Tuesday, February 27, 2018

TV Tuesday: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Suddenly, I am overflowing with new-to-me TV shows to tell you about! The Olympics gave us a chance to try some new shows on streaming and DVD, and wow, we found some great ones! First, my new favorite lunchtime girl-show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon original that I am loving.

Rachel Brosnahan stars as the title character, Miriam "Midge" Maisel, in 1950's NYC. In the first episode, we see her fairytale romance and perfect Upper West Side life shattered when her husband Joel, played by Michael Zegen, suddenly leaves her for his secretary. Joel has been trying - unsuccessfully - to do stand-up comedy at night. He works in business, but comedy is his dream, which is destroyed when Midge finds out he's been stealing his material. Midge has been the perfect 50's housewife, fully supporting him by coming to all his shows and taking copious notes on what works and what doesn't (in addition to caring for their two young children and the house). Stunned by Joel's departure, Midge stumbles drunk into the dive bar where he often does stand-up and ends up on stage in her nightgown. She is actually very funny and the crowd loves her - but she also gets hauled off by the police and arrested. It's a rough start, but Midge is hooked. She realizes that comedy is actually her dream...and that she might even be good at it. The manager of the bar, Susie Myerson (played by Alex Borstein), is won over by Midge's raw talent, and the two pair up, with rough-talking, masculine-dressing Susie acting as Midge's new manager.

That's the basic plotline of the show, as Midge tries to both put her life back together and launch a stand-up career, but this show is so much more than its original plot! The cast are all outstanding and hilarious, with Tony Shalhoub as Midge's straight-laced father, and Marin Hinkle as her controlling  mother, to name just a few. The scenery, costumes, and atmosphere are also amazing - a brightly-colored, vibrant recreation of 1950's NY. It makes for a visually stunning show that is a lot of fun to watch. Some scenes are almost musical-like, without the singing, with a classic 50's song playing in the background as Midge struts down the street or takes on her new job in a colorful department store (you can check out the music from the show here). Midge is likable, and I find myself rooting for her to bust those 1950's social norms and make it as a comedian, so the show has warmth, but it is also very, very funny. All in all, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an entertaining visual spectacle that will make you laugh out loud.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an Amazon original show, so it is available streaming exclusively on Amazon. And it has been approved for a second season, so there is more Midge to come!

Here is a trailer of the show:

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