Saturday, December 16, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017) - Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino; Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shaloub, Kevin Pollak, Luke Kirby.

By Kenny Howell

Amy Sherman-Palladino has a particular style, and she needs the right actors to pull it off.

It's why Gilmore Girls is still watched incessantly by nearly every woman in the US of A, because her writing, which has a screwball comedy esque feel to it, was handled so well by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. Sherman-Palladino is very witty and knows the pace her shows need, and she needs the right people to run with it.

And man has she found the right one in Rachel Brosnahan.

Brosnahan (Patriots Day) plays Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a 1950s upper west side perfect mother who finds herself in the standup comedy world one night when she drunkenly gets on stage and kills after her husband leaves her. He is a wannabe comedian who just does Bob Hope's act, but when he fails repeatedly on stage, he starts an affair with his dolt of a secretary and walks out on Midge and their two kids.

The club where she gets on stage, The Gaslight, is run by Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), a tough, no-nonsense hand that is instantly enamored with Midge's act. She sees enormous potential, so she decides to be her manager and help her develop her career. Midge initially thinks she can just walk back up on stage again and kill like she did the first time, but soon learns that it's a process, and Susie helps her get there. Plus, she has to battle the fact that she is a pretty housewife in a male-dominated profession in the 1950s.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is filled with wonderful moments, and they mostly come from when Midge is on stage. Brosnahan has such control and strength in those scenes that you can see her being a standup in real life. She just has that command that all great comics do, that this is her space, and you are just being allowed in to enjoy it. Her entire performance is that way, and it is the reason she has been nominated for a Golden Globe. Pairing her with the hard as nails Borstein works extremely well.

The only real drawback is that Midge is a mom, but we never see her with or caring for her kids. She is out every night, and it is just a given that her kids are taken care of during this time. Anyone who is parent knows that this is impossible, so I am interested to see if they incorporate her family life more in it in the second season.

But really, if that is the biggest complaint, then Sherman-Palladino and Brosnahan are doing quite well. They have put together something unique, a voice we don't normally see in TV, and they have set themselves up for something pretty spectacular going forward.

The entire first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is now available on Amazon.

Rating: ***1/2

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