If you fell in love with her no-bullshit and uncensored attitude as Nicky Nichols in Orange is the New Black you’re going to want to watch Natasha Lyonne in Netflix’s latest Russian Doll as Nadia Vulvokov. Lyonne continues to showcase an organic madness that only she can bring on screen. The series begins by completely blowing your mind quite literally after Nadia leaves her 36th birthday just to get hit by a car. After dying, she transports back to the start of her birthday party, alive and unscathed, a process which she continues to relive over and over again.
Lyonne created and wrote the series alongside fellow creative geniuses Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland. Paired with this powerhouse trio, the series was written and directed by all women. According to Lyonne, this was entirely on accident:
“The true sort of accidental joy of doing it was how quickly gender disappears once you’re surrounded by incredible women — that they end up accidentally creating something that’s far more human than it is a gendered caricature of the world.”
Throughout the 8-episode series, we peel away the layers of Nadia that, spoiler-alert, don’t fall in line with the recurring narrative of a woman’s problems solved by the inclusion of a man. We have a female protagonist that’s crisis falls within herself. Her wants and needs go beyond finding love or becoming a mother. She has mommy-issues that she hasn’t adequately dealt with, she medicates with drugs and alcohol, and she has the tendency to push people away. To get to the root of any of this and actually solve those issues, she’d have to unravel them herself. She has to face them head-on and fight them herself. She has to fight for herself. Falling in love with a man or having a baby wouldn’t fix these problems. Although this has always been the case, females are finally getting the chance to display more of this evolving female narrative on screen.
Co-creator Headland told INSIDER:
“One thing that I find, even with the most supportive and open-minded male producers or filmmakers, is that a lot of the times I do have to explain to them that the way I feel about a particular theme, or protagonist’s actions, or whatever it is, that I have a particular problem with it because of ‘X.’”
With the opportunity to change the stereotypes females fall into on screen also comes the chance to take even the most unbiased males and actually show them the depth female characters do have and how that needs to align with what’s played out on screen. With female writers leading more creative film and television productions, creates the opening to change the female narrative we’ve stereotyped in reality.