Russian Doll – Season 1

Tommy James and the Shondells’ 1968 classic “Crimson and Clover” is the song of the day here, and you can already guess which lyrics are being highlighted: as the character (Natasha Lyonne, of Orange is the New Black fame) falls down the stairs to an untimely demise or recklessly staggers into oncoming traffic, the words “over and over” softly drift over her lifeless body as the day is made to repeat once again.

It’s much akin to the Bill Murray-starring Groundhog Day, but decidedly more macabre. Note the way the entire trailer appears to begin again at 0:19 - the song restarts; the Netflix title card reappears in the same way. At 0:43 we’re into the next part of the trailer, featuring some 70s punk-style instrumental music that’s not as readily identifiable, and is low in the mix, well under the dialogue. This section hews closely to the editing for comedic trailers, with deadpan dialogue interspersed with extreme slapstick for contrast in an extended montage. As comedy trailers tend to do, the music again cuts out at 0:58 for the dialogue zinger, coming back at 1:02, and cutting out again at 1:08, returning at 1:12. The last (and longest) pause occurs from 1:22-1:30, and the main character’s mental breakdown segues nicely into the final third of the trailer.

This last section returns full-on to “Crimson and Clover,” placing it right at the top of the mix. Here lies a bit of editing genius — around 1:45 the section where Tommy James sings “over and over” is subtly and then overtly sped up, repeated, well, over and over. With this is a bombastic bit of action that ends with a satisfying, if grotesque, thud.

The main riff for “Crimson and Clover” is played once more with the date card (February 1), further cementing the association of the song with the series.

Overall, the editing fake-out for the beginning of the trailer has a novelty that is complemented by the feeling of substance and something approaching a more serious, reflective bent in the latter third. In-between, and absent the song “Crimson and Clover,” the comedic aspects that this series promises to deliver shine through. It’s an appropriately dark and dramatic twist on the conventions of the comedy trailer, with a choice of song that is lyrically straight forward, allowing for the clever bits of synch this trailer accomplishes.

Russian Doll premieres on Netflix February 1st.

– Curtis Perry