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S01.E08: Thank You and Good Night

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In the Season One finale, Midge and Susie deal with the repercussions of Midge's off-script takedown of a famous comedian. With tensions still high at the Weissman household, Rose makes some bold changes. Midge and Joel reunite for Ethan's birthday party.

 

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I really like Lenny Bruce. I think he was my favorite recurring character in the whole show. I would really like Joel to get his shit together and be supportive, doesn't look good. He seems like the type that wants his wife in her place. Wherever he thinks that place is, it's not in a comedy club taking shots at him. He did acknowledge she was good, so maybe there is hope. I just want Midge being fabulous in her fabulous outfits. I wish the season was longer, now I have to wait a year for the next.

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Joel may get his stuff together eventually, but I always knew seeing Midge be successful at what he wanted to do would be cause major trouble.  I loved that he still went out and hit the guy who was heckling her.

I didn't love every scene in the series but this last episode made it all worthwhile.  Looking forward to next season!

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I loathed Gilmore Girls so I wasn't expecting to like this but Rachel just won me over as Mrs. Maisel. She just oozes charisma and you can completely understand why she is the life of the party. Lenny Bruce was my favorite reoccurring character. I loved that he was the one who did the favor to put her back on track. 

The show wasn't perfect. Anything that had to do with Joel was a snooze fest. He is just a sad sack. I'd rather see Midge out on her own. And I can't wait until her parents find out what she has been up to.

It's going to be a long year waiting for season 2.

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I never really watched the Gilmore Girls - familiar with the landscape, but don't think I've watched a single full show. Everyone that reviewed Mrs. Maisel noted that it was from the Gilmore Girls creator, and let me in on what that meant. I didn't realize she had a particular style until after I saw the pilot, which I loved. I definitely saw the cute, overblown, huge coincidence and fantasy-based stuff later on. One fantasy based thing that was ok was Midge's absolutely WONDERFUL job at B. Altmann, which brought her an entirely new social set immediately, everybody loving everybody, throwing teeming, fun, bohemian parties. And boy is she lucky to have those grandparents as on-demand baby sitters!

I just don't like Joel and I feel badly, because I see why we're supposed to, and the actor does a decent job, but he DOES do the sad sack a bit too much - or the script does. But dear God, the finale went full on A Star is Born. The entire episode I knew Joel and Midge would sleep together and I scrolled forward to confirm. YUP. And then stuff like Joel moping at the meeting and saying "I quit" just does the character no favors - he's undermining an entire family's financial security. I guess that's a Gilmore Girls thing - ignoring real world implications in order to deliver a peak character moment

But, like others, I'm riveted by Midge's comedy world, I love Midge, I love love love Suzy, and I like how Midge's offhand friendship with Lenny Bruce (and giving him cab money back in the pilot) worked its way around to a pay off in the finale. Lenny Bruce should NOT work, but the actor has just great chemistry with Midge's character, with Suzy's character, and he pulls off that shambling kind of offhand smarts.

Megan, Midge's bedroom right off the kitchen was probably meant to be a maid's room and for some reason she got it. Her parents' apartment certainly looks bigger than a one bedroom plus maid's room, but in these large upper west side pre-war apartments, the maid's room is common. There are also just weird layouts - sometimes a larger apartment has been broken up and that's where they land with the configuration.

Edited by DianeDobbler
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Maybe the best line of the series from Abe to Midge: "I will have to kill you. I’ll feel bad about it but it will happen."

Another of the showrunners go-to moves is to break characters up and get them back together multiple times. I had hoped Joel would stay gone after he walked out but kind of knew he wouldn't.

I completely agree that the series was best when it revolved around Midge's stand-up and her partnership with Susie. Midge had to be given some kind of home life and backstory, but everything Joel-adjacent (his parents, his job -- especially his job -- his mistress, his kids, his twin bed sex creeping, his flashbacks) was altogether dreary to me.

Midge's cavalier attitude towards her children was unrealistic and struck me as one of most egregious Palladino fantasy aspects of the show. The two of them are fairly adamant about sticking to their creative vision no matter what fans or critics have to say, so I'm not sure if I'll be up for more of the same in season 2. I only really liked half the show and it's tricky to FF though specific scenes when watching online.  ;-)

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LOVED the montages showing Midge honing her jokes.  I'm trying to think of any other skill that lends itself to that type of editing montage of improvement; it's like makeover porn but for jokes and we know the bit is getting better because it gets funnier.  Really appreciate that they foregrounded Midge's work on her craft throughout the show and in this specific way.

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Yeah, I'm right here - I don't like Joel. All the flashbacks supposedly show his best self, but I just think he's nowhere in Midge's league. Even when he was in a position to make a ton of money and was talking about how great she was, he was just not in his league. The guy playing Lenny Bruce IS, and effortlessly. Too bad he's playing Lenny Bruce - but I think a guy like that, laid back, confident, but appreciative of Midge, would be a better fit. I just read an interview and heard that the show runners consider the show to be about Midge's husband and her parents as much as about Midge, so forearmed is forewarned, I guess. I'm afraid of the show shoving Joel down our throats to force us to sympathize, so we'll get MORE material saying "FEEL for the guy!" - you know, gambits like when he was devastated over Midge's stand-up but still punched her heckler. I don't care. I don't care. He doesn't deliver.

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Tracy was a weird character to suddenly pop up. I was like, whoa, did we jump into hipster Brooklyn for a second? Where'd she come from?

Also, to revisit, her set wasn't that funny. It was more of a rant than a series of jokes. And again, really don't see what she was so mad at Sophie for.

"Make a new friend. I'm tired of this one." Also, how long is that damn phone cord?

How did he have time to arrange those books? And Edith Piaf! If we're going to have so many flashbacks, I'd like to see Rose in Paris at some point.

I was amused by Imogen's baby matchmaking on the carousel.

In that carousel scene, something I realized is that there's a distinct lack of sexual tension with Joel and Miriam. They tried to make it happen in the kitchen later but that wasn't sexual tension. That was a kiss that came out of nowhere. They don't really seem to want each other. 

Sigh... Joel telling Miriam how perfect she is. I mean, I get it. He's weak. But that doesn't really make me want to root for them to get back together. Because I don't think he'd be happy being the man behind the famous comedienne. I do get the point they're making about him finally being able to see her as she is (without all her prep with the bra hooks and the powder and the nighttime makeup) but I still think the big underlying problems are there. Her strength is too challenging to his masculinity.

I liked seeing the burlesque place. Though I thought that was a little out of date. Gypsy Rose Lee wrote her memoir in 1957 so by 1950, I'd assume burlesque was already fading. 

Oh my God, that adorable green suit!

When Penny was ranting she reminded me SO much of Paris from Gilmore Girls.

LOL, Tony Shalhoub. So good.

Kitty! I love the random kitties. 

See, at the first setback, Joel quits. 

I am sure there were some chorus boys in the hava nagila sequence but it went too fast for me to recognize anyone. I think one of them might have been in Book of Mormon.

Ah, so that's why we have Lenny Bruce. As a Deus Ex Machina.

OK, I get why Susie and Joel had to have that argument. They are her two paths and in some way they reflect two sides of Midge. But it also felt weird for them to exempt her from the decision/conversation.

I doubt that's the last we'll see of Joel though.

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 But dear God, the finale went full on A Star is Born.

Ha! Oh, my God, yes. I totally see it. Except Joel was never successful.

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Midge's cavalier attitude towards her children was unrealistic and struck me as one of most egregious Palladino fantasy aspects of the show. 

It doesn't bother me too much but I get where it would. I get that her kids are small and so it's not like she has to keep them company or they're great conversationalists. And it's the 1950's so parenting attitudes are different. But I think her age coupled with the way she leaves them all the time... it feels off. It feels like they're writing Mary Tyler Moore or Carrie Bradshaw... except she also has 2 kids that she thinks about periodically. And it's also the little things like how she abandoned Ethan when she stumbled on that rally in the park.

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Well, on the plus side, they haven't really hit a false note with Suzy/Midge's friendship. I was really pleased when, in the finale, it turned out Midge and Suzy were drinking their cares away after Midge went off the reservation in her stand-up for Harry. Suzy had obviously been distraught at being blackballed / getting on Harry's bad side, but when she told Harry "She's spontaneous." I could see Suzy got it, even if it wasn't in her best interests. It probably also helped that Midge's take down of Sophie Lennon was very funny, however un-pc at the time.

I think this show gets stand-up right. I have a couple of friends in sketch comedy. One is hugely talented, the other less so, but super smart (hell, won Jeopardy at her one appearnce on it). AND I knew who Lou Black was before he got his Daily Show gig and became a big name. Someone I knew dated him, so, to support her, I went to see his gig. I thought he had a great persona, but blech material (a lot of aerobics jokes, long after aerobics were kind of dead). I even told her that. I said he has to get off his ass and get some material - this is shit. He has the delivery, the attitude, but the content sucks ass, and there wasn't really enough of it - he'd stretch stuff out past what the topic really had in it. SO ff a  few years, and on a New Year's Eve I see him at the West Bank, and he's extremely funny. I emailed my friend "He was hilarious!" He'd totally switched and he landed on politics. Cultural shit wasn't his thing. Sure, occasionally he'd get a good joke about it like "Is milk good - or bad?" but really, the dude who is angry about how the world works is his THING. As soon as he landed on that, it was easy for him to get a "tight twenty" (his sets weren't ten - he was big enough to be twenty) instead of taking a "tight five" and stretching it to 20.

Leslie Jones of SNL had some of the same problems. She had an incredible personality, delivery, timing - not enough material. That's always an argument, and I think there ISN'T an argument, you ALWAYS need material. You can't work the same five minutes amount of shit and, if you're big enough, stretch it to fifteen or whatever. Now that she's on SNL, she gets stuff written for her as well as stuff she does herself, and she can use her personality, delivery and timing to act (I love her commercials). Not such a burden to get stand-up content because she's expanded her role - she acts. She does sketch comedy. She does a lot of other people's material. So now she's getting bigger and bigger.

I totally related to the tight ten. A lot of people pad their tight five to a tight ten, and so forth. But to have a truly legit tight ten is golden. You're going to be a star if you have that.

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Well, I just blew through this series. What a fun ride. It's going to be a long next 11 months waiting to see what's up next for our Mrs. Maisel.

I'm watching this through the lens of many years on this earth, but one thing is troubling me. Everyone I've ever known who is funny - truly, spontaneously funny - is hiding something. They have some sort of hurt or pain that they cover up with the jokes. Make everyone laugh, because that will eliminate the uncomfortable emotions or the seriousness of the current situation. I hope they explore that in future episodes. 

I'm also one of the three people on the internet who doesn't have a problem with Joel. They were married. They have kids. He's going to be in and out of her life, and any guy with half of a brain will be attracted to Midge. I don't even mind seeing them together. Maybe he can be her stay-at-home husband while she does the comedy circuit. (OK, that was a joke.) I do think anyone who's living a life on the stage, especially someone doing comedy, needs someone to ground them. That may not be Joel, but I hope future episodes establish a relationship with someone to balance the mania of being funny.

Lenny Bruce is my new TV crush. I hate thinking of how the real Lenny Bruce wound up - it hits a little close to home for reasons I don't need to disclose. 

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On 12/1/2017 at 10:07 PM, Megan said:

Weird that Midge's bedroom is right off the kitchen... an odd layout also on GG. I wonder why.

The kids bedroom in my grandparents house was right off the kitchen.  

On 12/2/2017 at 9:03 AM, DianeDobbler said:

I just don't like Joel and I feel badly, because I see why we're supposed to, and the actor does a decent job, but he DOES do the sad sack a bit too much - or the script does.

Are we supposed to like Joel?  Really?  They've not sold me there.  But I'm not 1000% sure they are trying to sell me.   Because I think Suzy is right and I think we're supposed to know Suzy is right.  He'd never let her do this.

2 minutes ago, screenaddict said:

I'm also one of the three people on the internet who doesn't have a problem with Joel. They were married. They have kids. He's going to be in and out of her life, and any guy with half of a brain will be attracted to Midge.

I get all of that, too.  I don't mind him in the series at all.   I just don't think the show is trying to paint him as much of a great guy as some people seem to think.  

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This last episode started slowly but finished very well.  I knew Joel wasn’t going to be happy with Midge’s on stage success.  Great idea for Susie to get Lenny Bruce to bring the crowd and have Midge perform first.  And she killed.  Rachel Brosnahan is really great.  

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I get why Midge still hold a flame for Joel -- it's normal to miss companionship and he represents the normal life she grew up wanting and expecting. It's not as if there's some amazing single gal comedy star life the average woman could aspire to or probably even imagine in that era. 

But ugh, he stinks and I think they've made him too unredeemable for the majority of the audience to ever root for him. Not to keep constantly comparing this to GG but... he is Christopher. And I suspect he'll hang around just as long. I agree with others that she has far more chemistry with the Lenny Bruce character -- but him being Lenny Bruce kinda restricts where they can go there. It's a shame they didn't just make him Lenny Bruce-esque. I think an original character would've stood up just fine with the same role. 

Anyway, I did enjoy this show a lot. On reflection, I could objectively see its flaws (handwaving racial politics of the time, the fact that her standup wasn't that funny, a lot of the dialogue seeming way too modern) but I bought into the world they'd built in the moment. I predict it will win a bucket of awards and I'm already looking forward to season 2. 

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I think we're supposed to like Joel because we see flashbacks of what I am sure is supposed to be his charming, appreciative, wonderful self. And then he's a shit, but I don't know that the show weights some of the things he does the way the audience does. For example, him bailing on Midge and leaving home the night before that huge dinner. It was dramatic, she complained about it, but I don't know if we were supposed to see him as being quite the level of asshole he was with that. I think we were supposed to see him as a miserable mid-life crisis guy. We see him all "noble" telling Abe he's stepped up at work and is going to pay for Midge's home, the kids best possible schooling, travel, etc. etc., leaving nothing for himself. And finally, while we see him pissed and upset when he watches Midge's set, he also punches out the guy who heckled her.

I'm way to used to seeing a guy like Joel and thinking - well HE's a loser, and finding out the show runner thinks we're supposed to weigh all the martyr and appealing stuff just as much or even more. I think we're supposed to believe the "great guy" we see in flashbacks (who is supposed to be great) is just going through a miserable time right now.

Believe me I would love love love to be wrong, but I think the show IS playing "Maybe these two crazy kids can get back together - maybe their stars will align. Look how good they were together and look at all the good that is still in Joel. He is crazy about Midge!"

I agree it would be nice if she had a partner - a romantic partner - to ground her, but maybe not right away. And please not Joel. I, too, love the guy who plays Lenny Bruce, and that is the one character who should not work, given Bruce's iconic status. I imagine a bunch of people who are super familiar with his work either because they saw it or studied it don't think this guy lives up to Bruce (one reviewer didn't think so), but in the world of the show he's my favorite man and I'm always happy when he shows up. Almost wish he were playing a successful comic that the show invented, so he could get together with Midge at some point. Joel is just exhausting. The show stops dead for me when he's on, and if the writers agreed he's that bad, he wouldn't get that much airtime. They want us invested in him.

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While I don't like Joel, I don't think that Midge wavering on taking him back is unrealistic. It is supposed to be 1958, and she's a 26 year old woman. Divorce was not common, and women did not sleep around. She was shown to be a woman who liked sex, and  I believe Joel was the only person she had slept with. Sex and marriage went together back then, so by bringing him back to her bed she felt she was bringing him back into her life. 

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OMG I wish they would make Midge's clothes available in a special Marvelous Mrs. Maisel line! I especially want that multicolored dress she wore under the dark red coat, and the dress with the crimson fitted top and pouffy peach skirt!!! 

Having grown up in Manhattan in the 60s and 70s, this is such a time machine show for me (and ditto for Mr. Snappy who moved to the city when he was 5, in 1960, so also grew up there a little older than I am so with slightly different memories) ... I really wanted to rewatch one of the scenes shot in Washington Square Park ... you see a big high rise in the distance which I THINK may be the building my cousins lived in on E. 8th Street (mainly because I don't remember another high rise like that in the immediate area that early) but I could be wrong. But SO many references to places that were part of our childhood that are gone (a few remain, but not many) ... 

Also? The music supervisor should just be given the Emmy right now. Am loving the soundtrack SO much. There was a moment in the episode (I think 7, maybe 6, we watched both last night) where Midge and Noah are smoking on the fire escape and having an amazing sibling moment and "Hey There" is playing quietly in the background and the line "Won't you take this advice I hand to you like a brother" played just as they finished the conversation. It was not "over the head with a frying pan" at all. Very subtle and perfect.

I need to rewatch the pilot because it was so long ago that we watched it that I've forgotten everything and hubby didn't want to rewatch it, so I'll just give it a second look after we watch Episode 8 later and then I can come back and actually read/comment on all of the threads here ... 

I had mentioned to my daughter (like me a huge Palladino/GG fan ... we have matching Dragonfly Inn T-shirts) that I wished it were 22 episodes instead of 8 and she said that being 8 makes every episode have to be absolutely perfect, and she thinks it comes about as close as possible to that. 

I've had only two moments of "disconnect" ... one in Episode 7 where I couldn't really believe that Midge would "go there" on Sophie Lennon ... she's been level-headed and making good decisions all along, why would she knowingly do something THAT stupid and self-destructive, especially knowing Lennon's agent was there? (Maybe Episode 8 will shed light on it) ... and also, was the name Ethan "a thing" for little Jewish boys in 1955 or whenever he would have been born? Evans, Erics, I even knew an Erwin.  I did not know a single Ethan until I went to college (and I knew probably half of the nice Jewish boys of my generation in NYC). 

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It's not my experience that everyone who is truly funny is using it as a coping mechanism for pain. I know some really funny people. MMV of course, but I don't think Midge needs a thing. I think she's quick, extremely observant, and very confident, and has a terrific sense of the absurd.

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Rachel Brosnahan is fire, and I loved every scene she was in. But when she's not on screen, the show really flags--not so much when Alex Borstein is leading the way, her scenes of trying to figure out her management career were also great -- but every time there were Joel-centric or parent-centric scenes, I literally fell asleep. (I watched pretty late at night.) I just don't care about the nagging parents (despite how great Tony Shalhoub is generally) or about Joel's midlife crisis. AT ALL. 

I also thought it all came just a touch too easily to Midge. I liked that episode where she bombed but....I'm not sure I understood what she had to do to resolve that. I would've liked far more scenes with her adjusting to the comedy circuit, trying out different routines, working on the relationship with Susie (Alex Borstein needs way, way more to do!), and honestly, failing a bit here and there. All of that is far more interesting than her regular life (though the department store scenes were somewhat enjoyable.) I liked Lenny Bruce a lot, too. 

The pilot blew me away, but the rest of the series spent far too long on the uninteresting bits of her life for me to say the show overall is very good/great. They could make something really impressive out of an overall arc where Midge decides the average housewife/mom life is not what she wants at all, but I don't think they will go there. Moms who abandon their kids aren't often deemed likeable enough for TV execs, and they seem to be really invested in petulant, whiny, selfish Joel and their reunion. The fact that the name she chooses for herself at the end of the season is his (Mrs. Maisel) doesn't bode well for it going in the direction I'd like it to.

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The fact that the name she chooses for herself at the end of the season is his (Mrs. Maisel) doesn't bode well for it going in the direction I'd like it to.

The name of the show is "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," so she HAS to be "Mrs. Maisel." It's HER name now, and her children's name, too. I think you're reading too much into this.

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Are we supposed to like Joel?  Really?  They've not sold me there.  But I'm not 1000% sure they are trying to sell me.   Because I think Suzy is right and I think we're supposed to know Suzy is right.  He'd never let her do this.

I'm not sure if we're supposed to root for them to get back together. But I think we're at least supposed to feel conflicted. There should be a debate. But I don't even feel like Midge really wants them to get back together so I certainly don't. I think that's a failure in the show. If this were a decision between two guys, the show thinks it's writing Ryan Gosling vs. James Marsden. But it has really written Ryan Gosling vs. that background extra. 

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I'm way to used to seeing a guy like Joel and thinking - well HE's a loser, and finding out the show runner thinks we're supposed to weigh all the martyr and appealing stuff just as much or even more. I think we're supposed to believe the "great guy" we see in flashbacks (who is supposed to be great) is just going through a miserable time right now.

YUP. I don't find him that unbearable but otherwise I share your sentiments completely. 

Dissenting opinion, I like Susie but I don't love Susie. I think they could easily go overboard with the character. And there's something tricky there already. A show like this is tricky to manage because it's dancing on the line between easy and difficult. "Easy" shows tend to moralize and tell you exactly how you should feel. Character does a bad thing. Character learns a lesson. "Difficult" shows tend to allow everyone to have shades of gray and different motivations. All the characters aren't going to contribute to the project of the show (often the main character's progression and possibly their self-improvement). They're not necessarily villains because of it, just people who have their own wants and needs. There have been two times already when I feel like Susie is speaking as a "difficult" character with her own wants and needs but in the context of the show it still sort of feels like the show thinks she's working in Midge's best interests (her confrontation with Midge that ended in tears in her apartment, the confrontation with Joel at the club). 

Edited by aradia22
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11 hours ago, taragel said:

The fact that the name she chooses for herself at the end of the season is his (Mrs. Maisel) doesn't bode well for it going in the direction I'd like it to.

When she gave them that name she didn't know Joel had heard her routine and still thought they might be getting back together.  But since he did I'm pretty sure his ego took a big enough hit that they won't be reconciling any time soon and quite possibly never.

Edited by shron17
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On 12/1/2017 at 8:07 PM, Megan said:

Weird that Midge's bedroom is right off the kitchen... an odd layout also on GG. I wonder why.

I got the feeling that her room was once a "maid's room."  But, yeah, I caught that, too.

You know the temper tantrum that Abe threw when Midge told him that might get back together with Joel?  That was me a few scenes earlier when she slept with Joel.  And I was the calm one--my husband is still muttering about it.

There is something about the whole blacklisting and then getting Lenny Bruce to do a show that doesn't quite make sense to me, but whatever.  I'm glad that Midge dropped the Amanda Gleason moniker (mostly because I knew an Amanda Gleason...and she was not funny) and started using her own name.

Joel...oh Joel...you just keep getting more pathetic with every episode.

Do Midge get fired from her department store job?  It looked like that was where it was going, but then it was never mentioned again.

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On 12/2/2017 at 9:05 PM, aradia22 said:

I doubt that's the last we'll see of Joel though.

Joel will be there until the last episode of this show.  They had an out, if he had gotten the promotion, started traveling, and then settled in California...but that didn't happen.  He's the character who is Midge's ball and chain--the one person who might be able to pull her back into her old life.  He is, essentially, the antagonist of the show and, unless ASP somehow gets another one, he'll need to be there for the run.

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@OtterMommy Lazy writing predictions (I'm not hoping for these. I'm just saying these are the tired plotlines they could try out.)

Eventually Joel gets himself together and they try to give it another shot. Joel tries to support her and maybe play Mr. Mom (though really neither of them seem that interested in parenting besides the one time they put their son to bed). Joel feels emasculated and gets frustrated with the situation. Midge possibly ruins it because keeping him out of her act makes it too tame and unfunny. (Lazy because a good comic should be able to craft their material out of more than rage and personal injury. It's a false choice to say she can either be totally honest and torpedo her relationships or she's stuck with dorky, clean humor. Part of learning to be a good comic or writer is being able to adapt to the situation/audience/notes/etc.)

There will be a new love interest to tempt Midge back to her old life. Maybe one of her parents finds someone to set her up with who is actually a good catch... someone who could tempt her back into trying to be the perfect Jewish wife and mother. Of course it could be someone WASP-ier and more like that guy who chopped his wife's head off or her college boyfriend before Joel but the show seems reluctant to dig into issues like that and I think it would be more tempting to have someone who could give her a facsimile of her old life. 

Otherwise, yeah, I think we're stuck with Joel unless that actor miraculously gets a better job offer.

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On ‎12‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 8:34 AM, taragel said:

Rachel Brosnahan is fire, and I loved every scene she was in. But when she's not on screen, the show really flags--not so much when Alex Borstein is leading the way, her scenes of trying to figure out her management career were also great -- but every time there were Joel-centric or parent-centric scenes, I literally fell asleep. (I watched pretty late at night.) I just don't care about the nagging parents (despite how great Tony Shalhoub is generally) or about Joel's midlife crisis. AT ALL. 

I also thought it all came just a touch too easily to Midge. I liked that episode where she bombed but....I'm not sure I understood what she had to do to resolve that. I would've liked far more scenes with her adjusting to the comedy circuit, trying out different routines, working on the relationship with Susie (Alex Borstein needs way, way more to do!), and honestly, failing a bit here and there. All of that is far more interesting than her regular life (though the department store scenes were somewhat enjoyable.) I liked Lenny Bruce a lot, too. 

The pilot blew me away, but the rest of the series spent far too long on the uninteresting bits of her life for me to say the show overall is very good/great. They could make something really impressive out of an overall arc where Midge decides the average housewife/mom life is not what she wants at all, but I don't think they will go there. Moms who abandon their kids aren't often deemed likeable enough for TV execs, and they seem to be really invested in petulant, whiny, selfish Joel and their reunion. The fact that the name she chooses for herself at the end of the season is his (Mrs. Maisel) doesn't bode well for it going in the direction I'd like it to.

Agree with most of this. As the show got underway, I thought omg, REALLY? We are spending all this time with the parents AND Joel? At least one reviewer mentioned that's the feedback they're getting from viewers - way too much on the Upper West Side characters and Joel, not enough on Suzy and Midge.  The show runners have affirmed that it's not a show about Midge/Suzy but it's ALSO just as much about the parents and Joel. To that I say, FEH. I agree that we're supposed to be conflicted about Joel. The tell is air time. If a character is getting a lot of air time for their point of view, given their own supporting characters to support their story, gets lots of close-ups to show their emotions - this is a character we're supposed to care about and invest in, and I simply don't about Joel. I think Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce as 1/16th the air time and yet makes a thousand times the impact. It helps that Lenny is part of the stand up story, which is the part of the show that really works.

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I would like Midge to focus more on standup. Or at least focus on her life (kids, department store job, etc.) in a way that feels more impactful and not like little distractions... not that it's gotten that bad. But I'm really wary of them taking a cue from the feedback to spend a lot more time on Susie. I think that character works in small doses. Too much and all the abrasiveness and bravado is going to make her seem like a complete a-hole if she never drops it. And I don't want manufactured conflict between the two of them. The focus should be Midge working to be a better stand up, not just spending time with Susie. 

Sorry, I just feel like I've been burned before. Smash was supposed to be about the behind the scenes of a Broadway show and instead we got way too much interpersonal drama. 

Also random side note... has anyone mentioned how the name "Susie" isn't that far from "Sookie"?

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On 12/3/2017 at 0:05 AM, aradia22 said:

Ah, so that's why we have Lenny Bruce. As a Deus Ex Machina.

This is so self-contradictory I debated if it was even worth pointing out...

On 12/4/2017 at 11:48 PM, retrograde said:

And I suspect he'll hang around just as long. I agree with others that she has far more chemistry with the Lenny Bruce character -- but him being Lenny Bruce kinda restricts where they can go there. It's a shame they didn't just make him Lenny Bruce-esque. I think an original character would've stood up just fine with the same role. 

Anyway, I did enjoy this show a lot. On reflection, I could objectively see its flaws (handwaving racial politics of the time, the fact that her standup wasn't that funny, a lot of the dialogue seeming way too modern) but I bought into the world they'd built in the moment. I predict it will win a bucket of awards and I'm already looking forward to season 2. 

The Lenny Bruce character was great! I hope they find a way to bring him back once or twice a season. Considering all the other fictional people they created I wonder why they chose to go with LB here.

About her standup not being that funny... I honestly think that it comes down to the setting. I go see a fair number of lesser known standup comedians, and I have discovered that when you go to a comedy club expecting to laugh, you're a lot more likely to laugh at things that you might not normally find so funny. You put yourself in a different mindset. And there IS also a buildup, hence why there are opening acts, and why TV shows with live audiences warm them up so the show itself gets bigger laughs.

So when you see a small clip of a standup routine on a TV show, it isn't likely to get as big a laugh out of you as it would if you see the entire routine in person, at a club.

I also think that Miriam's style is one where the laughs build up the longer she goes on, as opposed to someone with more distinct, standalone jokes that are going to get a laugh no matter where you hear them.

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On December 2, 2017 at 1:54 PM, Penman61 said:

LOVED the montages showing Midge honing her jokes. 

Mr. Snappy and I thought that may have been the best single scene/montage in the whole series and we both really like/love the series (he had more issues with it jumping the shark in the last few episodes and I am more willing to forgive it because Amy Palladino)

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On 05/12/2017 at 2:00 AM, bybrandy said:

Are we supposed to like Joel?  Really?  They've not sold me there.  But I'm not 1000% sure they are trying to sell me.   Because I think Suzy is right and I think we're supposed to know Suzy is right.  He'd never let her do this.

I don't think we're supposed to like Joel either. They wrote him as the world's biggest schmuck (being both a cheater and a hack) in the pilot just to get the plot moving as fast as possible, and throughout the series they did humanize him, but not really redeem or rewrite him as a character.  Their reunion in the final episode is treated as the wrong choice, with Midge and her comedy as the right one.

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3 minutes ago, quangtran said:

I don't think we're supposed to like Joel either. They wrote him as the world's biggest schmuck (being both a cheater and a hack) in the pilot just to get the plot moving as fast as possible, and throughout the series they did humanize him, but not really redeem or rewrite him as a character.  Their reunion in the final episode is treated as the wrong choice, with Midge and her comedy as the right one.

I think that they are trying to set up Joel for a big redemption arc.  In other words: No, we are not supposed to like him....yet.  Based on how this episode ended, it looks like they are setting him up as a man who has hit rock bottom.  Where they go from there could go any number of ways.  They could have Midge be his savior (no thank you).  They could have him redeem himself to a point to where he and Midge could be together in a healthy relationship (also no thank you).  They could leave him unredeemed as a tragic figure.  They could redeem him but NOT put him back with Midge.  

The thing is, though...I'm not really interested in seeing all that.  I prefer Joel as sort of a peripheral character whose presence and actions spur growth in Midge.  At this point, I really don't care what becomes of him personally.

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t doesn't bother me too much but I get where it would. I get that her kids are small and so it's not like she has to keep them company or they're great conversationalists. And it's the 1950's so parenting attitudes are different. But I think her age coupled with the way she leaves them all the time... it feels off. It feels like they're writing Mary Tyler Moore or Carrie Bradshaw... except she also has 2 kids that she thinks about periodically. And it's also the little things like how she abandoned Ethan when she stumbled on that rally in the park.

I did wonder why they chose to give her kids, if only because it seems like they have no purpose on the show, and it's not particularly believable to me that Miriam treats them like extreme afterthoughts, as well as having them enrolled in what feels like round the clock childcare.

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I don't think we're supposed to like Joel either. They wrote him as the world's biggest schmuck (being both a cheater and a hack) in the pilot just to get the plot moving as fast as possible, and throughout the series they did humanize him, but not really redeem or rewrite him as a character.  Their reunion in the final episode is treated as the wrong choice, with Midge and her comedy as the right one.

I actually did feel badly for Joel hearing the record of Midge's jokes, and then seeing her in person putting their personal lives on blast.  It's a difficult situation.  She deserves better than him, but I feel like he also deserves better than to serve as part of his wife's routine against his will.  And I say all this as someone who doesn't much care for Joel.  I feel like a better actor could make this part work, but the one they have is not great.    

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Do Midge get fired from her department store job?  It looked like that was where it was going, but then it was never mentioned again.

I was confused about that too.  I guess maybe she just was disciplined? 

Edited by txhorns79
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I feel like a better actor could make this part work, but the one they have is not great.    

Since we've been talking about it, I started thinking... would Joel be more sympathetic if he were played by a more handsome and/or charismatic actor? I'm not taking a shot at the actor they cast and I think to some extent he was either directed to do what he's doing or he's at least playing the character as written. But I've been thinking that if the goal is to have us like him more so that we would want them to get back together, maybe the casting is just off. Either way, it's too late now. 

I just watched Hello, My Name is Doris. I don't think he's right for this part but if they had cast someone more like Max Greenfield, I can see myself not considering Joel such a wet noodle. He'd still be a jerk for how he left Midge abruptly but there's something to be said for how an audience expectation and how, in the real world, more attractive people are treated. The way they're written and portrayed, Midge's light just shines so much more brightly than Joel's.

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11 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Since we've been talking about it, I started thinking... would Joel be more sympathetic if he were played by a more handsome and/or charismatic actor? I'm not taking a shot at the actor they cast and I think to some extent he was either directed to do what he's doing or he's at least playing the character as written. But I've been thinking that if the goal is to have us like him more so that we would want them to get back together, maybe the casting is just off. Either way, it's too late now. 

I just watched Hello, My Name is Doris. I don't think he's right for this part but if they had cast someone more like Max Greenfield, I can see myself not considering Joel such a wet noodle. He'd still be a jerk for how he left Midge abruptly but there's something to be said for how an audience expectation and how, in the real world, more attractive people are treated. The way they're written and portrayed, Midge's light just shines so much more brightly than Joel's.

Maybe, but honestly Christopher on Gilmore Girls was more classically handsome and arguably charming, but still couldn't make Chris interesting or redeemable for my money. They even had Lorelei consider remarrying him and meh. I think this Joel situation will be handled very much the same, unfortunately -- a long-term back-and-forth thing. Part of my annoyance is that you can't set up the pilot to make him pretty irredeemable (cheating on his SUPER DEVOTED wife who does everything to make his life easier... with his uninteresting secretary) but then tell me it's worth spending time or investing emotion in this shallow dude. It's just dumb storytelling. They needed to set up the initial breakup far more sympathetically/understandably for him to come back and work well later on.

 

23 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I would like Midge to focus more on standup. Or at least focus on her life (kids, department store job, etc.) in a way that feels more impactful and not like little distractions... not that it's gotten that bad. But I'm really wary of them taking a cue from the feedback to spend a lot more time on Susie. I think that character works in small doses. Too much and all the abrasiveness and bravado is going to make her seem like a complete a-hole if she never drops it. And I don't want manufactured conflict between the two of them. The focus should be Midge working to be a better stand up, not just spending time with Susie. 

Sorry, I just feel like I've been burned before. Smash was supposed to be about the behind the scenes of a Broadway show and instead we got way too much interpersonal drama. 

Also random side note... has anyone mentioned how the name "Susie" isn't that far from "Sookie"?

Borstein is so far from one-note though (she was amazing on Getting On), and she was already quite vulnerable with Midge in that scene where they both almost start crying in the diner. I think it would be very interesting to see more of Suzie, and delve behind her facade. And it would feel quite natural as she's the surly spirit guide/manager for Midge's fledgling career. Plus she's a great foil -- Midge's inner Suzie (abrasive, crude, quick-witted) comes out when she's on stage. 

Midge's stand up routines...IDK they work so much better for me when she's really angry about something and fueled by oppression in her life. That's when they're freshest and sharpest. I had misgivings about her being able to channel that energy into a regular gig to be honest because she really thrives on spontaneity.

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Overall, loved the first season and look forward to the next. A few jarring things they got wrong:  the 80-foot phone cord, which I'm pretty sure wouldn't exist as an option for many years.

Also, anachronisms such as the modern language and expressions bothered me at first. But they seem so consistent about them that I'm now wondering if it's deliberate? But one thing that really bothered me - in this episode, she said she used to unhook every other hook on her bra to make it easier on Joel. I don't think the writers really thought that one through; do you know how hard it would be to do that on those old long-line bras? The hooks on those things were so close together that undoing only every other one would be all but impossible.

But for me, there far more about the show  that's right and terrific. I'm particularly in love with her parents, and also, as others have mentioned, who would have thought Lenny Bruce as your stable and likeable recurring character?  And the actor's resemblance to Bruce is uncanny. Also, I'm 99% convinced Joel's office used to belong to Don Draper.

At first I was taken aback at the idea of  someone as  smart and savvy as Rachel thinking, even for a second, that her dismantling of Sophie Lennon was an okay thing to do. Seems like she could have disguised the details of the encounter and still made all the same points. Then it occurred to me that it could have been a very pointed commentary about today's culture of publicly shaming others, in particular celebrities, with no regard for consequence or thought about the inevitable backlash. Interesting.

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At first I was taken aback at the idea of  someone as  smart and savvy as Rachel thinking, even for a second, that her dismantling of Sophie Lennon was an okay thing to do. Seems like she could have disguised the details of the encounter and still made all the same points. Then it occurred to me that it could have been a very pointed commentary about today's culture of publicly shaming others, in particular celebrities, with no regard for consequence or thought about the inevitable backlash. Interesting.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like that was mishandled. Instead of all the "weird rich person" jokes they should have had Sophie do or say something that had us more on Midge's side. I'm not even asking for All About Eve. If Showgirls can manage it, it shouldn't be that difficult. If you think about what else we know about Sophie it's even worse. They make a big deal about her being beloved and getting people through the depression. That's like going after Little Orphan Annie or Rin Tin Tin (not the same time period, but you get the point). Weighing the perceived offense and the pros and cons there's no way this equation adds up.

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18 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Since we've been talking about it, I started thinking... would Joel be more sympathetic if he were played by a more handsome and/or charismatic actor? I'm not taking a shot at the actor they cast and I think to some extent he was either directed to do what he's doing or he's at least playing the character as written. But I've been thinking that if the goal is to have us like him more so that we would want them to get back together, maybe the casting is just off. Either way, it's too late now. 

Certainly more sympathetic. I think history shows that objectively jerky "bad boy" characters and their redemption acts often get a lot of sympathy and support from viewers when they're hot and charming. I'll admit I'm a sucker for it, anyway. (Although I'll concede that those characters usually start off at odds with their love interest and they slowly grow closer -- this is starting from a very different place). But I'm also not sure how much of this is direction/script versus the actor. He's a decent enough looking guy, but I don't see how any actor could infuse much charisma into that character. 

I think they definitely could've made him more sympathetic if he a) hadn't cheated (or hadn't cheated with someone so lame) and b) we were shown that he was pushed into a life he didn't want because of societal and family expectations. These two are only in their late 20s, aren't they? So I think a modern audience can appreciate that they might still be bumbling around trying to find their place in the adult world and that they'd make plenty of mistakes along the way. Only Joel isn't really portrayed as "figuring himself out" so much as "making pretty decisive choices then throwing a tantrum when life doesn't work out exactly way he wants it to."

Of course, that still wouldn't make up for the lack of chemistry between the two. 

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4 minutes ago, retrograde said:

I think they definitely could've made him more sympathetic if he a) hadn't cheated (or hadn't cheated with someone so lame) and b) we were shown that he was pushed into a life he didn't want because of societal and family expectations. These two are only in their late 20s, aren't they? So I think a modern audience can appreciate that they might still be bumbling around trying to find their place in the adult world and that they'd make plenty of mistakes along the way. Only Joel isn't really portrayed as "figuring himself out" so much as "making pretty decisive choices then throwing a tantrum when life doesn't work out exactly way he wants it to."

Of course, that still wouldn't make up for the lack of chemistry between the two. 

I also think they could have made him more sympathetic if they had made him more vulnerable.  When Midge first met him, he was very confident and the two of them together seemed more like two people who sort of came together through circumstance (both Jewish, both from roughly the same "class" in New York), and not two people with a really genuine affection for each other.  I think if they had shown Joel as someone who maybe wasn't so confident and maybe someone who felt he had to prove himself to Midge (which he claimed to be late in this season), I think not only would he have been more sympathetic, but also both his affair and his leaving Midge when he bombed would have made more sense.

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Ottermommy, me agreeing w/you all day long about every Joel scenario. As far as casting, I think he's supposed to be the boy next door but also very charming, a combination that makes not conventionally hunky guys hot. But the charm here is missing. I think they tried to show their early rapport, that he "got" Midge - enjoyed her hiring the chorus boys, they did some adventurous stuff together - going downtown to a strip club, I think, having sex outside under a tree, etc., having sex in the coffee shop bathroom. That he could "hang" with her and not get left behind. Didn't really buy it, though.

Rewatching this episode, I can't remember the last time I've watched a scene as effortlessly acted and perfectly pitched as the phone conversation. Midge's career is supposedly in tatters, AND they're both hungover, AND on the phone, Suzie is being doom and gloom. But the emotional pitch is absolutely perfect vis a vis the weight of the disaster of the night before. It's not overweighted. It has the right degree of lightness. Sometimes shows just make a big drama out of things that fail, and you want to say, come on. It's just a party. Or, ok, so your plan to win over your professor bombed, get some perspective! Suzy and Midge were both very engaged in their conversation, both very focused on the write-ups Suzy was reading, but also sufficiently relaxed about it that you know, what happened here? Under an assumed name, both Suzy and Midge ran afoul of an influential talent manager and are getting knocked around in the entertainment press in a not terrible way.  So it's important, but it's not earth shattering, and yet everybody is invested enough to want it to work out. The only thing I thought was overblown was the shock all of the papers seemed to feel that "Amanda Gleason" went after Sophie Lennon. Sophie Lennon has been, we're told, around for over 20 years - other entertainers would have taken a shot or two at her before, it happens to everyone. Also think they'd have focused more on her being funny as much as "oh her career is over!"

Just as a MMV thing, I think Midge is very funny in the story telling stand up way. I think she's a fabulous storytelling stand-up, and her first stand-up was classic. I totally believe people listening to it and going, "Who IS this?" and "I love this part." It had rhythm. It had timing and impact.

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I walked in on my daughter watching this show, saw Midge wearing this gorgeous dress in a courtroom and telling off a judge. After a few minutes, I knew I had to start from the beginning and I binged over this snowy weekend. What a joy but I feel it can get better or get stale depending on the script. So far, they have kept it very real and fresh and I love Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub as Abe.

I hope Joel sees her as an improved woman and more multi-dimensional and whether they get back together or not. I agree with some who posted here that her mothering is less desirable but she has said she didn't have that gene so to speak. They are always with sitters or her parents and she doesn't seem to worry about them. I felt nothing much for Joel but did feel his pain at hearing her trash their special night and seeing her shine where he failed. He was a creep but they both saw hope in reconciling. 

The only part I thought wasn't fitting the time period was having an African American makeup consultant in a high end store. In my neck of the woods, I don't recall ever seeing that until much later but I hope I'm wrong. They did send her off to Europe so she wont be around next season. All the girls were good and I wish I had such a great bunch of coworkers in my time at a store many years ago.

Anyone know when season 2 starts?

Edited by debraran
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23 hours ago, debraran said:

Anyone know when season 2 starts?

Amazon tends to leave a year between seasons, give or take a few months, so I'd expect it to be around this time next year. 

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Megan: I can't say, re GG, but the Manhattan apartment a friend grew up in (and that the Maisels' apartment reminds me of quite strongly) had a similar arrangement. The bedroom off the kitchen had its own bathroom and was my friend's bedroom while he was growing up. I think it was originally intended to be the maid's room. It's not uncommon to have a room off the kitchen, and if you need another bedroom and that's the room that's available, that's what you use it for.

aradia22: Not at all uncommon to have a 30-foot cord then, because otherwise you were stuck wherever the phone was wired in when you wanted to talk on it. The phone company would sell you the cord for a fee (which was still cheaper than paying for more extensions). After a while, stores began selling knock-off phone cords, which were a lot cheaper. If the phone company found out (because they paid a service visit and found the cord) they would confiscate it because it wasn't approved equipment.

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1 hour ago, wendyg said:

aradia22: Not at all uncommon to have a 30-foot cord then, because otherwise you were stuck wherever the phone was wired in when you wanted to talk on it. The phone company would sell you the cord for a fee (which was still cheaper than paying for more extensions). After a while, stores began selling knock-off phone cords, which were a lot cheaper. If the phone company found out (because they paid a service visit and found the cord) they would confiscate it because it wasn't approved equipment.

I'm also not surprised that a family that has that "speaker phone" would have a 30 foot phone cord....

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Not at all uncommon to have a 30-foot cord then, because otherwise you were stuck wherever the phone was wired in when you wanted to talk on it. The phone company would sell you the cord for a fee (which was still cheaper than paying for more extensions). After a while, stores began selling knock-off phone cords, which were a lot cheaper. If the phone company found out (because they paid a service visit and found the cord) they would confiscate it because it wasn't approved equipment.

wendyg, I really don't mean this to sound at all rude, but I wonder, are you are sure about the timing of that? The reason I ask is, I do remember that very long phone cords did become popular, but I really thought it was much later. I don't remember ever seeing them until the late 60s or maybe early 70s. But that could just be that I lived a sheltered life or something. I know, it's a silly nit to pick. But the show does a lot of things that seem deliberately anachronistic. I'm old enough to remember party lines and picking up the phone only to hear my neighbors calls.

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On 12/6/2017 at 4:53 PM, shron17 said:

When she gave them that name she didn't know Joel had heard her routine and still thought they might be getting back together.  But since he did I'm pretty sure his ego took a big enough hit that they won't be reconciling any time soon and quite possibly never.

Even if they divorced, she would still be Mrs. Maisel. Returning to your maiden name wasn't common when I did it in the 80's. I got a lot of shade thrown at me for that.

On 12/6/2017 at 10:15 PM, OtterMommy said:

There is something about the whole blacklisting and then getting Lenny Bruce to do a show that doesn't quite make sense to me, but whatever.  I'm glad that Midge dropped the Amanda Gleason moniker (mostly because I knew an Amanda Gleason...and she was not funny) and started using her own name.

Here's my take: Susie got Lenny to put Midge up, because then Susie was technically not disobeying her boss's order - Lenny pulled her up on stage. And, since she dropped the Amanda Gleason name - the comedian Amanda Gleason didn't step on the stage (the other part of the boss's order). So Susie was technically in the clear.

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Unpopular opinion: I quite like Joel. I think his asshole-ishness is the result of being married too young, with a growing family, and being in a job he's not in any way qualified for. Add to that the fact that his wife is brighter, talks more, and appears perfect at all times to him. She doesn't allow him to see her vulnerabilities and he feels emasculated by revealing his. I would say that is why it was easier for him to have an affair with dumb as a box of bricks Penny, and leave Midge as soon as he bombed at the Gaslight. 

I appreciated the flashbacks where we saw that they did have things in common and shared a sense of humor and literate references. 

His reaction to hearing his wife share their personal emotional and sexual history with a bunch of strangers and treat it like comedy made me think of Chris Evan's reaction during the first round of dating Jenny Slate. He was at a stand up show that she did and ended up leaving the club when she included jokes about their sex-life. It can feel like a betrayal of your most intimate self by the person you love. I'm sure Midge's parents or kids would have much the same reaction.

At least, it was clear that he finally understood that Midge was a much better stand up artist than he ever was -- but it does have to come with a certain amount of coldness.

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I'm rather sympathetic to Joel, too. He was trying to get his life right -- trying to do the right thing -- right until he heard the woman he loves mocking him in public. That shit is hard. My dad had a writer pal who writes slightly-altered versions of her personal history as the basis for her stories, and whenever I read something she's written about my dad I wince. My wife didn't like it when I used a romantic moment she had created in a book I wrote -- she thought I was stealing something that belonged to us, to her. So being with an artist is hard -- artists are almost always users and often assholes -- who take every facet of their lives, good and bad and turn it into their craft. By definition, they live on the boundaries -- of good taste, of decency, of compassion. This is what -- and why and how -- they do what they  do, how they create. But it sucks when you're on adjacent to it.  So I'm sympathetic to his reaction upon hearing and seeing it, and when you mix is that she is soooo much better than he is at something he wanted to be, I can see how soul-crusing that would be.

As a whole, I thought it was a good run. Looking forward to it coming back. 

Edited by whiporee
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