Family will return for its final season in 2020. And I know you have already binged Friends a bazillion times (for some people, HIMYM applies as well). In case you feel void of a great sitcom in your life, here is a cue for you. Go watch That ’70s Show. You will be hooked. By hooked I mean you will not rest easy until you finish all of the 8 seasons. Oh, you are not convinced yet? Fine, let me take the lead then.

The resurgence of retroelements in pop culture is an indication that audiences, mostly millennials are obsessed with nostalgia. We love living in the past. This is why you will fall in love with That ’70s Show. It is set in the bell-bottom era of th mid-’70s, chronicles the lives of 6 high schoolers and interprets the cultural aspects of that period that few shows ever could. Keep in mind that this is a show about living in the ’70s and it was produced in the ’90s.

The plot

Without further ado, let’s delve into the cast and settings. The pilot episode opens in a basement of a middle-class house. 6 teenagers are orchestrating their plan to steal beer cans from Eric Forman’s dad. They are all in Eric’s house so Eric is coerced to go upstairs and scavenge the cans for them. We just met our lead cast of the show and most of them are very recognizable actors. Eric (Topher Grace) is a boy desperate to become a man, oftentimes get lectured by his funnily rude dad. Eric has a love interest, named Donna (Laura Prepon) who is not your typical retro chick. Her independent and strong nature is a hint of the burgeoning gender equality of that era.

Jacky and Kelso are an ever quarrelling couple played by real-life sweethearts Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Jacky does not fit into the group yet sticks with them whereas Kelso is a stupid good looking guy whose greatest challenge in life is to break up with Jacky. Hyde (Danny Masterson) is a nihilist and rebel. He is easily my most favorite character in this show. His Zeppelin t-shirts and love for good old rock and roll makes me like him even more. And last but not least, we have Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a foreign exchange student who is still recovering from cultural shock. Fez is the heart of this series and he will do anything to steal your girl.

What makes this show an underrated gem

One of the prime focus of this show is the chemistry between Eric and Donna. Their “More than friends but not really in love” affair is something to die for. Kelso-Jackie, the other two lovebirds put on quite a show as well. Ashton Kutcher does a phenomenal job playing Michael Kelso. Mila Kunis who was 14 while filming the pilot, is equally impressive. That ’70s show hilariously showcases the practice of smoking pot which gained notoriety in the ’70s. 4 teens lock themselves up in a basement, smoke pot and trash talk until their shenanigans get hindered by Eric’s dad. One of the most memorable scenes of this show, I can vouch for that.

I have met with mixed responses when I argued this is a gem of a show and quite underrated. Some people disagreed. The reason some people may not enjoy the jokes and sentiments of this show is because not all of us can relate to the references that entwines the music, norms and relationships of that time. Nevertheless, it rests with a special place in my fandomverse.

You will love the theme song. Rock, disco and pop reigns throughout the show. The soundtracks are unmissable, do check ‘em out!

What sets Brooklyn Nine-Nine apart from contemporary sitcoms

After nearly getting cancelled by Fox following their (incredible) fifth season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is making a comeback tonight for season 6, thanks to NBC! The show has evolved so much in the past five seasons that the description on Netflix almost feels terribly inadequate. It is no longer a show about “brilliant but immature detective Jake Peralta learning to follow rules”, but rather about a precinct full of people who are all individually quirky and complex, and together, a wholesome family. So in celebration of getting some more Nine-Nne in our lives, let’s take a look at all the things about this show that we love so much.

The diversity

While there exists many shows of the same kind – Parks and Recreations, New Girl, etc – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one that shows off one of the most diverse casts. Of all the seven main characters (not counting Hitchcock and Scully), only two of them are white males. Two are black males – both of them in roles that are superior in rank to the white males – and two thirds of the females are women of color. This certainly makes the series all the more appealing to a wider range of audience, and is a major win for women and people of color everywhere!

The wholesomeness

There are shows where characters do horrible things to their loved one and are genuinely terrible people sometimes. In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, there is nothing of the sort. Each character is unique and yet all of them are essentially good people. While characters do hurt each other occasionally, and there are ups and downs in their relationships, it is usually minor things and they do their best to correct their bads. In summary, this is one of the most wholesome shows, where all the characters are genuinely loving in their own ways and trying their very best to be good people and to be good to each other.

The complex and well-developed characters

Nine-Nine is one show that definitely does not care about gender stereotypes. Of the two male characters, Charles Boyle is explicitly feminine at times and incredibly emotional and caring – something we rarely see in male characters. Jake Peralta is constantly trying to better himself and take accountability for his own actions. One of the black male characters is openly gay and in a loving marriage with a white man, and yet the show does not exploit his sexuality for humor or storylines.

The other black male character is a loving father who proudly bonds with his daughters and spends time with them without making that seem like a big deal. Rosa Diaz is a bisexual woman of color. Her parents reject her sexuality at first. Amy Santiago is a badass woman on her own and in one of the Halloween Heists openly challenges the idea that she is “Just Jake’s girlfriend”. When it comes to creating characters who challenge all kinds of stereotypes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done an incredible job!

The contemporary relevance

Why we love Brooklyn Nine Nine 1

Even as a comedy TV show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done a lot to highlight contemporary issues. In recent times of racial profiling and police shootings, the show had Terry go through a horrible experience of a similar incident. The show didn’t even try to sugarcoat that reporting these things – as Terry did – can actually harm the survivor’s own career prospects at times. Captain Holt being an openly gay black man is very open about both the administrative and personal hurdles he had to face for it. In one episode, Holt actually refers to a recent incidence of an overachieving minority student who had made a clock which was thought to be a bomb. So Brooklyn Nine-Nine not only outdid it in terms of humor, but it has been incredible in terms of starting conversations about contemporary issues across the U.S. – where the show is based.

The cold opens

The biggest debate across the Nine-Nine fanbase – after “Is Kelly Scully’s wife or dog?”, which cold open is the best? Is it the one where Jake does the full bullpen? Is it where Scully drinks his own goldfish? What about where Charles gets a “Diane Wiest” infection? Or – my personal favorite – the one where all the perps sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys? Brooklyn Nine-Nine has given us some of the best cold opens, and there are plenty of compilation videos of them on YouTube to prove it.

It feels like fans have been waiting forever for season six, and the day is finally here! So tonight, we are staying in, we are popping some corn and putting on our pajamas for the long awaited sixth season. I’m so excited to see more development on these characters, and I hope the nups are getting even more toit this season.