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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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Why it’s worth your time:

In an era 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).

Show creator/writer/director/producer/driving force Amy Sherman Paladino must have been given a blank check to develop such a lush and captivating recreation of the era.  The vibrant set and costume design are award-winning, featuring 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 plush, endless 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 take for granted today.  It’s set against the backdrop of a rising awareness of human rights, social, and political upheavals, 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, and being discovered could cost people their jobs.

Emmy 2020 winner?

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A cross-generational nostalgia watch, Marvelous Mrs Maisel will also appeal to comedy fans, mid-century history buffs, and fashionistas. 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.

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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