The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Thank You and Good Night
November 30, 2017 2:58 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

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.
posted by A4 (21 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really hope they make a season 2. This first season was so enjoyable.
posted by drezdn at 5:28 AM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Vulture review mentions they ordered two seasons before the first was made. Given the golden globe nominations and good press I'd say it's assured.
posted by Gary at 7:19 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

I felt like this episode paid off a lot of the Joel plot that otherwise felt kinda ... there.

I appreciate the lack of streaming bloat, but 8 episodes felt very short!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:57 PM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Good conclusion. That was probably the best possible exit for Joel after the prospect of them getting back together was raised. I was terrified he was going to ruin the set or freak out on Susie, but thankfully another asshole came along for him to vent his feelings of inadequacy. He could take the chance to come back to her and be a supporting husband who helps her career, but I don't think he's capable of that. He's too envious of her chops.

I'm torn on Midge herself. She's obviously very charming and a comedic genius, but her success depends on time after time people going out of their way to have things work for her. Her kids are almost entirely parented by grandparents, Susie continually takes enormous risks for her, and Midge doesn't even seem to acknowledge it.

I'm really hoping Season 2 (very pleased to learn there will be one) will dive into how her self-centeredness affects those around her, and gives her a chance to find balance or adapt her persona to fit both her lives. She has a habit of stealing people's thunder, like taking the opportunity to launch into a set instead of simply introducing a band (and then forgetting to do that), or being a featured speaker at a rally she only stumbled into, or monopolizing party conversations. I'm worried it may boil down to "she's awesome and everyone loves her and doesn't mind her carrying on", but as much as I hate to admit Joel having a point, when he says "You're just too much", I have an idea what he means.
posted by subocoyne at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2017 [29 favorites]

I'd love it if Joel was gone forever, but given the tropes of entertainers and their spouses, it would seem like there's a non-zero chance he tries to glom onto Midge as some kind of manager, possibly setting up a conflict/rivalry with Susie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

When Joel says "You're a lot", I interpreted it as "Your intelligence and humor threaten me". Penny is a natural reaction since she's way more subservient. I don't much care for Joel as a character, but he serves an interesting purpose plot-wise as he's her enduring connection to the follow-the-rules approach to life that she's closer and closer to abandoning completely. I'm curious to see if they continue his arc of growth which was initially motivated by Miriam rejecting his rapprochement now that he's seen her truth through the far harsher lens of her standup.
posted by Cogito at 1:32 PM on December 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

What a great conclusion to an amazing season. That ending honestly made me tear up with happiness. I really have a weakness for shows about women being amazing at their jobs, so this show has been wonderful to watch.

The Palladino screwball language works really well for the time period, too.

I'm really hoping Season 2 (very pleased to learn there will be one) will dive into how her self-centeredness affects those around her, and gives her a chance to find balance or adapt her persona to fit both her lives.

I don't know if I think that's necessary. Yes, Midge is a lot. I don't know if I'd call her self-centered so much as extremely self-driven. She has a huge sense of self and she is really driven, which both seem like essential characteristics for a woman to be successful in comedy in the 1950s. Of course, the impact on other people (like her mother) is going to be the same as self-centeredness, and I hope the show explores that, but I also hope she gets to be a bit of an anti-hero. I have a hard time believing the main lesson here will be that a driven woman in a tough career needs to be less selfish.

Of course, she's also basically a 1950s UWS Jewish housewife version of Lorelai Gilmore, so I'm pretty sure this is just who Amy Sherman Palladino likes her female protagonists to be. And it'd be a bit annoying in real life, but it's a lot of fun to watch on her TV shows.
posted by lunasol at 9:21 PM on January 1, 2018 [6 favorites]

I think I used a poor choice of terms. There was never any in-show indication that anyone around her was put out by her monopolizing social situations, and I was probably applying real-world rather than TV logic to scenes meant to show that she was a truly captivating speaker.

The scene of her being invited to introduce the band and then seguing into a routine and forgetting to introduce them I thought was an indication of some character flaw that would be explored, but in retrospect, maybe she was just super stoned.
posted by subocoyne at 1:41 PM on January 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

No, I think she's definitely self-centered, repeatedly fucks over Susie, took over Vivian's parents' anniversary party so as to give herself a fake gig, etc. But that comes as a side effect of the things that make her lovable and great.

Still, needs to stop fucking over Susie like wo.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:41 PM on January 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

I've been watching a lot of men behaving badly shows lately, and while Midge is not all warmth and emotional labour, she doesn't behave a tenth of a tenth as badly as the men on most of those shows, so I think there's a lot of gendered criticism in suggesting she just needs to be nicer and less self-centered for this to work.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:09 PM on January 14, 2018 [6 favorites]

I feel like this show took a hard turn in the Sophie Lennon episode, and I didn't really like the way the turn happened or the direction, though I know it did have to get some drama ready for the end of the season. It made me like the show less, but OTOH that made the Midge/Joel reconnection more palatable. Sure, why not!

I liked how, after all of Joel's other feelings had burned away, the thing he couldn't square with was that Midge was good at his dream career, and he wasn't. I kinda hate Joel, but that's a tough fate.
posted by fleacircus at 4:12 AM on January 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

> I don't know if I'd call her self-centered so much as extremely self-driven. She has a huge sense of self and she is really driven, which both seem like essential characteristics for a woman to be successful in comedy in the 1950s.

I think she's both self-driven and self-centered, and that's okay. I mean, it's a flaw, but people are flawed. If you are going to be able to emotionally handle the battlefield of comedy, I think you need to be both driven and self-centered enough to keep your balance despite all the failures and rejection. (See also surgeons and chefs. If you don't have the capacity to swing back around to believing in your own genius, you're gonna fall.)

> and while Midge is not all warmth and emotional labour, she doesn't behave a tenth of a tenth as badly as the men on most of those shows

That's an interesting thing for me to read, because I've been viewing the series in the context of the EXCRUCIATING catalogue of emotional labor she performs for pretty much the entirety of the first episode. I don't think you're wrong, mind you. She just does the labor as the sexist expectations of the formula for "perfect marriage" and has no concept of it in her relationship with Susie.
posted by desuetude at 7:36 AM on January 19, 2018 [13 favorites]

Just watched all eight episodes over the past four days or so. Costuming and sets are fantastic, Rachel Brosnahan is wonderful, and the show is undeniably entertaining, although the anachronistic dialogue really gets on my nerves. I'll still watch a second season if there is one, but I do hope they work on the dialogue.
posted by orange swan at 4:45 PM on March 28, 2018

We finished this last night. We definitely came away wanting more. I can’t imagine how a second season will be able follow and keep-up the delightful tone.

I did feel, though, that Joel punching out the heckler was unnecessary (and telegraphed a mile away, which was kind of disappointing in an otherwise smartly-written show.) It really didn’t serve a purpose. I was also hoping, during their argument, that Susie would tell Joel that Midge started her act by wandering into the cafe, drunk, on the night Joel left. I mean, I think it would have really been a gut punch to Joel. Instead, we got a regular old loud argument.

Great show. Anyone have a guess when we’ll see S2?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:32 AM on March 30, 2018

I'd have to agree with the selfish descriptor though she is certainly self-driven as well. But, the kids. Her mom and (mainly) her mom's cook/housekeeper (?) are taking care of these kids 100% of the time. Two very small kids that should need lots of supervision/attention, PLUS she doesn't even tell her mom what's she's up to.

And then Susie. She royally screws over Susie and Susie's main contact in the industry. With barely a thought about it. Not thinking one iota about how Susie will be affected. AND knowing the other agent would be there. (At least I think she knew) Frankly, Susie was awfully nice to her after all that. Very lucky they had a Lenny Bruce to borrow.

Next, Joel. So, he made assumptions about her wish for HIM to be a comic, despite the fact he was bad at it and gave it up, seemingly without too much heartache. Then he hears her on the record, totally freaks, quits his job, punches a guy. So, he's not interested in talking to her about it? He didn't mean all the stuff he said in his actually not too bad apology? Feels humiliated that his personal life is on display, I suppose. Some people seem to think we've seen the last of him but I don't know. I mean, I thought the show gave him too much screen time already but I am not sure his part is done.

Still, I do love this show and I love Midge and Susie and her parents. I will be very interested to see what comes next.
posted by Glinn at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2018

Just finished binging it finally, and the whole show is great. Everybody has their flaws but they're all so entertaining to watch. Midge is still immature but her wit is definitely very sharp, which describes a lot of problematic yet charismatic characters in most shows. But I can't stop watching!
posted by numaner at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2018

Honestly found it a breath of fresh air in the current television climate of grimdark.

I’m currently in the middle of watching the entire run of Mr. Robot for the first time, and it’s about as grimdark as it gets, (also really good!) but I just realized that I will probably finish it just as Season 2 of Maisel comes out, thank god. I’m gonna need that pick me up.
posted by lunasol at 5:35 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

, the thing he couldn't square with was that Midge was good at his dream career, and he wasn't.

It’s not that, exactly.

This series has been hitting me hard as a woman - a married woman - who learned all the same tricks of the trade, or at least a lot of them. That your purpose as a wife was to make your husband’s life flawlessly easy, make him feel like a prince and later a king for essentially just doing the bare minimum to get by.

So Midge staying up later and getting up earlier so that her husband never has to see her with face cream and understand the beauty he adores takes work. Her confession about the bra - man that was good - isn’t just about the bra. She’s saying “from the very first moment we met, I have been making things easier for you.” And Joel says “you think I couldn’t take it?” and he thinks it’s about the bra but it’s not. It’s about the brisket - “I’m the guy with the brisket”, it’s about the comedy career that he thinks he’s launching but she has been honing to try to advance his meager talent. And it’s about his regular career, that he can handle when he thinks he’s a Big Man but can’t when he realizes that his wife sees the places in which he is ridiculous. It’s not that she’s good at his dream career and he isn’t - it’s that it’s just another place she shines and he doesn’t, the knowledge that he has only shone through her and his parents and is literally hollow without her, that he did not and could not earn fairly a woman like Midge.
posted by corb at 1:25 PM on January 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

I've spent a lot of this first season wondering "Do I actually like this show? Or do I just appreciate all of its many strengths while also being irked by how hard a time I have suspending disbelief a lot of the time?" but the finale brought some things together pretty nicely, and I think I do like it on balance.
  • I think Abe is my favorite character on the show, mostly because he reminds me in various ways of my own grandfathers and uncles. I loved the way he momentarily loses his academic composure when Midge tells him she and Joel may be getting back together; even when he's losing his shit he's still got a kind and quietly loving way about him.
  • Joel's character reminds me a lot of Pete Campbell in Mad Men in that he's seemingly managed to drift through life and get pretty far on a combination of family connections and white male mediocrity, going through all the motions that society says he's supposed to and then having no idea what to do when he realizes he's not happy, or when he encounters an obstacle that requires active effort. But Joel's a lot more likeable than Pete Campbell (when he's not being a schmuck.)
  • At this point I'm kind of wondering why they even gave Midge's character two kids; I don't want the show to be about Midge's wacky adventures balancing a comedy career and motherhood, but as the season progressed I spent more and more of every episode thinking "so... did she send her kids to an orphanage or something?" The kids' near-total omission from the show seems very intentional and it sets up a weird tension, and I think what's bugging me is that I can't tell if that's deliberate, or if I'm just bad at suspending my disbelief.

posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2019

I still don't understand what Midge ever saw in Joel? He just makes no sense from the opening scene and every one since.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2020

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