The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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Why it’s worth your time:

In an era (approx. 1958-1962) when women were expected to marry up and shut up and definitely not be funny (especially not funnier than men), Midge Maisel defies cultural norms, big time, by trying to be a stand-up comic. Recently divorced, she juggles being a good mother with working nights in smoky clubs trying to hone her comedy act, where she talks about her struggles as a single mother.

Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) is supported in life and in three seasons of killer episodes by an award-winning ensemble cast, many of whom have been at the center of their own shows (Monk’s Tony Shaloub, Mad TV’s Alex Borstein, Kevin Pollack and Jane Lynch).

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos must have given the show’s creator/writer/director/producer/driving force Amy Sherman Paladino a blank check to develop such a lush and incredible recreation of the era.  The set and costume design are award-winning, featuring jaw-dropping Jackie Kennedy era fashions where everything was matchy-matchy, including earrings, purses, hats and shoes. The Maisel family lives in enormous pre-war apartments, furnished in mid-century modern furniture, complete with color matching kitchen appliances and rotary phones, the envy of every New Yorker and wanna-be Manhattanite. It’s a world where you’d want to curl up on the couch and never go home.

Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge is one of the most complex, lovable female leads since Mary Tyler Moore‘s Rhoda Morgenstern. As a viewer, your heart breaks when life disappoints her, and you cheer her triumphs. Maybe that’s what makes her so Marvelous.

The takeaway:

A historic look at New York City in your parents or grandparents’ era when women had to fight for the freedoms most women enjoy now without even thinking about their foremothers’ battles. Additionally, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is set against the backdrop of human rights, social, and political issues, in a time when people of color were not allowed to eat or sleep in the same hotels as their white companions, when being gay was closeted, secretive and discoveries could cost people to lose their jobs (especially in Season 3).

Emmy 2020 winner?

Watch it with:

Friends who like to laugh, mid-century history buffs, fashionistas, people who were born in the 1960’s or before. Like fine wine, a good cigar or a vintage car, this time in history, especially for women’s issues, has aged well. The show is a glowing reminder of how much women have achieved, and how far they still have to go to have true equality.

Worth noting:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has received Emmy nominations in almost every category for its entire three seasons. Delightfully binge worthy, it’s a wonderful complement to binge watching the 1960’s cult classic The Dick Van Dyke Show. Many people have been known to have Mrs. Maisel parties, where they dress as their favorite character in vintage clothing and serve highball drinks, chips with dip (made with Lipton’s French Onion Soup Mix) meat and potatoes and other foods of the era.

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