It was about time I got on to the internet – TV bandwagon. About time – and then some as my friends would say.
Anywhoo. A recent holiday with about a fortnight of “free from slavery chores (AKA the un-glorified un-glamorous relentless and all-encompassing running of house chores, while juggling a start up enterprise) rendered my brain available to watch a little “Prime time” TV series. Almost instantly I latched on like a leech to the Marvelous Mrs Maisel and devoured series 1 in the space of about 4 days – watching a few marathon back to back midnight oil burning episodes. Boy did I enjoy season 1.
Up unto this point, I wasn’t completely unaware of the series, I knew that it had swept awards the previous year and I also knew that plenty of the cast comprised of stellar actors, several from the stage, none really mainstream. This itself was promising to me. What got me totally hooked from the 1st episode was not entirely the pro feminist theme, however. It was a combination of a recreation of the 50s and a fresh almost “stage musical” kind of screenplay and direction. What also is particularly appealing is the sheer speed which this series progresses. I know I’m new to Internet TV but this one is fast. It does not drag or linger – at all. But basically it’s mad, its fun !
My favorite character is undoubtedly Alex Brostien’s Susie. Midge is a bit unhinged for me. Too impulsive, though thoroughly entertaining. The others I particularly liked are her parents. Tony Shalhoub’s rendering of the obsessive compulsive Columbia mathematician is superb. And kudos to Marin Hinkle on playing a slightly older than her real age and totally nailing the quintessential upper west side Jewish mom from the 50’s.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that if there was a time machine, and I could go back and visit a decade it would be the 50s Americas. The glorious post war – motor era that saw the shiny new promise of modernization. For all my romanticizing this era, a show like MMM is an eye opener an issue I did know existed deeply in the so called developed world even then (and still does in spades in several parts of the world) – male chauvinism. MMM slaps you in the face with this very issue. Right from the man leaving his wife for a secretary – degrading both and stereotyping both as one disposable, one available. The scorn of accepting a female comic – she could be a singer or dancer “darling” on stage, but comedienne ? haaw? The utter disdain and blatant propositioning of fellow comics to an upcoming female colleague. Denial in part of the family in accepting her path of independence, especially her mother who will be content as long as she “marries well again”. More so, even if the husband can accept and recognize her onstage talent for what it is – sheer genius, he does not expect her to “work again” once they reconcile.
Season 2 – opened even more as a musical than one and went a bit here and there. The husband tries to make amends and shows some integrity to his wife (redeeming his goodwill among viewers) and even if he seems to have accepted his fate, there is an undertone that perhaps they will get back together after all. What I really liked in season 2 is the end. Where she knows she cannot go back to making jello’s and that she has infact departed too far from being a wife and normalcy. In both seasons however, I am amazed that she is not at all tied down by 2 kids, an infant and a toddler. Perhaps the 50s and 60s were more practical times where one did not really get very involved in child rearing. Both parents made do with the bare minimum interaction needed with their offspring.