Russian Doll Returns

When Russian Doll came out in 2019, I was mesmerized.  It was one of the most innovative, original, intelligent, provocative and hysterical things I’d ever seen.  That it co-starred my pal Elizabeth Ashley was the icing on the cake (and the reason I watched it in the first place).  I was troubled when a second season was announced – how could it match this piece of perfection?  Well, it doesn’t.  This second series is its own animal.  Yes, many of the characters are the same, but it’s really best seen as a separate entity.  Like the first series, it takes a few episodes to get cooking, but in a completely different way.  While I am not as enthusiastically praising it, Natasha Lyonne must be acknowledged as a brilliant – if not slightly psychotic – artist.  Well, aren’t we all?

BTW, if you watch this season of Russian Doll, you might recognize a familiar voice.  Much of the series takes place in the New York City subway system.  And the person making the announcements for upcoming stops is Rosie O’Donnell!  Rosie has long expressed her affection for Lyonne, so it’s not a surprise she took the role…although it surprised Natasha!  “We knew we wanted a real New York accent…And so I texted Rosie, and she just would start sending me these little voice memos.  It was very generous of her.”  Rosie will also be turning up in two other series: Showtime’s American Gigolo and Amazon Prime Video’s A League of Their Own.  All this work probably softens the blow of not getting Mama Brice in Funny GirlJane Lynch got that part.


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