Author Topic: Seth-like show on Netflix: Russian Doll  (Read 229 times)

Offline Deb

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I've stumbled over a show on Netflix called "Russian Doll." My thought was/is that's a reference to the Russian Matryoska Dolls — a wooden carved hollow doll within a doll within a doll…  Background music is Harry Nilsson's Gotta Get Up (Nilsson Schmillson album). I just looked him up and he died on his birthday — same birthday as mine (the day, not year).

It's maybe a modern version of Groundhog Day. The lead character is followed as she attends her birthday party, things progress from there, and then suddenly dies in an accident. Then, she's at the party again, relives some events (and realizes she's been through most of it before), and then dies again in a different manner. I've watched a couple of episodes, have started from the beginning tonight. It's extremely interesting. In the last episode I watched, she met someone who casually mentioned he keeps dying.

It feels like it has a bit of Seth in it: Reincarnation, but with the twist of partially remembering it's all happened before. As she said, she has amnesia. But not as much as most of us.

If you enjoy shows that open your mind and are outside the accepted way of thinking, you might want to check out Russian Doll.

I have to add there are also some potentially disturbing things in the show for sensitive types.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2019, 07:58:32 PM by Deb »

Offline Deb

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OK, I've watched the first three episodes again and it's all about probable lives.

The show also caused me to read up on Harry Nilsson. While he was a favorite musical artist of mine in the 70s, he is even more interesting than I realized. With a 3 octave vocal range! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Nilsson

Of particular interest, both Cass Elliott and Keith Moon died while staying at his London apartment while he was abroad.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2019, 08:01:25 PM by Deb »

Offline Deb

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I finished watching Russian Doll last night. I can't say how much I enjoyed the show! Not only is it extremely creative, clever and funny, but it gives a lot to think about. I found a review of the show, which explains the entire series. I added a few random quotes from the article. It's all about simultaneous time, time/space, parallel (or multi) universes but takes place in regular old New York City. In one episode Nadia was theorizing what was happening and she explains to her friend (who is experiencing the same thing) that for her it goes back to her troubled childhood, that she feels time is simultaneous, and so therefore the child she was still exists and so the past can be changed. Whoa, is that not Seth?

I also read the bio of the main character/co-producer and it seems she's very much like her character in the show, history is somewhat related. She's a person I'd love to meet.

"Nadia’s young self appears before her and whispers, “She’s still inside you.” It’s a line that encompasses Nadia’s belief that all of their loops somehow exist at the same time, and also Ruth’s question about whether, somewhere inside Nadia, there’s still a young girl who desperately wants to live. It also evokes the series’ title image of nesting dolls."

"The multiple Nadias in the parade imply that more than one alternate timeline exists. As she herself suspected, there are many nested iterations of Nadia, and at the end, she accepts not just the child version of herself but every other person she’s been in between."

"When the timelines merge, and our eye follows Nadia into the fray of the parade, you can see two more Nadias walking past her on each side of the frame, both dressed in the heather-gray coats of the Nadia who doesn’t remember. Earlier, Nadia told Alan that “life is like a box of timelines,” an idea she has in part because she’s being haunted by a ghostly, child version of herself. Nadia believes the ghost isn’t just a vision; it’s a version of herself that still exists somewhere, trapped in time."

Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb,

Wow. This Russian Doll show sounds really fascinating. Can you tell me how many episodes on Netflix were there?  Also, were they about 1 hour each?

I'm not sure whether we have access to Netflix or not, but if we do I'm definitely going to check this out.

Maybe the main character / co-producer is a Seth reader, or maybe just someone who's very imaginative and creative.

Thanks for sharing.

- jbseth


Offline Deb

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There were only 8 episodes, they are only 25 or so minutes long, and they go really quickly.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80211627

You can also find the official trailer on YouTube which will give you an idea of whether it looks interesting to you or not. Not all deaths are as graphic as her first one, they leave it up to the imagination. She has potty mouth, but growing up in NJ that's nothing new to me.:)

I guess there's going to be a season two. Not sure how that works, unless it's like American Horror Story where the actors are the same but each season the timeframe and circumstances are different, and they played completely different characters.


Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb, Hi All,

My wife and I have been thinking about getting Netflix and so after telling her about this show, we went ahead and did so.

Last night we watched the first 4 shows of Season 1 and its awesome.  We just got to the part where they start telling about Alan, the guy Nadia meets in the elevator.

Thanks for the post on this Deb.  :)

- jbseth

Offline Deb

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So glad you're enjoying the show, recommending anything is always iffy. Sometimes I'll take advantage of a free trial just to get an idea if it's worth it.

I LOVED that turning point when Nadia and Alan meet in the elevator! Now the plot thickens. I think you'll really enjoy the final episode, it really pulls the probable lives thing it all together and made me want to watch the whole thing again with that in mind.

Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb, Hi All,

Wow, this "Russian Doll" show was really awesome.

Last night my wife and I watched the final 4 episodes and we were so jazzed about it that we decided to go ahead and binge watched all 8 episodes from start to finish all over again. It was awesome.

I agree with you Deb, it was definitely one of the more interesting, creative and clever shows I've seen.

Now I'm really curious to find out what they're going to do in Season 2.

-jbseth


 

Offline Deb

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I'm so glad you liked it! Did you ever read the synopsis from the link above? https://www.vulture.com/2019/02/russian-doll-netflix-ending-explained.html What struck me is there were some things I'd missed, such as in the ending the two extra probable Nadias in grey jackets that passed by in the parade. I missed it twice, lol.

Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb,

Oh that's interesting and thanks for the synopsis of the show and final episode.

I read several of the reviews and your comments posted here before I started to watch the show and so I had a general idea from that, what was basically going to occur on the show.  However, I don't think I read this synopsis; and having just done so, now I understand a little more about of what was going on at the end. But now I have another question.


In the final episode, at the very end, I knew that there were 2 Nadia's and 2 Alan's, the Nadia who remembered everything was with the Alan who didn't and the Alan who remembered everything was with the Nadia who didn't. But when they turned and walked into the parade, I couldn't remember which Nadia and which Alan was which. I didn't catch that the Nadia who remembered everything, was wearing a white blouse.

I did however catch that she, the Nadia who came out of the parade, passed 2 other Nadia's going in the opposite direction. My wife caught that while she was in the parade she reached up and took a lamp or something from someone's hands.

We replayed that last scene about 3 to 4 times to make sure we saw, what we thought we saw.


When I saw the final scene, I thought the 2 Nadia's, the one who remembered everything and the one who didn't, both had grey jackets on.  It seemed to me that these 2 Nadia's passed another Nadia, a new Nadia??? going in the opposite direction at the very end. This sort of made sense.

But it looks to me like from the photos in the very end of your attached synopsis link that the Nadia who remembered everything was actually wearing a black jacket at the end. If that's the case, then who were the 2 Nadia's wearing grey jackets that passed her going in the opposite direction, in the final scene?

I assumed that one of these was the Nadia that was walking with the Alan who remembered everything, but who was the other Nadia?

Any ideas???


-jbseth


Offline Deb

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Or more importantly, Who's on first? Ha ha.

I saw Nadia wearing a grey jacket in maybe every episode, but I also remember someone commenting how good she looked in black and she said she always wears the same outfit (not surprising, she's always reliving the same day with minor variations). The two in the parade were other un-aware probable selves of Nadia that were living their own lives, offshoots from her history. The Nadia with the white shirt was the one who remembered her deaths, "eye-catching and distinct from her usual black wardrobe" so the white may have been a symbol of her enlightenment and movement away from being so "dark" in her approach to life. The Alan with the scarf was the one who remembered everything. The article also said the homeless guy was wearing a horse mask but I could swear it was a giraffe or something like that (update: it was a deer) so who knows how accurate the article was. I love the layers of depth in the show and I envy people who pick up on all the nuances first time around.

I remember watching the Matrix for the first time and being wowed more by the concept and special effects. It wasn't until years later that the depth of the movie became more and more apparent to me. Especially after coming across Seth.

My hubby only saw the first 4 episodes of Russian Doll before he went out of town in mid-March, so I think when he gets back the end of this month we'll watch the whole thing from the beginning. He's not a Seth fan but he enjoyed the cleverness and concept of this show. This time I'll pay closer attention, now that I know "the rest of the story."

What was your take on the rotting fruit, dying flowers and disappearing people and furniture? It kind of had the feel that the camouflage was starting to break down. The disappearing stuff also reminded me of Stephen King's The Langoliers.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 04:13:15 PM by Deb »

Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb,

After reading the synopsis you posted yesterday, my wife and I went back last night and watched the final episode one more time, just to see what really happened.

At the beginning of this episode, both Nadia and Alan are back in their perspective restrooms. For Nadia, she appears to be wearing a grey overcoat over a black coat and maybe something white, like a tie, it’s hard to tell. After leaving the restroom all Nadia’s friends are back at the party and she joyfully greets and hugs many of them. Then when Max, her friend says, “Happy Birthday, baby,” Nadia tells her that she has to leave and go find Alan. Max looks annoyed at her and Nadia says something like, I’m sure our friendship can survive this. Shortly after this, Max throws her drink on Nadia, they stare at each other for several moments and then both break out laughing. Max tells her she’ll get her a clean shirt.

At this point, it’s clear that the Nadia who remembers everything is wearing a grey overcoat over a black jacket and a white blouse.  Throughout this episode, she continues to where this same outfit. The other Nadia who doesn’t remember, is wearing a black blouse under a grey overcoat.


The Alan who doesn’t remember everything, gives his wedding ring to the homeless guy who cuts Nadia’s hair in an earlier episode, and then also gives him and his friends all his money and wallet. The Nadia who remember, shows up and she and Alan go to his place. Then this Nadia tells Alan a “story” and Alan falls asleep. At this point, this Nadia who remembers everything is now wearing the black jacket and the white blouse.  I believe that she must have taken the grey overcoat off, once she got inside his place.

For the rest of the show, this Nadia who remembers is wearing the black jacket and white blouse. The other Nadia who doesn’t remember, is wearing the grey overcoat and black blouse. This is what these 2 Nadia’s are wearing as they both enter the parade.


Your absolutely right, the homeless guy, is not wearing a horse head in the parade. It’s something like a horse head but it clearly has something on top of its head like small horns or antlers. Although the person(s) who wrote the synopsis clearly got this wrong, I think that they got a lot of the story right. Nadia clearly seemed to have displaced all of her feelings onto “Oatmeal” her cat for example. 

Regarding the rotting fruit, the dying flowers, the missing fish and the disappearing people, I think that this indicated that their timelines or realities were starting to entropy or breakdown. This seemed to be occurring more and more, each time they died and returned. Ultimately, I’m not sure where the writers would have taken us if this would have continued because we never got to find out. Perhaps everyone and everything would have died in their timelines, including themselves. This seemed to be the situation however, that motivated them (Nadia and Alan) to make the changes that they did.


There did seem to be a lot of symbolism here. I suspect that there was much more than I caught. The dark outfits that Nadia wore and the white blouse at the end. In the last episode, as Nadia was leaving her birthday party, Max forcefully tells Nadia to take her hand. In response, Nadia takes Max’s hand and they walk down the stairs that Nadia was afraid of, together. I’m thinking that this was symbolism used to show Nadia’s growth in both her willingness to take on the things that she feared and to accept help?

Then at the very end of the last episode, while in the parade, Nadia grabs what appears to be a white lamp as she walks out of the parade, a symbol perhaps that Nadia has finally seen the light?


I loved this show, it was great. Have you heard anything about Season 2 and when it might start?


- jbseth

 



Offline Deb

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Ah yes, the drink in the face. They put that in there so there would be an excuse for Nadia to be wearing a different blouse and be distinguishable from her other self. And there was the scarf given to Alan, which I thought was weird at the time but it was the excuse to make Alan-in-the-know easily recognized. Both of those situations felt "off" to me, like they were afterthoughts, but I guess the actress/writer (Natasha Lyonne) didn't want to spend a lot of time setting that up, it was less important than the story line.

The article saying Nadia put all of her feelings onto the cat was new to me, I'll need to look at that relationship in a different light too. She did seem to have more actual emotional feelings for the cat than any of the people in her life.

I don't know anything about season 2 yet, other than I read somewhere there is going to be a S2. Since S1 just came out in February, I'm hoping we don't have to wait an entire year. I just saw an article dated today that made S1 sound like it just came out.

PS That new member Fullbosyx was a spammer, so I deleted the account and posts. For about a year now they've been coming from Thailand, make an account, and post a couple of somewhat neutral and inane comments. I don't understand the purpose.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 08:31:11 AM by Deb »

Offline Deb

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« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 09:13:35 AM by Deb »

Offline jbseth

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Hi Deb,

Thanks for the links, it does appear that maybe there might be a season 2 and possibly a season 3, provided that the season 1 show does well enough for Netflix to decide to pick it up. If they do, it sounds like we may not see Season 2 until Feb 2020. I wonder if I'll remember to look for it by then?

Regarding the scene in Episode 8 where Max intentionally splashes her drink on Nadia. I thought that it was interesting how both Nadia and Max seemed to change in this episode. While Nadia seemed more relaxed, Max seemed to be much more assertive. In the scene that follows this, in Episode 8, Max commands Nadia to take her hand, which, after a moment Nadia does, and then they both walk down the stairs hand and hand together. I'm not so sure that the Nadia in Episode 1 would have responded the same way to Max either splashing her drink on her or commanding her to take her hand. I'm also not so sure that this scene was just an afterthough to get Nadia to wear the white blouse. Maybe we were suppose to pick up on Max's new assertiveness? I wonder if this links into Season 2 somehow.

Oh, the thought occurred to me that maybe the mask that the homeless man was wearing in the parade was suppose to be that of a bull. The one link you attached to a previous post on this topic talked about the connection between this show and the story of Ariadne.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne

In Greek mythology, Ariadne helped Theseus kill the Minotaur. The Minotaur is sometimes portrayed as a beast that is half human and half bull, with a bulls head. 

It sure didn't look much like a bulls head to me though. I thought it looked more like a deer's head with small horns or antlers.

-jbseth



 

Offline Deb

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Who is Horse?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2019, 03:23:57 PM »
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  • Yes you'll remember next Feb. Or I'll be talking about it again. I can't imagine Netflix NOT doing at least S2, from the reaction this show has gotten as far as binge-watching and re-watching, media coverage.

    All good points about the subtleties of the show, little hints of changes* in personality, events, scenery. After a while, Alan didn't seem so neurotic. I also thought it was interesting to see how Beatrice also changed in the end.

    And the mask is apparently a deer, at least a few articles said it was. And who is this guy Horse anyway and why is he in the show? And what's the parade about? I found this (really good) article and it brings up some new interesting questions and thoughts.

    https://www.polygon.com/2019/2/12/18221030/russian-doll-netflix-horse-spoilers


    PS And who was the woman with the little dog that Alan came across in Ep. 7 or 8 -- and what role does she play? And the old guy who wouldn't let Nadia into Alan's building... so many questions.

    Also, as far as Ariadne goes (I loved the tie in to that), one article said Ariadne is an anagram of Re-Nadia. I never would have picked up on something like that, not that it was necessarily intentional. But you never know...

    *I wonder if the slight changes from one cycle to the next is a hint of more probable selves?
    « Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 08:07:56 PM by Deb »

    Offline jbseth

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    Hi Deb,

    Nice catch on Beatrice, she really did seem to lighten up by the last episodes.

    I don’t have any answers to your questions; they are great questions though.


    I thought the parade reminded me of a Mardi Gras parade. Because of this, I thought I’d check to see if there are any Mardi Gras parades in New York City.

    According to the link below, they don’t. However, in the 4th comment in this link, it does say that, in Brooklyn, on Labor Day, they do have a “West Indian” Parade that features very elaborate costumes reminiscent of the carnival in Rio, Brazil. Maybe this was what was going on in the show.

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k8069730-Mardi_Gras_in_New_York_City-New_York_City_New_York.html


    jbseth



    Offline Deb

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    Funny, it also reminded me of Mardi Gras but I realized it wasn't. I'm trying to figure out the season the show takes place in. Labor Day in NYC can be really hot and muggy, and Nadia is always wearing a jacket. I'll have to pay more attention to what everyone is wearing next time around. We may get an explanation of the parade in S2. Unless it was symbolic of "all that be" celebrating for Alan and Nadia finally getting things straightened out. Woo hoo!

    I just realized the woman with the dog was proof of Alan's getting over Beatrice and his wanting to die: she was cute, he seemed very interested in her. Very life affirming. He asked if she'd always been around or something like that -- she said yes. So every other time he'd passed her on sidewalk he hadn't noticed her, he was too focused on his loss of Beatrice. Now he was opening himself up to new possibilities.

    Offline jbseth

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    Hi Deb,

    At first, I wasn’t sure who you were talking about when you mentioned the woman with the dog. With your most recent post, however, I recalled who you’re talking about. As I recall (and I could be wrong here) this woman had a lot of blond frizzy hair, kind of like Nadia’s Mom; that’s kind of interesting, I wonder if there’s supposed to be some sort of implied connection between them.

    I actually thought that the reason that this young woman was in this scene was to show us, the viewing audience, that Alan had, in fact, moved on from Beatrice.

    Regarding the time of year, Nadia was wearing an overcoat but this could just have been a fashion statement.  However Nadia and Horse died of exposure while sleeping under the blanket from the shelter. Then I watched the trailer for the show that’s online. This trailer lasts for 2:20 and at 1:50 into it there’s a scene where people are walking by a park or something and the trees have no leaves on them and everybody seems to be wearing a coat. My vote goes for it being winter.

    What do you make of the blue lighted object located on the inside of the bathroom door? The bathroom that Nadia keeps finding herself in, immediately after she dies? At one point, my wife and I noticed that this object seemed to have some depth to it. Maybe it’s only there because Max is artistically inclined.   

    There definitely is a lot going on in this series.

    - jbseth


     

    Offline Deb

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    Ah yes, good point about Horse and Nadia freezing to death. So winter it is.

    I've wondered about that blue thing on the bathroom door since the first time I saw it. At first it looked like a artistic lit version of the inside of an oyster shell. A little, but not completely unusual, to put art on the back of a bathroom door. I can't remember if it was still there in the episodes where people and furniture started to disappear. I think when Nadia showed Alan the mirror he asked what the thing on the door was, and she said she thought it was some sort of portal to another universe. I thought she was kidding, but maybe it was a clue as to what was going on.

    That scene when everything in the house was gone except for Max dancing alone really creeped me out. I'm going to have to watch that a couple more times, I probably missed more clues.

    Quote from: jbseth
    There definitely is a lot going on in this series.

    You got that right. Nadia is just one matryoshka within a matryoshka world. Or multi-universe. :)

    By the way, I do have a set of Russian dolls, but they aren't cute little babushka-laden ladies. The dolls only started being made in 1890, which surprised me. I would have thought it was an older craft than that.

    Update: I just did a little research and the blue thing is a back-lit geode (probably lit by the light outside the bathroom, but next time I'll check whether we ever get a hallway view of the door). Various articles guess at the significance of it, but I'd say it's up for grabs at this point. There are also articles out there about how to decorate a bathroom to get the Russian Doll look. Wow.

    « Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 10:13:03 AM by Deb »

    Offline jbseth

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    Hi Deb,

    At first, I thought the blue object on the inside of the bathroom door had something to do with outer space, like a nebula, or a universe or something. But I don’t think that this is what that was. At some point in one of the later episodes, it may have been the episode where both Alan and Nadia were in this bathroom, there is a quick scene where they opened the door and it appears that this object has some depth to it. Like it was a large hollowed out object placed inside a large 4 inch thick frame. This very well may have been a large framed hollowed out geode with a light behind it.

    The idea has occurred to me that maybe this object was supposed to be taken as kind of weird and “trippy” because the show that followed the initial door opening scene in Episode 1, was also kind of weird and “trippy”. Not in a bad way, just in a way that was very much different from a normal tv sitcom.
     

    There’s a tv show on NBC called, “This Is Us”. It’s about a family, Jack and Rebecca and their 3 kids, Kevin, Kate and Randle.

    https://www.nbc.com/this-is-us

    In this show, some episodes are about Jack and Rebecca when they were young. Some are about Jack and Rebecca as adults raising their 3 children. Some are about the 3 kids Kevin, Kate and Randle as young adults and some are about the Kevin, Kate and Randle as older adults raising their own kids. It’s a very interesting show about a family and how the various family dynamics all affect each other over time.

    What’s really interesting and unique about this specific show is that after many of the episodes, they have what is called an “aftershow” which you can find online. These aftershows are kind of like the “outtakes” shown at the end of some movies, where they show us the funny scenes that weren’t included in the movie. Only these “aftershows” are much different than these outtakes. In these “aftershows”, which are normally about 5 minutes long, the actual writers and the actors of the show, sit down and discuss, in front of the camera, what the various characters are dealing with and facing in each of the various episodes.

    The reason that I’m mentioning this, is because I looked to see if, by chance, there might be a series of official “Russian Doll” aftershow’s like there are for “This Is Us”.  Sadly, while I did find some Russian Doll aftershows on the internet, none of these were “official”, aftershows like what exists for "This Is Us".  I think that an “official” series of Russian Doll “aftershows” would have been interesting, in themselves.


    I really like the symbolism behind Russian dolls, a doll, within a bigger doll, within a bigger doll. This reminds me of the relationship that exists between Jane, Ruburt, Seth and Seth II.  
     

    By the way, I really liked the set of Russian dolls in your photo. Is this a set of Russian Dolls who were all previous Russian rulers? I noticed that the biggest one looks like Yeltsen and then the next one looks like Gorbachav. After this, there’s one that looks like Brezhnev, then Khrushchev, then Stalin, then Lenin and then maybe the last one is Kerensky or perhaps someone else. Am I correct about this, I'm just curious?

    - jbseth

    Offline Deb

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    Quote from: jbseth
    The idea has occurred to me that maybe this object was supposed to be taken as kind of weird and “trippy” because the show that followed the initial door opening scene in Episode 1, was also kind of weird and “trippy”. Not in a bad way, just in a way that was very much different from a normal tv sitcom.

    That makes sense to me, sort of a "things are going to get weird" warning. The show you mention, This Is Us, sounds interesting. I don't have cable TV, just internet and streaming, but I should be able to find it somewhere. The aftershow stuff reminded me of The Talking Dead -- a discussion show that came on right after each episode of The Walking Dead. Actors would be guests, or the writers at times, and it turned up a lot of deeper things in the show that could have been otherwise missed. The actors would actually talk about their characters like they were real people... their thoughts, intentions, feelings.

    And yes, the nesting doll is a great model for souls/oversouls/over-oversouls/ etc. It would be awesome to create a set of nesting dolls of one person, making the outer one the person in the present and the inner ones them from different stages of their life, right back to birth. I wonder if anyone has done that? Seems like a lucrative business really, to be a 4D portrait artist. It would be a treasured art piece. :)

    My matryoshka are of former Soviet Union leaders, yes, but not completely accurate as there are a couple of missing ones and the order is a little off.

    Biggest to smallest (from what I can tell from Internet photos, there are no notations on the dolls): Yeltsin, Gorbachev [Chernenko and Andropov are missing], Brezhnev, Khrushchev, Stalin, Lenin. The smallest is, I'm guessing, is Czar Nicholas II (Romanoff), the last czar. Not a very good likeness of him, he was a very handsome man and his entire family was Disney fairy-tale perfect. The Bolsheviks murdered him during the revolution. I don't know what he would be doing in this set.


     

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