How Russian Doll Started With a Weird "Insult" Phone Call From Amy Poehler

Natasha Lyonne has been working on this idea for seven years with help from Poehler

By Lauren Piester Feb 05, 2019 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Natasha Lyonne Explains "Russian Doll" Creation

If you're looking for a perfect bit of mind-f--kery, look no further than Netflix's Russian Doll

For those of you who haven't watched, this post will contain no spoilers, but we still recommend that you watch ASAP because there'a a LOT to discuss, and it's the kind of show that benefits from you knowing as little as possible about it. It's a true masterpiece of TV, and it's eight episodes that are each 25 minutes long, meaning it's the easiest, most satisfying binge in the world. 

The show is, at its most basic, about a woman named Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) who keeps dying and then reliving the night of her birthday party. It's like Groundhog Day, but also not at all. 

Lyonne created the show, alongside Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, and it's unlike anything we've ever seen Poehler (or Lyonne) do before, especially as it ventures into horror territory (you know, she dies a lot). 

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Lyonne tells E! News that it all started with a phone call from Poehler that didn't start as the kind of call you hope you'd get from Amy Poehler. 

"She called me up about seven years ago and she said, 'Natasha, as long as I've known you, you've always been the oldest girl in the world,' and I said, 'what kind of an insult phone call is this, Amy? How did you get my number and what do you want from me?'" Lyonne recalls. "She said, 'what I'd like, young miss, is to create a series with you sort of based on something like that concept,' and then I was delighted and more than game." 

Watch: Natasha Lyonne Is "Positive & Inspired" After "Russian Doll"

What resulted, obviously, was Russian Doll, which does in a way make Lyonne's character kind of the oldest girl in the world, but it's about a whole bunch of stuff you don't want to hear about until you've watched it. You can, however, watch Natasha Lyonne in the two videos above discussing imposter syndrome (which can be helped by a call from Amy Poehler) and a midlife crisis (which is something you might find yourself in if you can't stop dying and coming back to life), and the concept of "the one," which Lyonne's character's not into, because "the one, in practical application, just means the one I'm gonna die with, so I'm gonna wait until my late '60s and then seal the deal." 

Truly, there are some life-changing concepts both in this interview and in this show, so you should really just watch 'em all. 

Russian Doll is currently streaming on Netflix.