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S01.E08: Thank You and Good Night

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Abe alphabetizing his books reminded me of Rob in High Fidelity reorganizing his record collection after his girlfriend left him. But Abe's reaction to Midge possibly getting back together with Joel was ridiculous. First of all, it's not his decision to make. Secondly, he's acting like it's her fault that their marriage was a disaster. Why not blame Joel for cheating on her and leaving his family? How is it Midge's fault that he betrayed her and abandoned her? No one should be expected to happily take back a spouse like that, especially right after it happened. I know attitudes were different 60 years ago, but it was still annoying to hear him tell Midge the same night that Joel confessed to cheating on her and then packed a suitcase that she should put in her face and get her husband back.

What also annoyed me about Abe's rant was that hs was blaming Midge for the state of his marriage. Sorry, buddy. That may have been the catalyst but it was still his decision to keep that information from Rose. If he wants to fix his marriage, being a doormat isn't the way to go. Yes, she has a right to be upset that her husband kept a secret from her, but what they are doing now (the silent treatment and building a fort out of books) isn't going to fix anything. Regardless of Midge's choice not to take Joel back a few months ago, she is not responsible for the stat of her parents' marriage.

When Penny showed up at Midge's work just to make a scene and call her a tramp, I wished that Midge's response would have been, "You're the tramp who slept with MY HUSBAND!"

As soon as Midge mentioned the name of the record shop to Joel, I was just waiting for him to go there and hear what she said the night that he left her. Then again, I thought that Abe would find out that she had been arrested for showing her tits and that never happened so I was kind of hoping that it would be a red herring. I guess I should just be glad that Joel didn't hear the whole recording.

I was surprised that Joel quit his job after hearing just a snippet of Midge's set at the record store. I couldn't tell if he was jealous that she was doing what he had wanted to do or if he was embarrassed that she was talking about him by name. Since he quit his job, I thought it was a sign that he was going to pursue comedy full time (and I was trying to figure out how he was going to pay for any aspect of his life without a job), but then I saw his drunken fight with Susie. He went from the "I love you and I'll do anything you want" pillow talk at the beginning of the episode to "SUSIE is breaking up our family!" Apparently he still can't take responsibility for his choices. Joel is just an innocent victim in all this - at least according to Joel. I was so glad when Susie pointed out that she wasn't the one who fucked his secretary. Susie's biggest mistake was not throwing Joel out. Loved how well Midge dealt with the heckler.

I had the teeniest bit of sympathy for Joel was he was watching Midge's set at the club because no matter what terrible things he did to her, it can't be easy to hear your dirty laundry being aired in public. That said, I think she has every right to use it in her material. The things that she described while he was listening happened TO her. She didn't cause any of those things to happen (Joel having an affair with his much younger and dim witted secretary, said secretary showing up at Midge's place of work to accuse her of being a vindictive tramp because she had the gall to sleep with her own husband, etc.).

I love the way Lenny Bruce is being portrayed on the show. Even though he hasn't had a ton of screen time over the course of the season, we have been given a good sense of his character and he isn't one note.

Why didn't I think to hire professional dancers to perform at my wedding? Honestly when they first appeared, I thought it was just typical Glee type hijinks where OF COURSE these people can dance, so when Midge said she had hired some Broadway dancers, I just laughed.

On a shallow note, I'm glad that the show finally gave us a bunch of specific timeline details in this episode: it's December 1958, Ethan just turned four, and Joel left three months ago. We also know from the pilot that Midge and Joel were married for four years when he left (and in this episode when Joel was climbing out her bedroom window, he said it seemed bigger five years ago when he snuck out the week before their wedding) and she said in this episode that the wedding had a Russian winter wonderland theme, so I'm going to assume that they got married in the first month or so of 1954. In the previous episode, we learned that Joel had his bat mitzvah in 1943 which means he was born in 1930, so now we know that he's 28 (which means he got married when he was 23/24).

I have loved just about everything that Midge has worn throughout the season, but that black dress at the end of this episode was so perfect!

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I'm bummed that ASP still seems to be convinced that a dude punching out another dude, even (or perhaps especially) if it's to protect his lady's "honor," is a romantic gesture of love.

Yeah, I'm with you on that. I am choosing to believe that Joel was angry and frustrated and he just needed to punch somebody.

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Joel is a weenie. Much like Christopher in GG, Joel is not a bad person but he lacks spine. 

I think he's a pretty terrible person for having an affair with his secretary for months and then leaving Midge after he had a bad set at the Gaslight.

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11 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Loved how well Midge dealt with the heckler.

I like to think she was rehearsing for that moment (her heckler retort) her whole life everytime she dealt with something like her father telling her to go get her philandering husband back or like Penny Pan calling her a tramp for having sex with her own husband. As an educated, clever, and also attractive young woman of the 50s, she was "Damned if you do and damned if you don't" and had figured she might as well always take the path of doing.

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On 12/1/2017 at 10:07 PM, Megan said:

Weird that Midge's bedroom is right off the kitchen... an odd layout also on GG. I wonder why.

We had an older Victorian house (though it wasn't a cute NYC apartment) and we had bedrooms right off the kitchen- it was so weird but I think that's was normal back then.  

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My mom's old home in the 40's had a bedroom off the kitchen, just they way they broke it up and sometimes with richer apartments/homes, it was the maids quarters.

My capecod home growing up had me off the kitchen but it later became a dining room (and wall was knocked down) when I moved upstairs and my sister moved out. Some neighbors used it that way but it was because 3 bedrooms sometimes weren't enough with larger families.

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My daughter's NYC apartment in a building dating back several centuries (not landline-able) only has a bedroom and a kitchen with a bathroom carved out of the kitchen, but it was originally part of another apartment, so it's hard to say whether there was originally a bed or other room off the kitchen—point being that in buildings built from the 1600-1800s, the original purpose of rooms is not always going to be known, and a bedroom off the kitchen was probably common in 1958. 

In 1930s Brooklyn, as a child, my father slept on the living room couch in a two bedroom apartment occupied by his family of three adults and five children. I wonder if most couches/sofas originally functioned as beds at night. The Maisels do not have to use their couch as a bed, which Susie might find luxurious. I don't recall. Does Susie have a couch? Of course, if Susie does have a couch, it probably also serves as a guest room for temporarily homeless acquaintances.

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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

My daughter's NYC apartment in a building dating back several centuries (not landline-able) only has a bedroom and a kitchen with a bathroom carved out of the kitchen, but it was originally part of another apartment, so it's hard to say whether there was originally a bed or other room off the kitchen—point being that in buildings built from the 1600-1800s, the original purpose of rooms is not always going to be known, and a bedroom off the kitchen was probably common in 1958. 

In 1930s Brooklyn, as a child, my father slept on the living room couch in a two bedroom apartment occupied by his family of three adults and five children. I wonder if most couches/sofas originally functioned as beds at night. The Maisels do not have to use their couch as a bed, which Susie might find luxurious. I don't recall. Does Susie have a couch? Of course, if Susie does have a couch, it probably also serves as a guest room for temporarily homeless acquaintances. 

I think all Susie had was a Murphy bed, which flips down from the wall.

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On 2/18/2018 at 10:40 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Abe alphabetizing his books reminded me of Rob in High Fidelity reorganizing his record collection after his girlfriend left him. But Abe's reaction to Midge possibly getting back together with Joel was ridiculous. First of all, it's not his decision to make. Secondly, he's acting like it's her fault that their marriage was a disaster. Why not blame Joel for cheating on her and leaving his family? How is it Midge's fault that he betrayed her and abandoned her? No one should be expected to happily take back a spouse like that, especially right after it happened. I know attitudes were different 60 years ago, but it was still annoying to hear him tell Midge the same night that Joel confessed to cheating on her and then packed a suitcase that she should put in her face and get her husband back.

What also annoyed me about Abe's rant was that hs was blaming Midge for the state of his marriage. Sorry, buddy. That may have been the catalyst but it was still his decision to keep that information from Rose. If he wants to fix his marriage, being a doormat isn't the way to go. Yes, she has a right to be upset that her husband kept a secret from her, but what they are doing now (the silent treatment and building a fort out of books) isn't going to fix anything. Regardless of Midge's choice not to take Joel back a few months ago, she is not responsible for the stat of her parents' marriage.

When Penny showed up at Midge's work just to make a scene and call her a tramp, I wished that Midge's response would have been, "You're the tramp who slept with MY HUSBAND!"

As soon as Midge mentioned the name of the record shop to Joel, I was just waiting for him to go there and hear what she said the night that he left her. Then again, I thought that Abe would find out that she had been arrested for showing her tits and that never happened so I was kind of hoping that it would be a red herring. I guess I should just be glad that Joel didn't hear the whole recording.

I was surprised that Joel quit his job after hearing just a snippet of Midge's set at the record store. I couldn't tell if he was jealous that she was doing what he had wanted to do or if he was embarrassed that she was talking about him by name. Since he quit his job, I thought it was a sign that he was going to pursue comedy full time (and I was trying to figure out how he was going to pay for any aspect of his life without a job), but then I saw his drunken fight with Susie. He went from the "I love you and I'll do anything you want" pillow talk at the beginning of the episode to "SUSIE is breaking up our family!" Apparently he still can't take responsibility for his choices. Joel is just an innocent victim in all this - at least according to Joel. I was so glad when Susie pointed out that she wasn't the one who fucked his secretary. Susie's biggest mistake was not throwing Joel out. Loved how well Midge dealt with the heckler.

I had the teeniest bit of sympathy for Joel was he was watching Midge's set at the club because no matter what terrible things he did to her, it can't be easy to hear your dirty laundry being aired in public. That said, I think she has every right to use it in her material. The things that she described while he was listening happened TO her. She didn't cause any of those things to happen (Joel having an affair with his much younger and dim witted secretary, said secretary showing up at Midge's place of work to accuse her of being a vindictive tramp because she had the gall to sleep with her own husband, etc.).

I love the way Lenny Bruce is being portrayed on the show. Even though he hasn't had a ton of screen time over the course of the season, we have been given a good sense of his character and he isn't one note.

Why didn't I think to hire professional dancers to perform at my wedding? Honestly when they first appeared, I thought it was just typical Glee type hijinks where OF COURSE these people can dance, so when Midge said she had hired some Broadway dancers, I just laughed.

On a shallow note, I'm glad that the show finally gave us a bunch of specific timeline details in this episode: it's December 1958, Ethan just turned four, and Joel left three months ago. We also know from the pilot that Midge and Joel were married for four years when he left (and in this episode when Joel was climbing out her bedroom window, he said it seemed bigger five years ago when he snuck out the week before their wedding) and she said in this episode that the wedding had a Russian winter wonderland theme, so I'm going to assume that they got married in the first month or so of 1954. In the previous episode, we learned that Joel had his bat mitzvah in 1943 which means he was born in 1930, so now we know that he's 28 (which means he got married when he was 23/24).

I have loved just about everything that Midge has worn throughout the season, but that black dress at the end of this episode was so perfect!

Yeah, I'm with you on that. I am choosing to believe that Joel was angry and frustrated and he just needed to punch somebody.

I think he's a pretty terrible person for having an affair with his secretary for months and then leaving Midge after he had a bad set at the Gaslight.

 

On 2/18/2018 at 10:32 PM, shapeshifter said:

I like to think she was rehearsing for that moment (her heckler retort) her whole life everytime she dealt with something like her father telling her to go get her philandering husband back or like Penny Pan calling her a tramp for having sex with her own husband. As an educated, clever, and also attractive young woman of the 50s, she was "Damned if you do and damned if you don't" and had figured she might as well always take the path of doing.

What the hell was that!!!! Penny goes down to her work and almost gets her fired, when she was the one having an affair with a married man for months.  I guess we were supposed to find it funny and proof that Penny was dumb and how superior Midge was to her in every way, but it just made me hate Joel more.

Oh, and Joel does not have to worry about supporting himself as a comedian, Mommy and Daddy will take care of him forever. His parents are rough and tumble characters who made good, by hard work and shrewdness.  They want their son to be able to fit in with the upper intellectual and monied classes (people like Midge's parents), so they are more then happy to make a spoiled soft princeling.  They are overjoyed that they can spoil him and also that he can never really go out on his own, because he will always be dependent on them to some degree.

I think that is also part of the reason they rejected Penny Pan.  They realized what a comedown she was to Midge.

Edited by qtpye
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My coworker got me hooked on this show.  We were talking about this episode and had a difference of opinion.  Have Midge/Joel come back together? I think that this was a one-time thing- especially when Midge used it as fodder for her comedy performance.  I think Joel will never really be supportive of Midge as the more successful person (esp. in comedy)

However, my friend says that since Joel beat up the heckler he is finally being supportive.  

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My take on it is that Joel loves her (as much as he can love anybody), but it's over.  She just doesn't know it yet.

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I think as the first season ends, Midge is still leaning toward reuniting with Joel -- as she told her father -- though Penny's visit to her at work sharpened her teeth a little. That she used this encounter as fodder for her routine doesn't suggest that she is reconsidering. In Midge's world -- both the gracious Riverside prewar 6 and the subterranean club scene -- anyone is fair game for sport, since droll, self-aware self-deprecation is the rule. The willingness to mock oneself confers shooting rights on others and no bag limit. 

Joel still has the chance to prove that he might become a mensch. He's taken a few steps forward: acknowledging that he left because he was intimidated by his wife; acknowledging that he was an ass to do so; acknowledging that he needs a plan to support his family; acknowledging that his wife is a terrific comic. Can he honor any of that; can he live with it, or her? 

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On 12/1/2017 at 8:07 PM, Megan said:

Weird that Midge's bedroom is right off the kitchen... an odd layout also on GG. I wonder why.

Quoting myself months later but everybody was right about the bedroom being originally a maid's room - Sounds like their apartment is a "Classic 6." 

(The GG house never made sense though. I guess that could have been originally a maid's room too, but the upstairs was weird.)

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Just watched the series over a few days, looking forward to S2 although I am with those who can absolutely do with way less Joel. He served as a catalyst; I don't want to see him tying Midge down in any form going forward (meaning, as a lingering potential love interest, let alone as her husband). Pity there's probably no graceful way to wank Lenny Bruce as a wholly fictional guy who just shares a name and characterization with a real one...

Surprised nobody else mentioned this, but I chuckled at what felt like a Gilmore Girls Easter egg with the Russian winter wonderland wedding theme. The Doctor Zhivago reference was off by a few years for their wedding, though, unless Midge only meant that as an after-the-fact comparison and not as a real basis for their original plans.

Edited by lavenderblue
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On 4/16/2018 at 10:27 PM, lavenderblue said:

Surprised nobody else mentioned this, but I chuckled at what felt like a Gilmore Girls Easter egg with the Russian winter wonderland wedding theme. The Doctor Zhivago reference was off by a few years for their wedding, though, unless Midge only meant that as an after-the-fact comparison and not as a real basis for their original plans.

The book was published in 1957, so before the conversation but well after the wedding.  Yeah, that was weird.

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On 4/16/2018 at 11:27 PM, lavenderblue said:

Just watched the series over a few days, looking forward to S2 although I am with those who can absolutely do with way less Joel. He served as a catalyst; I don't want to see him tying Midge down in any form going forward (meaning, as a lingering potential love interest, let alone as her husband). Pity there's probably no graceful way to wank Lenny Bruce as a wholly fictional guy who just shares a name and characterization with a real one...

Could not agree more. There is no chemistry, there's a streak of self-pity always present, the charm is effortful, you are out of your league, get lost, Joel. The back and forth between self-destructive jerk Joel and "heroic" or "charming" Joel is so, so boring. His punchout at the end of the S1 finale just grated. Dear God, let him pick a mode and own it. It would be less annoying. He's a major oxygen sucker.

Agreed about Lenny Bruce. The chemistry is so good. Hope the actor they've hired to play a doctor has a lot of the same qualities as Luke Kirby.

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On 7/16/2018 at 3:37 PM, DianeDobbler said:

Could not agree more. There is no chemistry, there's a streak of self-pity always present, the charm is effortful, you are out of your league, get lost, Joel. The back and forth between self-destructive jerk Joel and "heroic" or "charming" Joel is so, so boring. His punchout at the end of the S1 finale just grated. Dear God, let him pick a mode and own it. It would be less annoying. He's a major oxygen sucker.

Agreed about Lenny Bruce. The chemistry is so good. Hope the actor they've hired to play a doctor has a lot of the same qualities as Luke Kirby.

The problem heroic and charming Joel is usually an entitled "why the world does not cater to me" Joel. I remember when he was so proud when he was showing his budget to Midge's dad. He thought it was so self-sacrificing that he "did not leave anything for himself". Oh yes, you are such a hero for actually financially providing for your wife and children that you left to go play nookie with Miss Panda. Of course, how dare Midge have a breakdown when he destroyed their life together and have the gall to turn that pain into a great comedy routine. I really hated the line when the brother had to say "how strong" Joel was physically and how he was a little frightened of him. Please...Joel is less intimidating than a toddler throwing a tantrum.

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4 hours ago, qtpye said:

The problem heroic and charming Joel is usually an entitled "why the world does not cater to me" Joel. I remember when he was so proud when he was showing his budget to Midge's dad. He thought it was so self-sacrificing that he "did not leave anything for himself". Oh yes, you are such a hero for actually financially providing for your wife and children that you left to go play nookie with Miss Panda. Of course, how dare Midge have a breakdown when he destroyed their life together and have the gall to turn that pain into a great comedy routine. I really hated the line when the brother had to say "how strong" Joel was physically and how he was a little frightened of him. Please...Joel is less intimidating than a toddler throwing a tantrum.

All of this^^ accurately describes the character of Joel, which is why I'm conflicted about him. I totally get the sentiment of not wanting to waste time watching that kind of character on screen, especially if watching to forget or avoid reall life people who are like Joel. But, OTOH, having someone like that be Midge's husband kind of frees her up to do her comedy to escape from the tyranny of his annoying, cloying boorishness. Plus, he is a very believable, realistic character, which I appreciate much more than, say, a genius sociopathic serial killer or a saintly do-gooder.

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On ‎8‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 9:26 PM, shapeshifter said:

All of this^^ accurately describes the character of Joel, which is why I'm conflicted about him. I totally get the sentiment of not wanting to waste time watching that kind of character on screen, especially if watching to forget or avoid reall life people who are like Joel. But, OTOH, having someone like that be Midge's husband kind of frees her up to do her comedy to escape from the tyranny of his annoying, cloying boorishness. Plus, he is a very believable, realistic character, which I appreciate much more than, say, a genius sociopathic serial killer or a saintly do-gooder.

At its fundamentals, this is a show about a significant shift in culture. I don't know how they would do it without characters who aren't enormously frustrating and annoying by modern standards.  

Midge is basically the female version of Lenny Bruce.  His approach to comedy is exactly what they are doing with Midge.  She is basically being set up as a character who is transformative to comedy (and probably women's rights) in this fictional version of events.  Lenny is on canvas so Midge has an ally.  They are making her comedy more vulgar than what got Bruce convicted and blackballed so that the modern audience doesn't miss how innovative Midge's comedy is compared to others of the period.  Same thing with the learning trips to the comedy clubs where only Midge/Susie laughed at the ventriloquist and then the club with the guy telling the 1812 jokes where everyone was laughing hard except Midge/Susie.

This show will most likely end as a tragedy because that is how it usually goes with the great comedians.  I think the form Midge's tragedy will take is in her familial relationships.

She's got a father who is angry at her for her marriage ending because at the root of it he is terrified she won't have anyone to take care of her because she chose a weak man.  Her education wasn''t to get a job, it was to ensure that she would make a good business man's wife who was articulate at parties.  Will her father accept her comedy and believe that she has the talent to take care of herself?

Her mother taught all the tricks Midge employed to keep her man.  Can her mother see some potential in herself and accept it in Midge?

On ‎8‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 5:08 PM, qtpye said:

The problem heroic and charming Joel is usually an entitled "why the world does not cater to me" Joel. I remember when he was so proud when he was showing his budget to Midge's dad. He thought it was so self-sacrificing that he "did not leave anything for himself". Oh yes, you are such a hero for actually financially providing for your wife and children that you left to go play nookie with Miss Panda.

What happened with Joel is actually kind of sad because he had a moment where he could have broken free of pathetic and didn't.  This is a guy who everyone, but Midge, believed is incapable of taking care of himself and they all make sure he never forgets it.  I think his relationship with Penny was because she is an idiot (which is the only way I can describe the mistress confronting his wife at her work) and was the only one he truly felt superior to.  He left Midge as soon as she saw through his veneer because he was embarrassed. 

The impetus to do well at work was her father saying Midge had gotten a job.  He thought up vertically integrated manufacturing and got promoted.  He was proud and excited that he was taking care of his family because it was actually the first time he had done it.  I did not see anything in the "not leaving anything for himself" as him thinking he was so self sacrificing.  All of that came across to me as Midge's father pointing out that he wasn't being realistic about his new salary being able to support two households and maintain the lifestyle that they had while married.  And Joel's reaction was to be completely deflated but desperate not to admit that it wasn't going to work and that he "failed" again.

He was actually enjoying himself when talking about how to present his idea at the meeting.  He was employing the part of himself that wants to be an entertainer.  There were signs that he might actually have an aptitude for his job and might find it fulfilling if he could get out of his own way.  But instead he funneled that burst of self confidence into thinking he could make becoming a comedian work. 

Then Midge's record showed him up based more on the reaction she was getting than anything because he didn't hear anything as negative as at her show later..  So he lets it rattle him in the meeting and then he quits most likely because he feels like a loser so what is the point of trying.

Edited by ParadoxLost
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Excellent analysis^^ of the character of Joel, @ParadoxLost!
It leaves me wondering if we might see a flashback to a slightly earlier scene in which Joel first gets the idea to do comedy professionally, in which it is made clear to the viewers (but not to Midge or Joel) that it is really Midge's idea--that she was going to live vicariously through Joel--but Joel just never had the chops.
In a way, the ground has already been laid for such a reveal in that Midge was writing his material
Or am I just really dense and everyone else already already saw it as implicit that Midge was living vicariously through Joel's stand-up gigs when she was editing his material?

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@shapeshifter  I think you may be onto something with that.

So far, I've been getting the impression that Joel is the one that started taking Midge to comedy clubs but Midge is the natural born comic but has acquired the skill of being the helpmate and boosting up his ego by modeling her mother's behavior.  I think Joel could easily convince himself that he has the chops to be a comedian solely on the basis of he and Midge being a fun couple to have around and appropriating the laughter at some of the things Midge says and does as proof of how funny he is. 

His comedy aspirations may be more about Midge's adoration than anything.  He was leery to have people he knows come see him.  Is he really incapable of getting a good time slot or does he want Midge to demonstrate how much she will do to support him with a brisket every night? 

I didn't actually think about Midge writing his material because I just assumed all of his sets were similar to Newhart where he heard it on a record and stole it and Midge didn't realize because she focused on Joel's comedy not comedy in general.

But there was that scene where he demanded Midge's notebook back because it was his comedy (or something like that).  Thinking back on that I think its reasonable to assume that Joel has been using that for his act.  He probably doesn't even see it as Midge's because its stuff she scribbled during his sets so it originates with his stand up (in his mind) just like he made Newhart's standup his own by going slower.

I'm not sure I think Midge is living vicariously through Joel exactly.  I do think that she liked her life in college up a lot better and was working hard on holding onto that dynamic by supporting Joel in his comedy.  She wants to go out at night.  She wants to have a job. She wants to use her clever brain to make people laugh.  She wants an identity outside of wife, mother, and daughter. 

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So, do we ever find out whether Abe actually passed the background check for Bell Labs after the recruiter found out about Midge's arrests? Did it ever come up again? That's odd to me.  And it's odd to me that Abe never mentions it to Midge. Reminds me of how frustrated I would get with GG doing the same thing.

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In one episode, Abe and Moisha agreed to jointly own the apartment where Joel and Midge lived before he left. In a later episode, Midge and the children moved into her parents' apartment. Did I miss an explanation for this apparent change of plans? 

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Midge turned down Joel's request to reconcile at the end of Because You Left for the eponymous reason. Midge then tells Abe and we see his face fall, on two accounts: (1) He knows that Midge and kids will soon be moving in, since the apartment deal with Moishe will be moot: it depended on Midge's best efforts toward reconciliation; (2) Abe now holds a secret that he thinks he must keep from his wife, if he's to keep the peace.  

The opening montage of the next episode shows Midge moving out as she recalls her brief young-married epoch in those rooms.

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22 hours ago, grayson said:

In one episode, Abe and Moisha agreed to jointly own the apartment where Joel and Midge lived before he left. In a later episode, Midge and the children moved into her parents' apartment. Did I miss an explanation for this apparent change of plans? 

I got the feeling that Joel's father thought he could use the apartment to pressure them into reconciliation.

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So I binged season one this past week. Oddly, my least favorite characters are Midge and Joel. With Joel it's the character's weakness, and with Midge it's the acting style. RB marched in and out of her scenes (did she ever dawdle?), spitting out clever dialogue, and rarely relating to the other characters except as comedy acting foil. Like an old sitcom. Pollak did the same thing. The exceptions were her few moments with Susie and Joel. And her "comedy" felt rammed home, a poor imitation of Joan and Roseanne.

I was distracted by RB's red wig and blue eyes, looking nothing like her parents. And her prissy manner of speaking. And why bother giving her absentee children, except to emphasize what a cad Joel is?

Anyway, I kept watching for the wardrobes, old NY, and the other actors, who were great. Shaloub and Kirby were especially fine.

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When Joel and Midge are riding on the carousel talking about divorce, the background music is The Carousel Waltz, the theme song from the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. (I'm more familiar with it as part of the intro to Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits).

Carousel is about an abusive husband and a wife who makes apologies for him. I wondered if that was ASP's way of foreshadowing that Joel might actually turn into a wife beater. Watching him beat up on the heckler at the end of the episode reinforced the idea. 

http://www.vulture.com/2018/04/rodgers-and-hammersteins-carousel-after-metoo.html 

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The new apartments on Riverside Drive were for the wealthy set of the 1920s who gave up their private homes to live in luxury flats - some took their meals in a dining room as in a hotel, but they were built as Classic 6: living room, kitchen and dining room, plus 3 chambers (bedrooms). The maid's room off the kitchen wasn't counted as a bedroom. Since Joel and Midge lived just below her parents, you would think both flats had the same design and same number of rooms.

I didn't understand the recording thing. Who recorded Midge's set, and why? I thought it was somehow related to her father's security clearance but were they just fans? And why wax the recording being played while Joel was there? 

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8 hours ago, CousinAmy said:

The new apartments on Riverside Drive were for the wealthy set of the 1920s who gave up their private homes to live in luxury flats - some took their meals in a dining room as in a hotel, but they were built as Classic 6: living room, kitchen and dining room, plus 3 chambers (bedrooms). The maid's room off the kitchen wasn't counted as a bedroom. Since Joel and Midge lived just below her parents, you would think both flats had the same design and same number of rooms.

I didn't understand the recording thing. Who recorded Midge's set, and why? I thought it was somehow related to her father's security clearance but were they just fans? And why wax the recording being played while Joel was there? 

My guess is that comedy enthusiasts (or comedian wannabees) went around recording lots of comedians sets and passed them around. Kind of like the way music performances are recorded by the people in the crowd on their phones these days - sort of a precursor to internet distribution of videos.

Not quite the same thing, but when I lived overseas on military bases, the GIs would record comedy albums and pass them around to everyone else. Led to some really fun community snark when watching movies at the base theater, but I digress.

Edited by Clanstarling
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