Monday, September 9, 2019

Emmy Episodes: Russian Doll

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fourth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Russian Doll: Season 1, Episode 3 “A Warm Body” (B-)

This is the third of this show’s six submitted episodes for Best Comedy Series consideration, and also got nominated for Best Writing in a Comedy Series along with the pilot. I’m not entirely surely why, since I’d argue that the first or second installments were actually better than this one. The Jewish content on this show is indeed weird, and I wasn’t overly fond of the portrayal of Shifra and the rabbi. Some quick research indicates that actor Jonathan Hadary, who portrayed the rabbi here, also played big time Jewish donor Sherman Tanz on “Veep,” hardly a commendable representation of Jews on television. I also know the synagogue, Town and Village, that was shown, which definitely is Conservative rather than Orthodox as indicated by the nature of the people inside it. Nadia quizzing Shifra on prayers before sort of asking for help was moderately intriguing, while John got his own spiritual awakening of sorts during his conversation with the rabbi. Meeting the shoeless and homeless Horse seemed to be helpful since he took her for who she is. I was excited to see that Horse is played by Brendan Sexton III, who was actually the very first actor I got to meet up close when I attended a two-week film school program in Brooklyn fifteen years ago. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nadia was going to meet someone else who is experiencing the same thing she is, and though I expected it to happen eventually, I am curious to see how it changes this show and Nadia’s outlook on her short repeating life.

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