The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2 - All Episodes
December 10, 2018 7:38 AM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

After Midge's triumph at the Gaslight, the fallout from her takedown of Sophie Lennon looms large, making her climb up the comedy ladder more challenging than ever. As the actual grind of being a comic begins to take its toll on Midge, the pressure to come clean to her family weighs on her - especially as her choices have a ripple effect on everyone around her.
posted by soren_lorensen (50 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I figured this has been out in the wild for long enough that if someone wanted to post episode-by-episode, that would have been done already.

ANYWAY, I am almost done (2 episodes left and I don't care about spoilers) and the logistics of this show continue to baffle me and I'm way overthinking them. Much as with Dexter, the fact that the main character has children is occasionally used as someone's motivation (Joel is still around because of the kids), and then at all other times, those children simply do not exist. When they arrived in the Catskills I was like... hang on, did they leave the baby at home? Where is the damn baby?! This woman has an actual infant! (I am not sure how much of my annoyance is actually envy here.) The back-and-forthing between the Upper West Side and the Catskills at a moment's notice also has me kind of scratching my head. I mean, I know it's not that far away, but it's also an era without significant highways or cars that drive real fast. And also money: The Weissmans clearly have family money, yes? (Rose omg stay in Paris, live your best life with your tiny dog.) I'm curious about how accurate the differences in what is considered "middle class" are. The Weissmans are clearly loaded but the Maisels seem to be typical small business owners with a more modest residence, but they're also up at Steiners being waited on hand and foot.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:56 AM on December 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh my God, y'all. I'm two episodes away from the end and I. AM. LIIIIIIIIIIIIVING FOR THIS! In my opinion, it's an improvement upon everything that made the first season great and it cleans up some of the squeaky bits.

-While the first season dragged at times, this one is tight.
- Characterizations seem more consistent. More real.
- I'm SO glad that the mom got to go to Paris. She was a great probably one of my favorite parts of the first season, but now she's maybe my favorite in the show!
- The Catskills episodes were so different from the ones preceding them that they felt like a completely different show, and not in a bad way! There's a lot more texture this time around for the subjects, locations, and pacing and it keeps things fresh.
- I'm disappointed that Joel is still a thing because are we really doing redemption arcs for shitty men right now, but it's been moderately interesting, if nothing else. My least favorite part of things, for sure. Although, I'm glad his parents are still in the picture.
- The episode where Susie gets chummy with the triggermen was definitely a highlight. I have a suspicion Amy Sherman-Palladino has been wanting to write gangsters for awhile.
- Speaking of Susie, never expected the plunger would become so much of a thing. When it comes around in a later episode, I lost it.
- I haven't laughed so hard, possibly in my life, as I laughed at the sunny-faced magician with a jaunty boulder hat interrupting Midge and Abe's fight on the veranda with "who wants to pick a card?" and being promptly screamed at to fuck off.
posted by Krazor at 8:00 AM on December 10, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ever since Party of Five, my wife and I refer to every disappearing child as "Owen." As in, "Oh, look, Owen's back for a plot point this week. Wonder who's been taking care of him the last six weeks."

And the Golden Age of Television needs to figure out how to separate liking an actor personally (or even having a popular breakout character) and therefore wanting to give them a steady job from actually needing them for a story. We usually refer to this as Spike (from Buffy). "Why is Joel still on this show? He's a Spike, so they have to keep finding stuff for him to do." (On iZombie they even have a Spike who is literally indistinguishable from the original Spike.) The Expanse has had to reconfigure whole characters and plot lines from the books in order to have a regular cast and set of recurring actors they can reasonably pay and keep scheduled.
posted by rikschell at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2018 [4 favorites]


More Lenny Bruce, please. Always more Lenny Bruce.

Remember this is less than 15 years after WWII ended. Jews who didn't die may have done a lot of stuff they couldn't afford (part of my family was among this group, before moving and calming the eff down). Also the Maisels had all those weird stashes of money! "Oh, the Catskills money is in the broom closet, second shelf, behind that paint can."
posted by wellred at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2018 [6 favorites]


I watched this so quickly that I know I'll need to go back and rewatch at least once, but generally I liked it just as much as the first season. It had many of the exact same problems (so many cringe-inducing moments of Midge spontaneously being the Most Interesting Person in the Room) but I loved the deepening characterizations of the parents. Paris was pretty dull for me but I'm still living for the Catskills (IMO an underutilized setting in pop culture in general).

Benjamin never really worked for me -- I thought for sure he was going to be a Confirmed Bachelor based on some of the actor's decisions during his introduction and he never really broke out of that or established good chemistry with Midge for me.

I'm a sucker for ASP's aesthetic and The Zombies and I thought the final thirty seconds were incredible.
posted by telegraph at 9:12 AM on December 10, 2018


I use Joel's woe-is-me moaning sessions as my opportunity to go to the kitchen and get a snack. It's been working for me. Because yeah, that is not at all why I'm here. I don't actually mind Joel being around--he's not terrible, and his parents are hilarious. But less of the attempted redemption arc, please.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:58 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


the logistics of this show continue to baffle me and I'm way overthinking them.

Like all the international calls these people were making in 1959? Including a COLLECT international call that would have cost like $200 in today's money? And 30 cents to continue a call at a payphone?

At least they had Midge's parents wire home to tell her they were returning to New York.

Plus... we're 1 for 2 on a Daniel Palladino script featuring a gay joke, which is sadly pretty good for him. Unless I missed one, which is possible, in which I retract my statement.

But yeah, good show. I still have half the season to watch.
posted by Automocar at 11:44 AM on December 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed this season, and binged it guilt free in a couple of days recovering from a minor surgery. Midge is the worst even as she's the best. She is so self centred. The wedding, the final episode, and yes, the kids. In one scene she and her parents all rush out of the apartment, sans enfants, saying they can't watch the children. There's a nanny somewhere I guess. When they arrive in the Catskills I was waiting for the baby to be mentioned, and finally it is, with the luggage. The baby in the drawer was the perfect representation of how the Maisel kids are treated too. She seems to be meh about Benjamin, so her choices in the final episode doesn't come as that much of a surprise. Joel was/is an idiot but she's just as bad. My opinion of him actually improved this season. Stopping traffic to propose was emblematic of these two narcissists, but they are so much fun to watch.

I liked the episodes that took us all over the place this season, from Paris to the Catskills, the road trip, and Susie's abduction. The set design and costuming are a lot of fun. I really hope someone eventually deals with the fact that Susie looks like a butch lesbian. After all, this is set at time when women were being put in jail for wearing men's clothes and therefore "impersonating a man".

The episode with the artist bothered me. I wanted her to tell him he was full of shit when he showed her the canvas. That one was too much about the myth of artistic genius for my liking, though I suppose it fits with the storyline. Lenny Bruce plays into that as well, though his character is much more well rounded. Anyway, I laughed a lot and I enjoyed season two just as much as season one. I can't wait to see what they do on the road next season.
posted by Cuke at 1:27 PM on December 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


Benjamin was overall a disappointment: I thought they were setting him up as a bit of a foil to Midge's self-centeredness as a fellow who simply didn't register her positively or negatively. Need a ride? Sure. Need some weird family drama cover? Okay, but I'm just going to read this book. You do jokes? Okay, you do you. I dug that! But then they threw that away for some love triangling only without chemistry between two of the vertices. Bad show, show: no biscuit.

Abe got two of my spikes of delight from little sympathetic rounding moments: one was smash cut into him thriving in the Paris vacation to contrast to the fish thoroughly out of water setup. The other was his baffled-angry "Oh come on, she's obviously a woman, stop trying to change the subject!" to Midge attempted joke-deflections about well-other-people-act-like-they're-confused-if-Susie's-a-man-or-woman.

Also Abe-related, the Bell Labs Secure Room buzzing-in could have been a gag that outwore its welcome in lots of other shows, but they timed it perfect with the restraint.
posted by Drastic at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm all on board with this season. And the issue with the kids didn't bother me as much as it has in some other shows (HoHH, namely). "Eh, Nanny" seems like a fine way to deal with it.

Abe was one of my favorite characters this season, most notably in Paris and in the Catskills.

I liked Benjamin, so I'm a little sad we're either going to see none of him or an ugly side of him next season.

I'm hip deep in another show right now, so I can't remember other specifics at the moment, but I'm glad to hear all of you chime in!
posted by itesser at 2:04 PM on December 10, 2018


I wanted to be able to see that painting as much as I wanted to be able to look at the book-like devices in The Man Who Fell To Earth. A lot.
posted by unliteral at 5:37 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


In my house, we actually liked Joel's redemption arc, as long as it meant he and Midge were both maturing in separate directions, away from one another.

The final scene was upsetting. Why the fuck wouldn't Benjamin be cool with Midge touring. Or, at least, why wouldn't she ask him about it? I know ASP is all about not understanding which male romantic lead people will be on-board with but really?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:30 PM on December 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


I love all the anachronistic songs they play over the credits, but especially at the end of Episode 3. The Waitresses' "Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful" is a pep talk to a young adult woman unsure of her place in the world, much like Midge.
posted by whuppy at 5:08 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh jesus Episode 3. AKA Mary's Wedding AKA the most uncomfortable thing I have ever watched AKA come the fuck on, Midge, can you really not read a room?!
posted by Navelgazer at 6:05 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


The timeline of the series is pretty short, so far. Six months ish? Despite her... weird comedic prodigy thing where she is magically a monologuist, that is not long to be a comic. Reading a room is a skill. It's extreme sure, but rookie mistake.

(I don't like Midge much, but love the series for her parents, for Suzie, for Lenny, for my gawd the incredible Astrid, etc.)
posted by wellred at 7:03 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just finished up last night and yeah I do not understand the last scene at all. At what point has Benjamin indicated that he would not be cool with Midge peacing out for 6 months to follow her dream? Wasn't the whole point of his character "look here's a guy who not only is fine with Midge's career, but supportive and totally down with it!"

I know I said that I was not here for Joel's sad panda nonsense, but I am doubleplus not here for a fucking love triangle. Stop it, show! Don't make me have to come back there! I will turn this Prime membership right around!
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:09 AM on December 11, 2018 [9 favorites]


Also, yes, Midge's inability to read a room once she gets a head of steam going seems to be a core trait. She fucks up in this way constantly. I don't actually like her much, but I do like what she represents for female representation on TV (i.e., she's difficult and irritating and self-centered, but we're still supposed to find her charming much like umpteen trillion male characters).
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:12 AM on December 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


When it comes around in a later episode, I lost it.

Just got there! PERFECT.
posted by annathea at 6:39 PM on December 11, 2018


The timeline of the series is pretty short, so far. Six months ish? Despite her... weird comedic prodigy thing where she is magically a monologuist, that is not long to be a comic. Reading a room is a skill. It's extreme sure, but rookie mistake.

I think Episode 3 is supposed to be late Spring (They head to the Catskills right after this), and she's been doing this since Yom Kippur (so, sometime in September.) I'll give them her official reason of "lost sight of the fucking line" and even the implied concept of the upper-crust liberal Jewish Princess not grokking the feel for a room full of middle-class conservative Catholics in a church. But she's going on for like two minutes or so to zero reaction except for the vicarious horror of her audience burying their heads in their hands. The first time she bombed she could tell what was happening and got off the stage faster than that.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:52 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Emily Nussbaum, whom I respect beyond most TV critics, just panned the show pretty hard, so I guess I'm going to have to downgrade it to "guilty pleasure" if I'm gonna finish the binge.

Seriously, though, the show is such eye candy and Tony Shaloub's Abe is such a delight that I can enjoy it even if I mostly agree with Ms. Nussbaum. (The only criticism that really stung was describing Midge as Sorkinesque.)
posted by whuppy at 10:44 AM on December 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


Man, I respect Nussbaum too, and usually agree with her, but that really didn't ring true with me. (Rather, it felt like we had two different reactions to the show and are likely both cherry-picking support, but whatever.)

That Midge isn't an exact tracing of Joan Rivers is on purpose and done well, I think. Midge's privilege is written all over her and almost whenever she's knocked down she wants to quit because there's the feeling that this should be very natural and easy for her. She doesn't create a tight ten out of nothing, but rather we get a months-spanning montage showing her doing so (which normally wouldn't be very televisual) and Susie's instincts and coaching are a huge part of that. We see her failures (both on-stage bombing and massive personal flaws that she's not really addressing because she's a total narcissist, if a lovable one) and we see her constantly taking Susie for granted (as well as her parents, and I guess Benjamin as well?) in ways that the end of S2 throws into the air for us to wait and see how they'll fall.

We also get why she's good, that she has preternatural poise as well as improv skills and loves loves loves milking attention. That she doesn't need to be doing this creates a great sort of tension between her and Susie (who definitely, at least until the finale, needs her to be doing this) but also allows her comedy to be as daring as it is, because she has nothing to lose as far as she's concerned and can walk away at any time.

I feel like the finale, "All Alone," was possibly the weakest episode of the season (either that or "She Made a Hat!," which was... I don't even know.) but if I can make any sense out of the ending it's her knowledge that she needs to leave her sphere of comfortable security and really stake something on this. Benjamin may support her ambitions but as long as he's doing so then Midge can always back out whenever she wants. She needs to throw her hat over the wall, in Sorkin terms, so that she can demand more from herself.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:08 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oh, and fun fact: The Legend of Lizzie did open on Broadway in 1959, but there's no way Midge and Benjamin would have seen it as the show portrays it, as it opened on February 9th and closed on Feb. 10th, with a total of 2 showings, possibly the shortest run of any show in broadway history.

In other words, there's no way they would have seen it during the Summer.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:57 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


That's funny. I had looked up the album she is carrying in The Disappointment of the Dionne Quintuplets and found the woman on Burlesque Uncensored has been changed. On the blogpost that has the original cover it finished with:
"Here is the whole performance on one track, it's kind of fun to listen to, it's also a rough recording, but I did laugh out loud a couple times. Catskills jokes still get me, hence my love for Joan Rivers."
The track is 404'd unfortunately.
posted by unliteral at 6:32 PM on December 12, 2018


I really really love this show and unwillingly binged the second season all at once, but I did have some fridge moments later.

Well, okay, not so much fridge moments because the show isn't supposed to be very plausible. To me it reads as intentionally a kind of confection and that's okay with me as long as it's funny. And it is.

I do sort of feel like Midge is a Mary Sue. Which partly goes hand-in-hand with the sugary fantasy but, still, I'd like to see some more struggle and depth in her character.

And this is generally true. The deeper characterization of Midge's mother is the sort of thing we could see with these other characters, but haven't. And it was done very low-key, letting the audience infer her history and inner-life that led to her flight to Paris. I want similar insight into several of these characters.

Nevertheless, I found that when I learned the second season was about to be released, I was more excited in anticipation than almost any other show in the last few months. I love the show.

Oh, I have to sort of work to be aware of Midge's serious flaws and it was bracing to read a lot of the criticism in this thread. All of which is correct. I think her personality type mesmerizes me or something.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:29 AM on December 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oh, boo to that article. If you want a realistic look at how terrible it was for women in that time period, go watch Mad Men. This is an ASP show.
posted by Automocar at 7:54 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


I normally enjoy Nussbaum's writing, but in this case she seems to have slipped into that unfortunate critical mode of jumping from "I don't like this thing that's popular" to "I'm going to define myself for a while by my contrarian dislike for this popular thing."

The best pushback I've seen came from Adam Serwer, who pointed out that the show essentially operates in the same spirit as a superhero show. We watch it to enjoy watching Midge win, even as we acknowledge some flaws (we also see her juggle a secret identity, and struggle against an arch-villain). "Realistic" grimness is entirely opposed to the point.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 8:19 AM on December 13, 2018 [11 favorites]


Ehhhhh, while I hear y'all on the complaints that the kids only seem to exist when they're momentarily important to the plot, I gotta say, that's not bothering me at all.

For one thing, Midge's family is stupidly rich. Rich as in, "Hey, maybe we just live in France for a while" rich and "Let's got to an all-inclusive luxury resort for two months" rich and "We have full-time staff" rich. I do not find being left to assume they could find childcare at will a tough pill to swallow.

Also--and this is maybe even more important, really--this isn't a show about her kids. It's not even a show about her relationships with her kids. Or about how her kids affect her dreams/career. I do not find the presentation of a story about a person who happens to be a parent that does not turn on their children to be hard to believe, because I am a dedicated parent with huge chunks of my life--work, certain hobbies, etc.--that don't exist to my kid.

I don't assume she's not spending time with/properly raising her kids simply because it isn't shown as a germane aspect of her burgeoning comedy career, just like I don't assume she doesn't poop or call her favorite Aunt on the phone every Sunday simply because those are not shown either.

I do expect that the kids will factor in at some point, though. That's kind of how real kids work, too. They get older, they develop personalities and opinions and they end up more and more deeply incorporated into the farther reaches of your life.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:28 AM on December 13, 2018 [12 favorites]


For me, the best part of this season is that it picks up from last season still going slowly, with Midge still paying her dues. I'd assumed we'd get a fast forward and Season 2 would start with her as a club headliner, or at the least a noted up-and-comer.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:29 AM on December 13, 2018


ALTHOUGH... the scene where she was at the wedding and couldn't "turn off" her comedy mind could have been replaced relatively seamlessly--and maybe improved upon--if she'd ruined one of her kid's birthday parties instead of a co-worker's wedding.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:37 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


Comrade Doll: "Whoa. Benjamin is Chuck? He looks like a superhero now."

So then I had to show her the trailer for Shazam. Because Zach Levi is a superhero now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


At what point has Benjamin indicated that he would not be cool with Midge peacing out for 6 months to follow her dream?


I think maybe it's more that she forgot Benjamin even existed, just like that?
posted by zeek321 at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


(And she knew it, or realized it, in a rare moment of self-awareness?)
posted by zeek321 at 5:52 PM on December 14, 2018


(And then generalized and extrapolated a bit.)
posted by zeek321 at 5:52 PM on December 14, 2018


I devoured the season and thought it was mostly very strong. Much tighter than last season and it had a coherent storyline. I am starting to find Midge’s father annoying (abusive?) and Joel redeemed himself for me with his dogged enthusiasm for fixing his parents business and rescuing Suzie and Midge from that jerk club owner.

I watch the show for Midge, and I just want to see her progress in her career, so I want more comedy, more clubs, more progress - and this season delivers that, but maybe with still a bit more distractions than I liked. The whole scene with the doomed artist was ridiculous. Suzie and Joel are entertaining to me, but the Paris trip didn’t do much for me.

One logistics detail that is really bothering me though... aren’t Midge and Joel still married? I don’t know how she can be planning to get married again without taking care of that.

I also think Joel will end up being her manager. I like that he defended her repeatedly through this whole season and seems to honestly think she is incredibly talented. That said, Ben is a way better person and I wish she would decide to go back to him after tour.

When does Season 3 drop?!
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:58 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I binged it over a few days and enjoyed it. I wonder if they have anyone go over the script for anachronisms.
My dialogue anachronism detector went off a few times. Using the Google Ngram Viewer:

micromanage - first appearance in 1974. (Used in the scene when the Midge and Rose are packing for the Catskills.)
font - not a well known term then. The older ngram existence is likely due to usages like "font of wisdom". It only starts peaking after 1980 and the common use of word processors. The more likely term would have been typeface. (Used when talking about the camp's newsletter.)
slam dunk - first noted usage is 1958, but really didn't take off until after 1970.
posted by ShooBoo at 11:22 AM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


The actor who plays Lenny Bruce-- I've seen him in so many things, from Slings & Arrows to Rectify, but as Lenny Bruce he's suddenly got that charisma that neither he nor the real Bruce had on their own. Just whoa, man. It's enough to ignore convenient French translators for.
posted by provoliminal at 4:37 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


She Made a Hat: Why the hell does Midge not wait until EVERYBODY HAS THEIR FOOD to tell them this important and aggravating news?

Maybe this is addressed later, but why don't they just give Esther to Astrid?
posted by permiechickie at 5:19 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I loved the episode with the artist only because it was pretty funny to see Obergruppenführer Smith being totally out of character.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:26 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed the first season but was pretty underwhelmed with this one. I even saved it to binge over the holidays but just ... meh. It felt directionless a lot of the time, and that wouldn't usually bother me if there's enough fun stuff to watch, but it got sort of grating for me.

Also, um, are they actually ever going to make Susie canonically gay? I know it's the 50s but she lives in the West Village!
posted by lunasol at 8:58 PM on January 3


As for all the love triangle stuff with Benjamin, I'm pretty sure the show intends for midge and Joel to get back together, if only because the title of the show is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and though the complications of a divorced woman calling herself by her former title would be on-point for the time period, I think the hint is that Joel is a better partner for her, if not an especially good man.
posted by xingcat at 6:45 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


The timeline of the series is pretty short, so far. Six months ish?

In the episode with the artist Midge mentions several times that it is exactly one year since the events of the pilot episode.
posted by seasparrow at 9:57 PM on January 10


Zach Levi and Rachel Brosnahan would be perfect in a Thin Man reboot. Change my mind.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 10:03 AM on January 14


So is the something Susie needs to tell Midge that she accepted Sophie’s offer?
posted by corb at 12:18 PM on January 16


"So is the something Susie needs to tell Midge that she accepted Sophie’s offer?"

I can only assume so, and her reluctance to do so must mean there was something attached to it that Midge won't like.

and speaking of not liking: here's my comment on something about this show that I don't like. Chekhov's Guns, just everywhere, never going off. This show makes me so anxious with how frequently it signifies something as important that never turns out to be.

One example episode from this season is the one where they go on the road.
- a big deal is made about the license plate and the fact that the car is stolen. We are given a shot of the plate falling off as they drive away. Nothing happens.
- Suzie's leg hurts. It's brought up I think three times. What's wrong with Suzie? Apparently the only reason to mention the hurt leg was just that she didn't want to drive, and apparently the only reason she didn't want to drive is that the writers wanted to show that Midge didn't know how to drive? We could have cut all the leg business out and just had Midge return to find Suzie in the passenger's seat.
- At the motel the luggage is left downstairs. Long ominous discussion about having to get the bags by herself and the character at the front desk and it's nighttime and ... nothing happens, it's just another reason to show Midge's privilege / status.
- There's a fire which ... just ... was a fire?
- Suzie says "don't leave the tape recorder!" and we're given a shot of Midge deliberately leaving the tape recorder and halfheartedly attempting to conceal it with a coat. Then they come back to ... the coat, and the tape recorder with nothing wrong*.

I mean I get it, the show's supposed to be a comedy for the most part, I guess? But there are so. many. times. that the show says "gaze carefully at this significant thing! and wait for tragedy to happen!" and it doesn't, and it's really offputting to me sometimes.

but clearly not enough for me to have stopped watching the show.

* I will give the writers this - they do sometimes bring stuff up episodes later, like Abe finding out about Midge's arrests and not saying anything for in-show weeks (months?) so maybe this tape got stolen, no one realized, and we'll find out in S03 when there's a bootleg going around or something. BUT STILL.
posted by komara at 1:51 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


I've been pretty disappointed by Sherman-Palladino's treatment of the Maisels. The basic setup of Jewish in American shortly after the war, flourishing family business in the garment industry, trying to get his son out of the garment industry...there is a fascinating and sympathetic story there, but instead we just get cheap shots at how coarse and greedy and noveau riche they are. I think I'm supposed to laugh at them, but mostly I just cringe at how they are being treated.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:21 AM on January 27


Also, I really liked Joel during that crazy collect call from Paris.

We know that Joel really wants to get back together with Miriam, in the most abjectly self-pitying way possible. So now here she is offering him what he wants, and he has the insight and honesty to know and say that it wouldn't work. It would be better if he could be okay with marrying a comic. Given that he isn't, this is about as well as I can imagine anyone handling that conversation.

And I have a lot of sympathy for not wanting to marry a comic. I'm a pretty private person. One of the great things about family, close friends, and, yes, marriage is the ability to let my guard down, secure in the knowledge that I will be forgiven the occasional moments of idiocy that we all suffer. I too would not be able to have a marital level of sincerity and candor with someone whom I knew would later invite the entire eastern seaboard to laugh at me, however well-deservedly.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:56 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Well, I enjoyed it, it was visually delightful, and the season was a nice break from all the grimdark TV. That said, mark me down as also baffled and annoyed by why Miriam would go back to Joel in the end; Ben is expressly set up as The Guy Who Likes Her Being the Star and Joel is not. If she decided she wanted to be single, fine, but going back to the guy who is incompatible with the thing Midge just said was the driving passion of her life left a bad taste in my mouth for the end of the season.

Also, giving Suzie other stuff to do besides follow Midge around would be nice, so hopefully we get that when she takes on managing Sophie.
posted by tautological at 6:14 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I don't actually like her much, but I do like what she represents for female representation on TV (i.e., she's difficult and irritating and self-centered, but we're still supposed to find her charming much like umpteen trillion male characters).
Thank you for putting your finger on why I'm so ambivalent about this show; the production is beautiful, the dialog is snappy, the performances are great, but I keep waiting for there to be any meaningful fall-out for Midge's self-centered, impulsive decisions and there's just.... nothing. When I saw the title of the finale was "All Alone" I wondered if they were actually going to blow everything up... Have Abe kick her out of the apartment for screwing up his Bell Labs gig, have Imogene tell her off, have a big falling out with Susie, which seemed possible after their tensions on the road, have Joel turn against her, anything. But, no... it looks like she gets to ditch her kids/family for six months with no consequences beyond people rolling their eyes and saying "That's our Midge!"
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 6:01 AM on June 15


Well, I just finished binging both seasons, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Who knows what black magic this is, because I’m also fully aware of all the flaws mentioned above: Midge’s monstrously self-centred approach to life (oh god the wedding toast, mr. hgg and I were both shrieking “Agh, Midge, shut up!” through the whole thing) and the weird Chekov’s guns of the lost license plate from the stolen car and Susie’s painful leg. But those Catskills episodes! They were a dream of production design and pure wish fulfillment fantasy. Gorgeous.

I love Luke Kirby’s portrayal of Lenny Bruce. He’s just charisma on legs and I sort of wish he and Midge would get together, but that would be a little problematic since he’s a real actual historical figure. That “All Alone” scene was so good, I watched the original afterward and was impressed at how closely they followed it while allowing Kirby to do his own interpretation of it.

I will definitely watch the third season, but I fear there will be a surprise pregnancy storyline stemming from Midge and Joel’s night together at the end of season 2. I have personal reasons for disliking surprise pregnancy storylines in TV shows, but aside from that they seem lazy and cheap to me. (That Zombies song, though, makes the Midge/Joel reunion almost forgivable.) There was so much foreshadowing of a future Midge pregnancy in this episode: Midge cooing over Imogene’s new baby, Imogene coaxing her to have another one with Benjamin ASAP so they can do strollers together in the park, Midge saying to Joel she has realized by saying yes to the Europe tour with Shy Baldwin she will never have “three before thirty.” Talk about Chekov’s gun! (Mind you, I just finished talking about all the Chekov’s guns that never go off...)

My prediction is: Midge goes to Europe, starts having morning sickness or the like, realizes she’s pregnant, struggles with whether to tell Joel or have an abortion in Europe. If she decides to keep the baby, she’ll appear onstage visibly pregnant which will shock and delight her audiences and she will daringly make pregnancy talk part of her act. If she decides to have an abortion I will be amazed, but impressed with the writers because that would be a bold move and kind of tonally jarring for this show.

I guess we will see!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:58 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


The Catskills episodes were filmed at Scott's Oquaga Lake House. Back in the 1980s this resort turned down a request to be the prime location for a film which was based on the summer experiences of its screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein (because they were too busy). That film was Dirty Dancing - and it is fun to think of the two plot lines overlapping in a parallel universe. You can stay there - or get married even - not sure whether you should carry a plunger or a watermelon.

Additionally : a shout out to all the music used in Season 2 -collected here.
posted by rongorongo at 10:27 PM on December 10


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