Netflix’s Russian doll, a new twist on the Ground Hog day loop: does bring some interesting dynamics to the incurable repeating-day-interstellar-flux predicament. Giddy-up its a good show, but that’s not what I want to talk about at all…
I want to talk about the asshole character Mike — nickname: gingerbread; a womanizer, and a literature professor. He is easy to picture right — a very flat character that is easy not to like–and whose purpose is to show the values of the other characters. Just copy and paste this trope from any of the other–one hundred or so stories that have ‘one of these’– and it raises no eyebrows; it’s just a simple, useful plot moral compass at this point. Which is why it is so compelling that in Russian Doll, Mike is the most flushed out iteration of this character–I have ever come across.
The series has a decent script, but one that lifts a few famous pop-culture lines (to the point where I was like, hey can they get away with that? i.e. ‘A lot of ins a lot of outs; interested parties’. A line spoken — that was clearly lifted from the Big Lebowski’ ) there are others if you keep you ears open. So the dialogue wasn’t very innovative–is what I’m saying, and yet for one character it was. I was quite taken back by this afford mention character’s blunt introspective self-insights: ‘I’m the hole that sits as the absence of choice’. He says this when confronted: he is supposed to be a dick, and yet, Asshole or not, someone that can say that about themselves, is functioning on entirely different level of self-awareness. Not to spoil things but the confirmation scene with him and one of the main leads (in Mike’s office); is handled with such a smoothness that the audience kind of develops an sympathy for Mike, just based on his non-contrived responses. And this is a guy we are supposed to hate–not have conflicted feelings for.
Here’s a theory I have been mulling around–this character Mike created the loop that the leads are stuck in. When you watch the show: play attention to Mike: he is directly connected to both loops, arguably both first deaths (the result of, or catalyst for). He has this overly developed sense of self, he is lifted above regular moral constructs and lacks empathy for other humans: yet understands empathy as a necessary concept. He is the puppet master, 100 per cent for Allan, and maybe the main lead was looped in on Allan’s timeline, not the other way around. Mike is some entity, creating repeating loops for some reason, and giving himself a front row seat.
… Or he could be just a very well-written side character, representing the polar opposite of the second main.
I also obsessed about a certain sub-character from Stranger Things season one and their unique story arch.
check it out here