Sunday, December 03, 2017

"The Marvelous Who?"

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  It's an Amazon TV series, set in late-1950s New York City -- or a kind of Technicolor version of it.  "Midge" Maisel has a perfect-looking life: two kids, lovely apartment, plenty of money, rising-young-executive husband who does standup comedy on the side -- until it all falls apart and she ends up behind the microphone, channeling a kind of Joan Rivers/Phyllis Diller vibe.  The whole thing is just a little bit bigger and better than life -- colors brighter, dialog snappier, issues more clearly drawn and all the characters just a bit more "there" than anyone ever is. 

     In look and feel, it's an edgier version of an old color Hollywood movie -- a good old Hollywood movie.  I keep expecting a street scene to turn into a musical number; not gonna happen, that's not where this bus is going.  Well worth watching, though language (and one short scene in the pilot) is occasionally not family-friendly.  The expectations that frame Midge's life -- family, home, marriage, success -- are very much the ones I grew up with decades later and half a continent away, cultural differences notwithstanding.  Some of the grumpier menfolk may find it a little bit too girl-power-y or overly glib; but it's worth looking at if you like pow-pow-pow sharp repartee, nicely-drawn characters and bit of escapism into a place that, for all the grit, is just a little more glittering than reality.


fillyjonk said...

Added to watchlist. I prefer television shows to be set in a different time or place than the one I inhabit, and this sounds like it hits that (even if, for me, the "She's doing what she has to because she didn't get what she expected" subject matter is not the best doldrums-viewing for me)

Joe Allen said...

I really loved it. Rachel Brosnahan is fantastic as Midge, and Alex Borstein nearly steals the show as a manager who's every bit as fast, sharp and funny as her comedienne client.

The one thing I found off-putting was the sprinkling of contemporary vernacular, things like "it is what it is", "I don't want the drama" etc. It couldn't have been lazy writing - everything else was so tight - it had to have been intentional, but it always jarred me when it happened.

A small quibble, and I'm glad to see they've already commissioned a second season.

Roberta X said...

Sometimes these seeming-anachronistic expressions aren't, having started as regional or ethnic expressions and then been slowly adopted by more and more people. So I'm not sure.

The dialog is certainly sharp and the set, costumes and acting is so good that I'm enjoying just riding along, listening and looking at the sights.