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S01.E07: Put That On Your Plate!

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On December 2, 2017 at 9:14 PM, aradia22 said:

That takedown of Sophie was really uncalled for and weird. The idea that her feminist diatribe would get that kind of response in the 50's, even in the village... is a bit ludicrous. The idea that Midge would even be that offended by Sophie is weird. A couple of episodes/months ago she was running to the bathroom every morning and night so her husband wouldn't see her without makeup.

I think THAT is why Midge took Sophie down.  She's tired of the bullshit, the lies.  To me, this is a show about masks and facades.  How can you be married to a person if they don't know what you look like sans make up?  Midge was taught to appear perfect, but appearing perfect only makes everybody uncomfortable, makes people feel not good enough.  You can't be intimate with someone if you can't get emotionally naked in front of them.  

I felt that Midge saw Sophie and at first she thought she was real, but when she saw the real Sophie, she was shocked.  Sophie wasn't anything close to her stage persona; it's the equivalent of someone wearing blackface and when you see them in real life, you realize they're not black.  What Sophie did felt insulting to Midge, "why can't you be funny as you?"  Why does a woman have to become a character to be acceptable?  So I didn't mind Midge taking Sophie down at all.

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On 12/16/2017 at 3:57 AM, Quilt Fairy said:

I'm no expert, but it seems as if the Gaslight Club is a pretty low-rent establishment in Greenwich Village.  The performers aren't even getting paid unless they pass the hat after their set.  It seems closer to what we call an "open mike night" today, with some people getting up from the audience to perform.  In that spirit, the interaction with the audience feels authentic.  And at some point around that time period, women were in fact getting fed up with bras, corsets and girdles, because 10 years later when I was in high school we still had bras, but corsets were gone and girdles were dying a slow death. (Although my mother still wore a girdle on special occasions because she said she liked the extra support it provided. )

I just want Joel to see a good dermatologist and get that "thing" removed from below his left eye.  It's incredibly distracting.

I want him to also see an orthodontist.

On 12/4/2017 at 9:44 PM, Dminches said:

It was unprofessional for Midge to turn on Sophie.  Just not a smart move.  People in the profession should not throw each other under the bus.  The routine was funny but in the end it wasn’t wise.

People in the entertainment business never turn on each other. You never know when you may need to call in a favor. Sad, but true. Actors gave Roman Polanski a standing ovation at an awards show and adore Woody Allen. It has to be heinous for the industry to turn on them. It only happened recently with Weinstein and that was only because someone didn't care about burning bridges. And they still seem to adore Woody and Roman.

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I'm enjoying this show but there are many things that do not ring true - anachronisms AND things that make no sense in Jewish families of the time like Midge and Joel's. #1 on my list - no Jewish family would evict their daughter-in-law and GRANDCHILDREN from their apartment.  Joel's parents would keep them there, if for no other reason than to keep those grandchildren close to them.  It's unrealistic that it looks like they haven't seen their grandchildren since Joel left.  Mr. Lady Lucy have a running commentary about "no Jewish family would . . .!"

Without getting too much into it, when my grandfather and grandmother divorced in 1960, my great grandmother, who was wealthy, made all sorts of promises to her daughter in law (my grandmother) about how she was going to help her  and her children find a home of their own, which she would help pay for, to make up for what a terrible husband and father her son had been.  Long story, short, the "help" never came and my grandmother and her children had to move in with her mother for about two years until my grandmother remarried.  And no, the help not coming had nothing to do with my great grandmother not having the money to back up her promises.  She had the funds.  Everyone in my story is Jewish.  My only point being that Jewish families are just as capable as anyone else of doing crappy things to one another.   

Edited by txhorns79
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On 12/10/2017 at 3:31 PM, wendyg said:

"Sophie" appeared to me to aiming at a cross between Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. Diller in particular with those horse laughs between gags. There is a *great* book called WE KILLED, by Yael Cohen, about the rise of female comedians. (Actually, the book is a lot more fun than this show.) Having read that, for me there's a big reason why Midge Maisel would be struggling a lot more than she is: she's too pretty and too well-dressed. Diller talked in that book about the fact that she actually had quite a nice body, but that people wouldn't laugh if she showed it off. Hence the sack-like clothes she wore and the fright wig.

Elaine May did quite alright despite being gorgeous and well put together. Joan Rivers also may not have ever been a traditional knockout, although she was very cute, but she was always well put together when she did shows. Diller was the first and in some ways she was adhering to old standards that came out of vaudeville. But the ones who followed very quickly on her heels didn't do that. Including Joan, who Midge is loosely based on.

And Sophie referenced that outdated advice when she said it was a problem that men want to sleep with Midge not laugh with her.

I think Sophie's on-stage persona was very Totie Fields. Totie's real name was Sophie. Diller had the wacky look but her act wasn't really that schlocky. There is also a Minnie Pearl aspect with the Depression part. That she felt the pressure to change herself was all Diller.

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Reading the comparisons between Midge and Joan Rivers made me look for some of her stuff up on Youtube. Maybe I just chose the wrong clips, but I wasn't impressed. I found myself wishing that she had a Susie to tell her to wait out the laughs or whatever exact wording was used. She just kind of went to the next joke before even finishing the one she was telling.

I think Midge's overall arc is based very much on Joan Rivers. I don't think much of her act is. I suppose the Sophie take down is something Joan would do but not until a little later in her career when she was established. And even then I think the things she would criticize would be very different from what Midge did. She would never have done to Phyllis Diller what Midge did to Sophie, though.

Joan's early stuff was very self-deprecating. And Midge never really is. Midge is also usually not mean just honest (although Joan doesn't get mean until the late 70s.) Midge is really too confident and secure in herself to be based on any one female comic of the time. But I actually think the way she carries herself is most like Elaine May as is her dry wit. Even though they explicitly rejected her going down that path it would have been a natural one for her.

Edited by CherithCutestory
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What shocked me about the Sophie takedown was that Midge was revealing things that Sophie had purposely concealed for professional reasons. Remember Midge expressed surprise and said she'd never seen a photo of the real Sophie, and Sophie said something about how she handled her publicity. I felt it was unprofessional as well as borderline unethical. Yes, Sophie was condescending to her, and giving unpalatable, probably old-fashioned advice. It still IMO doesn't justify blowing her cover that way.

Besides being massively unfair to Susie. And stupid - she knew Harry was sitting in the audience. Harry, the guy who was giving her that gig?

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I agree that Midge should've had more sense than to take down Sophie. So Sophie dissed her for eating a cookie---bfd. Midge's take down was immature and unethical and petty. It makes me like the character a whole lot less. I'll keep watching, for the mid-century awesomeness of the sets and clothes, but I've lost most interest in Midge.  I love so many of the other characters and actors that I can disengage from the main character.

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We've seen Midge be impulsive and off the cuff on stage before, but boy, did she shoot herself in the foot when she spilled Sophie's secrets. She has already made some questionable choices during her act in the past and even in the first episode I felt like she was revealing too much when she said Penny Pann's name. I totally get that she was drunk and upset and reeling from the news that Joel was leaving her for his dim witted secretary, but as soon as she said Penny full name into the microphone, I was like ooh, girl, that's a bad idea! Then in S1.E6 we saw the two guys who Susie introduced Midge to had a RECORDING of her saying Penny's name. That is going to bite her in the ass. In one of her previous appearances, she also told everyone in the audience where she worked. Maybe I am using my modern day logic/paranoia here, but dude, that's just an invitation for a stalker to come find you!

I know we're supposed to think that Joel is this martyr for accepting a job that will take him to a state that he hates so that he can provide child support for his kids, but to me that is the first non-selfish thing he's done in seven episodes so all I could think was it's about freaking time. He cheated on his adoring supportive wife FOR MONTHS and then abandoned her and their children. The least he could fucking do at this point is to shoulder the responsibility of wrecking his marriage and leaving his kids with nowhere to live but Midge's parents' place. He has a perfectly good job so even if he ends up not getting this promotion, it's not unreasonable that he should support his children financially.

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3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

aybe I am using my modern day logic/paranoia here, but dude, that's just an invitation for a stalker to come find you!

Dear Writers, please don't go there (where Midge is the object of a villain's stalker porn fantasies). Just let these be illustrations of how things were before social media and ambulanceslander chasing lawyers.

 

3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

know we're supposed to think that Joel is this martyr for accepting a job that will take him to a state that he hates so that he can provide child support for his kids, but to me that is the first non-selfish thing he's done in seven episodes so all I could think was it's about freaking time. He cheated on his adoring supportive wife FOR MONTHS and then abandoned her and their children.…

Oh, I think Joel's selfish streak would remain unbroken at least all the way to California. He's probably imaging a rich feeding ground of gorgeous young child-free starlets and no daily fatherhood responsibilities.

Edited by shapeshifter
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On 1/20/2018 at 11:47 PM, peggy06 said:

What shocked me about the Sophie takedown was that Midge was revealing things that Sophie had purposely concealed for professional reasons. Remember Midge expressed surprise and said she'd never seen a photo of the real Sophie, and Sophie said something about how she handled her publicity. I felt it was unprofessional as well as borderline unethical. 

THIS!  I felt that there was an unofficial non disclosure agreement with Midge because Sophie revealed her true self.  Even if Sophie was condescending, she was giving Midge her break and is powerful enough to stop Midge's career before it started.  I was half expecting Sophie not to like Midge because she's so cute.

On another note, didn't Suzie tell Midge who would be in the audience?  They seemed to have a very firm understanding of her tight ten.  

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I just watched this episode and just have to say that the beautiful synagogue the Maisels attend is the East Midwood Jewish Center in Brooklyn, where I attended school and had my Bat Mitzvah. I was so thrilled to see it. Such a gorgeous sanctuary.

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A number of posts about women in the workforce, and women as objects/beneficiaries/victims of marketing, were moved to the Marvelous Milieu topic. The episode topics are reserved for discussion of the episode and, briefly, direct context. Thanks!

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