This is my fourth and final tv pick for the moment. Our usual (ir)regular blog posts will resume shortly. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a show on Amazon Prime. Now, I don’t like Amazon – I’m a fan of bookshops so Amazon feels like a natural enemy but I also really don’t like how they treat their staff. I don’t use Amazon as a rule. I watched the first series of Mrs. Maisel with a free trial of Amazon Prime and consoled myself with the fact that I wasn’t actually giving them any money. Now I’m in a bit of a bind because I want to watch the second series of Mrs. Maisel (and I really want to see Dietland because I loved the book when I read it last year) and I’m going to end up giving them money and I’m a little bit disappointed in myself for that. I would be very grateful if someone else could please boycott Amazon for the next month on my behalf.
The second series of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was released at the beginning of December but I’ve been saving it to brighten up the dark days of January. It’s a charming and stylish show about a woman in the 1950s who stumbles into a career as a stand-up comedienne. Miriam “Midge” Maisel is beautiful and rich and astonishingly capable. She is enthusiastic and throws herself fully into whatever she is doing. She is charming and people want to help her. She generally has a bit of a charmed life. It’s that kind of show – set-backs are minor and temporary, we know everything is going to work out in the end. It’s also funny and the clothes are beautiful. The show inhabits a glossy world of the late 1950s; from the Upper West Side and Midge’s parents in their beautiful apartment to the slightly grittier clubs where Midge performs, it’s a pleasure to spend time there.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, some may find it too sickly sweet but there are enough shows that are dark and difficult to watch. Sometimes we need something light and sweet and frothy. It’s entertaining and pretty to look at and it makes me laugh. I like the characters, I like following Midge’s progress and seeing what she wears while she does it. (Her coats are particularly wonderful.) It’s well written and well plotted. I loved the pilot which includes Midge making a speech at her own wedding. Rachel Brosnahan is a joy to watch as the eponymous hero but I really enjoy the supporting characters as well, especially Midge’s parents who are supportive but confused by her behaviour.
There’s a lot of joy to be had in watching a woman succeed in such a male dominated environment, to see a woman be quicker and funnier and more capable than the men around her. It’s enjoyable to see a woman defy the social norms of the period, even if the women doing that at the time probably didn’t have all the advantages that Midge Maisel has. I don’t watch it for historical accuracy, it’s pure entertainment. If you want to watch someone enjoyable and fun, I recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.