May 18, 2020

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Early 1960s Beatniks and Breasts

Amazon Prime keeps telling me that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is wonderful, fabulous, a joyous masterpiece!  Plus there are gay characters. So I'll give it a shot.

Scene 1: A few years after "what the Jews went through" (late 1940s?)  Mrs. Maisel (Emily Price) at her wedding.  She is giving a speech about how marvelous she is, interspliced with flashbacks about her days at Bryn Mawr.
Con: Bryn Mawr is a ladies' college.  Ladies in skimpy bikinis
Pro: Her dad is Tony Shalhoub of Wings and Monk.
Pro; Her husband Joel Maisel (Michael Zegen) is attractive.
Con: He takes her to a burlesque show.  A lady dancing with her boobs hanging out.

Quick!  Fast forward!

Scene 2?: Mrs. Maisel goes to the butcher shop, cuts to the front of the line, and announces that she got the rabbi to come over for Yom Kippur.  She goes back to her ritzy Upper East Side apartment, distributes black-and-white cookies to the staff (haven't seen those since Seinfeld), and cooks a brisket (she's Jewish,I get it).  Joel calls; they discuss his attempts to break into stand-up comedy..

Late 1940s: Era of the Borscht Belt?  Henny Youngman?  "Take my wife, please?"

Scene 3: Joel tries out his routine on a client, then quickly changes clothes (no beefcake). He talks to his coworker Archie (Joel Joestone) about his gig in the Village tonight.

Scene 4:  On the way to Greenwich Village, Mrs. Maisel sees colorful charactes, including, I think, a gay couple.   The Gaslight Cafe is a huge, smoky Beatnik place where the Sixteen Tons Trio is singing (folk singers?)..  

Mrs.Maisel gives the brisket to the elderly, bearded Baz to bribe him into giving Joel a better time slot.  His act is a rip-off of one of Bob Newhart's telephone sketches (the ones that ended with Bob saying "The same to you, fella!" and hanging up).

So it's actually the early 1960s.

Meanwhile Alex (Susie Myerson)< the butch lady bartender, reads a gigantic book.  She must be the gay character.

Scene 5: On the way home, Mrs. Maisel suggests that Joel change from telling jokes to the more confessional comedy popular in the early 1960s.  Henny Youngman is over-the-hill; Lenny Bruce is where it's at.   

Scene 6: They go to bed (in pajamas...grrr.)  Sloppy kiss, no sex.Mrs.  Maisel gets up, puts on face cream, and goes back to bed, then wakes up early and washes it off (what for?  who cares?).

Scene 7: Mrs.Maisel goes to another apartmentt and talks to Rose, who has a husband, a child , and a baby.  Whoops, Rose is her mother!  And she has a baby, at her age?  Whoops, the child and baby are Mrs. Maisel's.  Where have they been all day?

Scene 8: That night, Mrs. Maisel and her friend are watching an old-fashioned late-1940s tv set and exercising.  Mrs. Maisel's legs in close-up, going up and down,up and down....

Fast foward again!

Scene 9?:  Joel is doing his revised act. Mrs. Maisel, Archie, and Archie's girl are watching.  He bombs.  

Scene 10: On the way home.  Joel is angry wth Mrs.Maisel for giving him bad advice.  

Back home:  Joel is packing to leave.  He's dumping Mrs. Maisel.  After one bad set?  Or were there other problems that I fast forwarded through while trying to avoid Mrs. Maisel's legs? 

Well, he hates his day job and he's having an affair.

Scene 11: Dad Tony Shalhoub is watching tv.  Mrs. Maisel comes in to announce that Joel left.  They are judgmental: "What did you do to drive him away?"  

Scene 12: Mrs. Maisel wanders through the empty apartment, then out into the rain (umm...where are the kids?).  She goes to the Gaslight.and starts doing confessional comedy, and is a hit.  She shows her breasts.  

Fast forward again!

Scene 13: Butch lady bartender invites Mrs. Maisel out for a drink (isn't it a little soon for her to start dating again?).  Offers to help her start her standup career. Mrs. Maisel thinks the idea is ridiculous, and leaves.  But then she remembers the notebook where she recorded ideas about Joel's act, and returns to the Gaslight

Scene 14:  A lot of people smokng, drinking, and arguing in an apartment.  Mrs. Maisel is reading.  Susie the Butch Lady Bartender is eating beans.

Scene 15: Mrs. Maisel goes to the police station and bails out Lenny Bruce (Jack Kirby!) to discuss comedy.  He says that standup comedy is terrible "It should not exist, like cancer and God."  But he loves it.  The end.

Beefcake:  Not a smidge.

Cheesecake:  Endless.  I have seen more body parts of Mrs. Maisel than of any other woman in my life.  And that is not a good thing.  If I watch this show, I'll have to fast-forward through half the scenes.

Heterosexism:  Not really.  This looks like it will be more of a Mary Tyler Moore "How can you make it on your own?" series.

Gay Characters:  Butch lady bartender, probably.

The Premise: the early 1960s comedy scene sounds interesting.

Will I continue to watch:  There will have to be a lot more hot guys and a lot fewer lady parts.  I understand that Joel remains in the cast, and there are several more male recurring characters, including Archie, Lenny Bruce, Benjamin (Zachary Levi), and Noah (Will Brill). 


  1. Is it only me or... 😏

    Rachel Brosnahan totally looks like Evan Rachel Wood?! 🤷‍♂️😃

    1. I don't know who either of those people are. Are they in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

  2. Zachary Levi is always worth watching- Did you see "Shazamm"?

  3. I thought the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" would be a magical Mary Poppins character, not a foul-mouthed 1960s stand-up comic.

    1. LOL yes it does sound like the title for Jewish version of "Bewitched"

  4. I watched the first season of this when it came out and liked it. I have a hard time committing to multi-season shows, though. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

  5. Kenny Bruce is Jack Kirby? Is mayo part of the Anti-Life Equation? (I can only ever remember "let y=n where y=hope and n=folly" and "self=Darkseid".)

    1. I'm pretty sure that's another Jack Kirby

    2. But the main thing I remember Lenny Bruce for is mayonnaise becoming the most un-hip thing ever.


No offensive, insulting, racist, or homophobic comments are permitted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...