While the networks are shouting their version of “gone fishing” by making “fall finales” a thing, many viewers turn to streaming services for some stuff to binge-watch until their favorite shows return sometime in the new year. I’ve got a couple of things lined up for the next month or so. That’s why I was intrigued with all the love going to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” On Monday the Masked Wife and I sat down and watched the first three episodes.
My forte isn’t reviewing shows, although I generally have a strong opinion. I thought I would give you my two cents on this one as you’re looking some stuff to fill time over the next few weeks. I promise no spoilers. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime, and there are eight episodes.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” takes place mostly in the late 1950s (at least in the first three episodes) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Greenwich Village. It centers on the life of a young married woman with two kids, her parents and her in-laws. They are Jewish and, like “Transparent,” that is an important character in the show.
Following a life-changing event in Miriam Maisel’s life, she decides to begin an at first reluctant journey of transformation. She finds herself drawn into the world of stand-up comedy at a time where the boundaries of taste are being challenged. She is joined on this adventure by Susie Meyerson, who takes on the role of her manager, and she is also befriended by a famous real-life comedian, who (at least in the episodes I’ve seen) serves as her guide through Greenwich Village and the world of stand-up. There’s a bit of magical realism going on here.
Oh, and I should mention this all comes from Amy Sherman-Palladino of “Gilmore Girls” renown.
On the positive side is the cast fronted by Rachel Brosnahan as the title character and Alex Borstein as Susie Meyerson. Rachel Brosnahan is on the verge and this may put her over. She was in “Manhattan” on WGN America and “House of Cards.” She’s terrific here. Kevin Pollak and Tony Shalhoub are Miriam’s father and father-in-law, and it’s fun watching them butt heads. It’s set in New York City, so it’s fun for me to see Upper West Side Jewish culture and, as an NYU grad, I love the Village locale.
What keeps me from loving this is the dialogue, which is incessant. I need to be let up for air, and silence speaks a lot. There’s no silence here. The two worlds of family and stand-up haven’t gelled for me yet, and Miriam’s relationship to her kids is problematic. The music is very on the nose for me. There is a bit of a Woody Allen feel to it all.
Masked Wife loved it. I’m on the fence but will keep on binging it. If you’re looking for something to tide you over, you could do worse, but if you haven’t watched “GLOW” or Chewing Gum” (Netflix) or “Catastrophe” and “Fleabag” (Amazon), check those out. Also, “Happy Valley” and “The Fall,” both on Netflix, are excellent options to bring you down from holiday cheer.