What a perfect debut season.
Although I enjoyed the pilot episode of this unique little series by Amazon, I had no idea that all eight episodes of the show’s first season would be so witty and addictive.
The story of a 1950s housewife turned comedian, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a ridiculously gripping dramedy that lets its narrative unfold with the utmost confidence. Although the season is painfully short, the show’s world is packed with multi-dimensional characters, clever dialogue, and eye-catching pops of color. Most importantly, the stand up comedy bits are so very memorable – they showcase Midge’s career highs as well as her lows (which of course are predictably cringeworthy).
As I mentioned in my pilot review, Rachel Brosnahan is spectacular as Midge, and Alex Borstein is hysterical as her manager Susie. However, Maisel also thrives in its depiction of Midge and Joel’s parents. As Midge’s parents, Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle are downright phenomenal. Both have their unique quirks and insecurities, and they play off each other (and Midge) beautifully. In fact, my favorite scenes of the season are Midge’s various face-offs with her parents over her controversial life decisions. Joel’s parents (played by Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron) recieve less screen-time throughout the season, but are also immaculately cast.
And really this is just an effortlessly upbeat show. It’s feel-good television at its finest, and I found myself with a serious void when it all came to an end. No spoilers, but the season finale ends with an incredible moment.
Midge: I’ll tell you this much. I was a great wife. I was fun. I planned theme nights. I dressed in costumes. I gave him kids a boy and a girl. And yes, our little girl is looking more and more like Winston Churchill every day, you know, with that big Yalta head. But that’s not a reason to leave, right? I loved him. And I showed him I loved him. All that shit they say about Jewish girls in the bedroom? Not true. There are French whores standing around the Marais District saying [French accent] “Did you hear what Midge did to Joel’s balls the other night?”
Midge: So, my husband left me three months ago for his teenage secretary. However, the other night he came home for some clean underwear and a fuck. Actually, just for the underwear. I threw in the fuck for free. Anyhow, Lolita found out and, boy, was she steamed. She couldn’t believe I’d have the nerve to sleep with my husband. She thought that was mean. And vindictive. And she has a point. After all, she has a teddy bear he won for her at Coney Island. All I’ve got is a wedding ring and two kids who called him “Daddy.” Who cares if I was there first, this girl put a lot of work into luring him away. I mean, she had to – have a vagina. Pretty low bar. But pretty high vagina. She’s tall. And dumb. I mean, she’s pretty, but I’m pretty sure NASA doesn’t have her on its short list for job openings. Anyhow, yesterday she drags her giant vagina into my work and starts yelling at me. And after a while, I start yelling back. And she’s saying, “You stole him,” and I’m saying, “I was there first.” And she says, “I was there second,” and I say, “That’s a very immature argument,” and she says, “Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” And I say, “No,” and she says, “You’re sure?” And I say, “Do you have vanilla creams?” And she says, “No,” and I said, “You bitch!” And everyone in the store is staring, and I’m starting to wonder, who’s right here? I mean, was it really fair to lure Joel back with the promise of coherent conversation and unlimited clean jockey shorts? I just assumed I had that right. I really thought you find a guy, you give it up, you get married. Oh, no, wait. You get married, then you give it up. Get married, then give it up. I got to write that down. Anyhow, my point is, with the ring came the sex. Exclusive sex. Right? Something to count on. Something you know is yours. Like a social security number or a family history of insanity. But apparently, it’s not. He left. She took him. Did I relinquish my rights when he walked out the door? Is that how it works? Now, did it always work that way and I just didn’t read the fine print? What are the fucking rules? I mean, not the fucking rules, the “fucking” rules.
Packed with positivity, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a vibrant and unforgettable creation from Amazon. Highly recommended.