Vulgarisms aside, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a comedy production masterpiece.
The eight-episode digital series from Amazon Prime stuns the attentive viewer with its spectacular consideration of period detail, its unending charm and wit, and its thoughtfulness in portraying the social injustices of the past, which then inform the present.
Set in 1958 in New York City, the comedy series tracks the high-energy life of Jewish housewife, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). Midge prides herself in doing everything well according the systemized standards of 1950’s living. But her perceptions of those systems are challenged when her ego-bruised, cheating husband leaves her for his secretary.
Shocked and disillusioned by this discovery, Midge ends up intoxicated and ranting at local café where her husband had been moonlighting as a comedian using Bob Newhart bits. What results is Midge’s eventual arrest (for the aforementioned vulgarity and indecent exposure) and a budding love of comedy in the midst of personal turmoil.
The producers of the show do a fantastic job of blending the comedic musing of the show with serious relationship issues that continue to be prominent in American culture. Additionally, the series both directly and indirectly addresses the unfair expectations and social mistreatment of women, issues of situational poverty, loneliness and the pressures of caring for adult children, and the joys and social harms of comedy and the comedic lifestyle.
Where The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel really shines is causing the viewer to question their own potentially absurd behaviors in their modern context. By reflecting on much of what seems to be ridiculous social mores of 60 years ago - portrayed via incredibly executed writing, directing and camera work - the audience is caused to reflect on how things have changed and how things haven’t. Thus, in the midst of being thoroughly entertained, if we are mindful, our consciences are also being shaped for the better.
The series won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Has a traumatic change in a relationship status ever changed your perception about life?
Q2. In what ways are the social systems that you are currently involved in unfair or unjust?
Q3. In what ways can comedy benefit humanity or hurt humanity?