‘Russian Doll’ And ‘The Good Place’ Are Spiritual Cousins With A Powerful Message

02.06.19 5 months ago 4 Comments


Russian Doll and The Good Place are very different shows. It’s the tone, mostly. The Good Place is bright and fun, Russian Doll is dark and a little meaner. It’s also the style. Russian Doll is set in New York City, in all of its grime, with open sewer grates and teeny tiny kitchens and 3 a.m. stops at a bodega. The Good Place is set in a fictional afterlife paradise (or rather, something approximating that for evil purposes), with an idyllic downtown and bushy green trees and so very many colors. If Nadia from Russian Doll met anyone from The Good Place, she would roll her eyes, take a drag off of the cigarette dangling from her lips, and walk away.

There are also a bunch of similarities between the shows. Both are about flawed-but-charismatic trainwrecks (Nadia, Eleanor) who die unexpectedly at a young age and, through the power of many reboots and the assistance of an overly cautious high-strung man (Alan, Chidi), despite a higher power messing with them (unseen rascal universe-manipulator, assorted well-dressed demons), they try to correct the errors they made before their death, many of which can be sourced to a weird relationship with their troubled mothers (mentally unbalanced, selfish alcoholic). Also, both shows killed people with a falling air conditioner. That should be noted somewhere, by someone, so it will be, here, by me.



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