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Old 12-04-2017, 02:22 PM
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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Spoilers)

Season 1 of this Amazon Original series was released on 11/28, and I inhaled it over the weekend. I LOVED it. I actually can't think of anything about it that I didn't like.

A high-level setup would be to say that in 1958, an Upper West Side housewife's husband suddenly leaves her and their two young children, and she discovers that she has a talent for stand-up comedy.

I found it of course very funny -- both overtly and subtly -- but also touching at times. And none of the characters annoyed me, which is pretty rare (I dislike things about a couple of them, but that's not the same as if they were flat-out annoying or poorly developed). I'm definitely hoping there will be a second season.

Anyone else watching/watched this?

(There can be open spoilers in this thread: as far as I'm concerned, once an entire season has aired it's fair game.)
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:29 PM
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I have watched four episodes and love it. It's got the fast-paced, witty dialog that one would expect from the creators of the Gilmore Girls, and a bunch of great characters. I will stick with it, trying not to binge.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:10 PM
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You must binge so we can discuss!!
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:43 PM
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I love this show. The cast is great but Alex Borstein really shines. She makes the show practically by herself.

Other notables: Tony Shaloub especially when playing against Kevin Pollack.

Rachel Brosnahan is great in the title role. Very funny.

I’m shocked by how many of the references and how much of the music I know. I was born in 1966 but I learned/gleaned a lot of this from my Dad especially and watching TCM I guess.



My wife and I are loving this.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:04 PM
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OMG, the music is amazing. I'm a jazz singer, so I've been totally digging the Great American Songbook soundtrack...but then they also throw in some "contemporary" music from time to time. I almost fell off my couch when I heard "The Gentleman Is A Dope" in an episode: I perform that song, and no one ever knows it!
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:24 PM
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Yes, we are four episodes in and enjoy it a lot. She is a bit too attractive to me - as a straight guy, I have no issue with this - but I am trying to think of her as Joan Rivers or Totie Fields or even Carol Burnett.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:41 PM
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Yes, we are four episodes in and enjoy it a lot. She is a bit too attractive to me - as a straight guy, I have no issue with this - but I am trying to think of her as Joan Rivers or Totie Fields or even Carol Burnett.
Think of her as Joan Rivers for performance but Elaine May for looks then. If you're not sure who Elaine May is, please google Young Elaine May and then read up on her. She was part of the brilliant comedy team from that time period Nichols & May. Not sure if I can find any YouTube clips of their better work, but I'll try. Here is a decent one. Nichols May 65 Funeral classic skit

Last edited by What Exit?; 12-04-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:50 PM
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I think her attractiveness is integral to both the character and the character's comedy, so it didn't bother me. I never found it distracting...though I'm a straight chick and even I had a few "yowsa" moments.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:08 PM
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. . .
Not sure if I can find any YouTube clips of their better work, but I'll try. Here is a decent one. Nichols May 65 Funeral classic skit
This one feels oddly contemporary.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:10 PM
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Think of her as Joan Rivers for performance but Elaine May for looks then. If you're not sure who Elaine May is, please google Young Elaine May and then read up on her. She was part of the brilliant comedy team from that time period Nichols & May. Not sure if I can find any YouTube clips of their better work, but I'll try. Here is a decent one. Nichols May 65 Funeral classic skit
I may not be as strong in comedy as I am with music, but I know Elaine May, her importance to improv and her career as a director, including Ishtar, etc.

But theatrical improv craft is not what Mrs. Maisel is doing. She's trying to share space with Lenny Bruce. It's different

This is a minor nit - I see no need to die on this hill . I'm enjoying it. She's just distractingly pretty and seems to charm her way through a few obstacles I think a Joan Rivers would've hunkered down and bulled through. The character fits wonderfully in an Amy S-P show, like Lauren Graham, so I really have no complaints.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:16 PM
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I may not be as strong in comedy as I am with music, but I know Elaine May, her importance to improv and her career as a director, including Ishtar, etc.

But theatrical improv craft is not what Mrs. Maisel is doing. She's trying to share space with Lenny Bruce. It's different

This is a minor nit - I see no need to die on this hill . I'm enjoying it. She's just distractingly pretty and seems to charm her way through a few obstacles I think a Joan Rivers would've hunkered down and bulled through. The character fits wonderfully in an Amy S-P show, like Lauren Graham, so I really have no complaints.
Fair enough, when I saw the pilot last year I decided the character was 50% Joan, 20% Lenny and 30% Elaine May.

They have the wonderful Alex Borstein to bull her way through things. Who in this makes Joan look like a Miss America contestant. Actually, young Joan was pretty, not Hollywood pretty, but pretty.


ETA: Netflix already approved season 2.

Last edited by What Exit?; 12-04-2017 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:12 PM
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ETA: Netflix already approved season 2.
Woo hoo!
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Old 12-06-2017, 10:32 AM
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Finished it last night. I loved this series and wish there was more.

I laughed when Elaine May got brought up in a later episode.

Jane Lynch was excellent in her appearance.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:23 PM
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I laughed when Elaine May got brought up in a later episode.
Yes, I was biting my tongue when you mentioned her upthread.

I agree about Jane Lynch. It actually took me a few seconds to recognize her when her "character" first appeared. And I loved the home visit!
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:10 PM
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We're finished 5 episodes now and I loved Wallace Shawn's character...Doink! The music is fantastic and Alex Borstien is a hoot!
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:19 PM
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ETA: Netflix already approved season 2.

I just started watching it and I agree with what they did. Netflix thought the show was so good that they approved a 2nd season even though it's on Amazon.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:03 AM
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I just finished the show (and as a bonus got a TV capable of doing HDR, so the colors really popped) and it was, in a word, marvelous! Gut bustingly hilarious and some fantastic acting work (Tony Shaloub was incredibly funny). Brosnahan is a revelation and I full expect her to get some award nomination love.
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for this - my daughter and I binged in last night - and it was great.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:34 AM
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So glad you liked it!

I tend to like most things I watch -- I'm easily entertained/amused -- but it's been a while since I've liked a show this much.

And, to make things even better, Amazon Prime Video is now available on my Apple TV!
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:02 PM
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Shaloub is just stunningly subtle. As he comes in the door, yelling despite the note, correcting the housekeeper and then gently relents as he sees his beloved in crushing pain, I was floored. I had to go back the next day and re-watch it to see him acting. The movements of his face and shoulders are just barely there, yet they tell the whole story of annoyance, reluctance, love, empathy, and then finally the determination to do something about the situation.
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:40 AM
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Yeah Tony Shaloub is my favorite part of the show!

Thanks for the recomendation. I am enjoying it! I like having good shows to recommend to my parents and this is a good one for that, too.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:33 AM
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I don't think I can add anything to what's already been said; but my wife and I loved this show! Now the waiting game for season 2! I don't want to wait 11 months.
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I think a Joan Rivers would've hunkered down and bulled through.
The Joan Rivers we know after she was successful would have hunkered down; but imagine Joan Rivers before she ever did her first paying gig. I like the last episode where
SPOILER:
they showed 'Mrs Maisel' handling the hecklers; as opposed to earlier in the series where she basically allows herself to get heckled off the stage.


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Think of her as Joan Rivers for performance but Elaine May for looks then. If you're not sure who Elaine May is, please google Young Elaine May and then read up on her. She was part of the brilliant comedy team from that time period Nichols & May. Not sure if I can find any YouTube clips of their better work, but I'll try. Here is a decent one. Nichols May 65 Funeral classic skit
As for Joan Rivers' looks; I think she was every bit as pretty, if not prettier, than Elaine May.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:45 AM
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As for Joan Rivers' looks; I think she was every bit as pretty, if not prettier, than Elaine May.
I stand by what I said in post 11. "Actually, young Joan was pretty, not Hollywood pretty, but pretty."

I think Elaine May was really pretty, Hollywood pretty. By Hollywood standards, Joan was best friend material.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:34 PM
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I thought it was very funny. The only minor criticisms I had were when they used terms that sounded like anachronisms (to me) like "nerd alert" or "avoiding drama" (there was another example that made me cringe, but I can't remember off the top of my head). And I liked the period music so much that the ending credit music seemed out of place. And I thought Jane Lynch's character was a little too cartoony compared to the rest of the show. But those are very small nitpicks.

Oddly enough, I thought the stand-up comedy segments were the least funny parts of the show (compared to the scenes with the parents which were uniformly hilarious), but they were still funny.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:37 PM
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You must binge so we can discuss!!
I've been wanting to see it so I'll be on it this weekend.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:43 AM
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I found the whole Father-in-the-living-room thing confusing. It wasn't clear - is he sleeping in there? At first I thought she'd just had a control fit and moved the dinging room. I just don't get it.
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Old 12-16-2017, 03:57 AM
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I think Elaine May was really pretty, Hollywood pretty. By Hollywood standards, Joan was best friend material.
Elaine May, had she chosen to, probably would've been very successful as a leading lady in romantic comedies during the late 50s and 60s.
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:16 AM
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I found the whole Father-in-the-living-room thing confusing. It wasn't clear - is he sleeping in there? At first I thought she'd just had a control fit and moved the dinging room. I just don't get it.
He had a huge study, that is what he lost for her dining room. The study was apparently his place of refuge.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:08 AM
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And I thought Jane Lynch's character was a little too cartoony compared to the rest of the show.
I suspect Jane Lynch is Minnie Pearl - who is a very cartoony character and whose private life was far away from her stage persona.
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:24 PM
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I suspect Jane Lynch is Minnie Pearl - who is a very cartoony character and whose private life was far away from her stage persona.
Just to clarify, I thought the private life version was a cartoon (e.g. giving away a fur coat because she had worn it twice already, asking if the light in the Blue Room was "acrid", etc.).

I thought her "fat woman" persona was supposed to be a riff on Sophie Tucker, for what it's worth.
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Old 12-17-2017, 08:53 PM
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I have seen three episodes, and skipping to the bottom to comment. Wowza! The pilot, I think, is one of the best I've ever seen. The character of Midge was fully developed almost immediately. I love it and I'm forcing myself not to binge. I want to savor! ❤️
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Old 12-18-2017, 11:51 AM
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A great series! I want her wardrobe!! Beautiful styles and the colors are amazing.
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Old 12-22-2017, 03:24 PM
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I've now seen the whole thing and I'm recommending it right and left. I love it passionately. And I was very surprised when I looked up Rachel Brosnahan and found that she'd been on House of Cards as Rachel, Doug Stamper's whipping girl. I didn't recognize her at all. Of course, on House of Cards I don't think she ever smiled, so how would I?

Sadly, I'm not very familiar with Lenny Bruce; about all I know is that he was in trouble a lot because of obscenity laws. I probably would have gotten more out of his role if I'd known more about him.

My favorite sequence in the stand-up part was when she was making observations, putting them into her act, and then refining them. And family I am also amazed by Tony Shaloub. I loved it how he "brushed off" Bell Labs and then came home crowing.

It was a treat to see Jane Lynch. I want her somewhere in every program I watch.
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Old 12-22-2017, 08:58 PM
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Thanks to this thread I had a great time watching this show. I loved the characters. I wish the standup had been funnier.

Was there a real comedienne that Jane Lynch's character was modeled on?
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Old 12-23-2017, 06:36 AM
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Per hogarth above, I assume Lynch's character is based on Sophie Tucker: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Tucker

Okay, so I watched all of it. Fun! I had not expected the Stage Name question would resolve that way, both in terms of the show's title, and all the plot-twisty convergence that happens.

I think I figured out my issue which I started to articulate above, when I said she was distractingly attractive (and boy, is she; she even makes her slightly bow-legged walk look hot).

Here's the issue (although again, I really like the show): I find it hard to reconcile her all-around ideal-ness with her bomb throwing on stage. In her life, she's this Ideal, and seems to thrive as that Ideal, but there is clearly meant to be this huge unresolved anger inside that would lead to her needing to self-destruct in front of Sophie's manager or to take shots at her husband - she doesn't know he's there, but she has committed to getting back together and chooses her marries name as her stage name, so why trash her own situation?

I would expect her to have a substance abuse problem or to say improper things to people in her life - to see some of her unresolved issues leak out outside her stage work.
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Old 12-23-2017, 09:58 AM
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I stayed up until 3AM binge watching this series. I loved it.
This thread is responsible for me accepting the "would you like free shipping" offer from Amazon Prime (I will cancel it before the month is up.)
Thank you Misnomer!
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Old 12-23-2017, 10:12 AM
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Per hogarth above, I assume Lynch's character is based on Sophie Tucker: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Tucker

Okay, so I watched all of it. Fun! I had not expected the Stage Name question would resolve that way, both in terms of the show's title, and all the plot-twisty convergence that happens.

I think I figured out my issue which I started to articulate above, when I said she was distractingly attractive (and boy, is she; she even makes her slightly bow-legged walk look hot).

Here's the issue (although again, I really like the show): I find it hard to reconcile her all-around ideal-ness with her bomb throwing on stage. In her life, she's this Ideal, and seems to thrive as that Ideal, but there is clearly meant to be this huge unresolved anger inside that would lead to her needing to self-destruct in front of Sophie's manager or to take shots at her husband - she doesn't know he's there, but she has committed to getting back together and chooses her marries name as her stage name, so why trash her own situation?

I would expect her to have a substance abuse problem or to say improper things to people in her life - to see some of her unresolved issues leak out outside her stage work.
Susie mentions on numerous occasions how spontaneous Midge is; that is part of her talent on stage. She takes whatever is on her mind and starts joking about it. Because she is so ideal and perfect in her real life, this is her outlet. I don't think she is deliberately sabotaging her life. She just can't help herself. She's naturally funny (and devastatingly so [in the world of the show] when she hones her act) and she may not see how cruel what she says could be. Or probably she does, seeing as she keeps the whole thing from her family.

It might all come out right in the end, given that Joel in the closing moments fights the jerk who heckled Midge, and sobs about her real talent. He may come around.


SIDE NOTE. Does anyone think it's weird that Midge's childhood bedroom is right off the kitchen? For such a tony apartment is seems odd -- and more like a bedroom for a live-in maid.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:40 AM
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I'm so glad people are continuing to watch (and love) this! It's kind of a weird thing to be an evangelist about, but it's one of my favorite shows in recent memory -- and I'm someone who watches a lot of TV and is pretty easily entertained/amused.

You're very welcome, Sveltington!

WordMan, FWIW I agree with Ellen Cherry's take on Midge and her comedy. At first she's simply lashing out, but even once she moves beyond that we see that sometimes she has no control over what comes out of her mouth on stage: she's definitely not able to keep her own best interests in mind (e.g., her takedown of Sophie Lennon). One of the things I find so interesting about her character is that in some ways she is sharp and savvy and generous, but in others she is still very sheltered and immature/self-centered. It's a delicate line for the writers to walk in order for that to work and still have the character be likeable.
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:08 PM
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Yeah Tony Shaloub is my favorite part of the show!

Thanks for the recomendation. I am enjoying it! I like having good shows to recommend to my parents and this is a good one for that, too.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:01 PM
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A friend of mine whom I've known since middle school, Adam B. Shapiro, appears as the cantor in the Jewish synagogue in Episode 7. He gets to show off his nice singing voice.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:55 PM
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I watched a few minutes of it. Rachel Brosnahan's NY accent is phony enough to be distracting.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:51 AM
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Thoroughly enjoyed the show. The only mildly low point to me was when Midge was doing the party circuit and became the straight-man for the guy doing the Hitler bit. Looking forward to the second season.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:16 PM
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Just finished it last night, and also thoroughly enjoyed it. The soundtrack brought back memories -- I found myself recognizing songs that I don't think I'd thought about in 50 years ("Pass Me By", for instance). Loved Tony Shalhoub. And the psychic.

As someone above also mentioned: there were some anachronistic uses of language. And she was awfully free & easy dropping "F"-bombs in her act; that's the kind of thing that got Lenny Bruce arrested repeatedly. (Actually, I think Midge's stand-up act was the weakest part of the show).
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:46 PM
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(Actually, I think Midge's stand-up act was the weakest part of the show).
You know, you're right. I laughed during the rest of the show and it was nice to see her succeeding in making the Gaslight audience laugh but I personally never really laughed during her stand-up jokes. Maybe because she was largely telling jokes about events I had already seen and laughed at.

But the scenes of her actually up on stage were fairly short so it wasn't a distraction or problem, just odd to think about in retrospect.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:56 PM
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How accurate was Midge's comedy routine for 1958? Was it written for modern audiences or would it have fit in back then? Her act seemed more like modern comedy than what we saw from the other acts from back then. The Lenny Bruce bits seemed in the same vein as hers, but, from what I understand, he was really on the edge and considered obscene. I have the impression that most comics back then were telling more traditional jokes and one-liners (Take my wife...Please!)
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:16 PM
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Okay, I'm gonna be that person. I don't like the show.

Well... I should say, I do like aspects of it. The clothing, the 1950s-era-invoking, NYC Jewish culture stuff (most of which is pleasantly nostalgic for me!), Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle, music... all are very good.

Unfortunately, the main aspect I don't like is the lead character, aka The Marvelous Mary Sue.

See, I find her annoying as hell. The actress is fine, sometimes excellent with the dramatic stuff or the slices-of-life involving being newly single and dealing with such a huge life change.

But the chief problem is that to me, this supposedly brilliant comedian is not funny. (I know comedy is subjective, and most people adore this show, so I totally acknowledge I'm probably the weird one.)

Like, I have never laughed at all during her comedy "bits," including both when she (obnoxiously) holds court and hogs attention in real life, as well as the amazing freeform stand-up that pretty much consists of shocking us with the fact of a 1950s woman saying "fuck" a lot and talking about sex. Ooh. Edgy.

The show itself has funny moments. But y'know, when your character is meant to be the most daring, charismatic, funniest woman anyone's ever met, to the point where no one less than LENNY BRUCE is instantly enamored of her--well, that chick had better frickin' make me laugh. And she doesn't. (Your mileage may, and clearly does, differ.)

To me, the Lenny Bruce thing is really the worst. It's why Midge is such a Mary Sue--the writers just had to prop up their lead's street-cred as a comic by using the biggest and most iconic name in comedy as an imprimatur. It makes me cringe with embarrassment. I almost feel outraged on behalf of the estate of Lenny Bruce, that they're using him this way.

It's like writing about a composer and putting a fictionalized Leonard Bernstein in the script to fawn all over the new guy. Especially when the so-called genius's music sounds like subpar Coldplay.

Shows about comedy have a tough job. It reminds me of Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60, which was about a brilliant, subversive late night comedy show produced by the lead characters. Time and time again we were told how hilarious and groundbreaking and important this pseudo-SNL was. The headwriters (Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford) spoke passionately about their show's awesome output. And yet, whenever we heard bits from the scripts, or saw sketches on the show, they were duds.

(At least 30 Rock was smart enough to make it clear that they knew the show-within-a-show was crap.)

Anyway. I think part of my problem was the paeans to this show's brilliance by friends and family and critics before I sat down to watch it. I genuinely wanted the show to be awesome. I love period pieces, and I thrive on comedy. But I sat through episode after episode, hoping that I'd warm up to it. I didn't just tune in on the pilot--I gave it a fair shot. But it just didn't work for me.

Whew. Okay, I vented my spleen. I know I didn't convince anyone, and I'm glad others are having fun with the show. Just wanted to express my disappointment with something that I'd been looking forward to. I'm not surprised it got renewed, given how many people love it! I'll just find my yuks elsewhere.

Last edited by choie; 01-02-2018 at 05:19 PM.
  #47  
Old 01-02-2018, 05:30 PM
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What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Comedy is subjective, her stand-up was not what makes the show at all. It is everything else.

Lenny's comedy doesn't really hold up today anyway or even 30 years ago. Carlin, Pryor and others were much funnier. What Lenny was, was the trailblazer, he did humor that was not seen in the places he played. I mean Red Foxx and others were already doing humor as edgy as Lenny, but in clubs where they could get away from it or Burlesque shows. Lenny brought it basically to white clubs and at the time that is what counted in comedy and what got him in so much trouble.

Some of her comedy was funny in the first season, but most of the best laughs I got were from Susie (Alex Borstein). I think I look at the show as a really well done Mad Men type show, a dramedy and not a comedy.
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:36 PM
ISiddiqui ISiddiqui is offline
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Personally I really thought her stand up comedy was pretty funny. I laughed at it at any rate. Though it definitely seemed more observational, sometimes Seinfeldian in that way, which may not have really fitted the comedy of the era.
  #49  
Old 01-02-2018, 05:45 PM
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Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
It's like writing about a composer and putting a fictionalized Leonard Bernstein in the script to fawn all over the new guy. Especially when the so-called genius's music sounds like subpar Coldplay.
That seems a bit overstated. Bruce talks to her because they're off to prison together and takes pity on her. He then pretty much forgets about her until Susie asks him to do the show and he (to my eyes, anyway) agrees mainly because he owes her one for bailing him out -- literally. The first time, he was already arrested and sitting in the squad car when she gets put there so I don't know if he had even heard her (or saw her) during her big debut.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:00 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
The only minor criticisms I had were when they used terms that sounded like anachronisms (to me) like "nerd alert" or "avoiding drama" (there was another example that made me cringe, but I can't remember off the top of my head).
I eventually remembered the other term that made me wince: "fat suit"
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