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S01.E07: Put That On Your Plate!

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With Susie's help, Midge hones her act at the Gaslight. Abe surprises the women with a dinner guest, sending Rose into an emotional spiral. Working towards a promotion, Joel conjures up a new plan. Midge stirs up controversy after meeting a big-time comedian.

 

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IMO this show suffers from hiring "name" actors for secondary parts, and over-writing for them as star-service. Tony Shaloub is a good actor, nothing really justifies all the material for this character. Just because you get Wallace Shawn for a small role doesn't mean the scene he's got has to be three times as long as it needs to be simply because it's Wallace Shawn (and I admit when I heard his voice I thought - oh come on! Wallace Shawn?!). Finally and most of all I love Jane Lynch, but dear God. That huge interlude between Miriam and the "real" Sophie Lennon. Fine, she's a successful comedienne and has been for decades, but I'm not believing 2-3 butlers and four maids plus a couture wardrobe and massive residence. A movie star would go broke with that set up. I get it - look she's the exact opposite of Sophie! I don't think we need Kensington Palace to make that point, plus the voice and demeanor Jane Lynch affected was annoying. I got the point several years before the show was done with her. I didn't believe her for a second. She was an overstated idea, not a character.

Anachronisms - was "fit", as in "I don't think this job is a good fit" a thing in 1958 or early 60s, whenever this was? Was "gender specific" a thing?

Lastly as far as secondary characters - what is the point of Joel? Why do the violins come out when we see him, why are we meant to cheer (I guess) when he comes into his own at work? And that bit about - hey, I'm getting a raise and now I can afford Brearley, Collegiate, a 3-bedroom apartment in a doorman building, an extensive wardrobe, probably domestic help, plus Broadway shows was ridiculous. And yeah, I get it, it leaves very little for himself, but the whole thing didn't read as narrative but as "please love Joel and look he's a man because he can provide the lifestyle all of a sudden while being a martyr!" When we'd get flashbacks of Joel/Miriam in their happy days, I did get that we were supposed to see him as charming, nice, in love and fun, so we could see why Miriam married him in the first place. Then he had his early mid-life crisis and Miriam discovered stand-up. What is his point now? He's just part of the core cast because whatever? He needs all of this material of his own because why? Actually, "he/she needs all of this material because why?" is my big issue with the Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. The core narrative - Suzy, Miriam, and Miriam's progression as a stand-up is the stuff that works best. I enjoyed watching Miriam test drive jokes and timing. I was excited when she got her tight ten. I wanted to see her open for Sophie in New Jersey but I guess that's not happening. The central relationship is Suzy/Miriam (obviously) and the show plays its ups and downs like a romance in a way. I don't care so much about all of the other characters. They're fine and well cast as support, but the extensive amount of time spent on their own stories, or padding out the scenes just because a "star" is in the role just feels like the writers are giving some of these performers good stuff for their reel. Or because the writers are in love with their own cleverness, or had a cute idea, and push it in there just for that reason and no other.

PS - I enjoy Marin Hinkle's Rose more than Tony Shaloub's Abe. I like how much the mother and daughter resemble each other, and WAY more than the outburst in temple, Rose's recital of the all-pureed dinner menu to the divorce lawyer plus her remark that his teeth will wonder what they're there for was hilarious and sort of gave an inside glimpse as to where Miriam got her timing.

Edited by DianeDobbler
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Yes, I understand structure and pacing and am also familiar with theatrical conventions and plotting, and the rules of the same. And this is not pacing, this is lost focus that disintegrates into self-indulgence and star showcasing for its own sake (or filler). MMV of course! I don't need this much of Joel to know what he represents, I don't need an ENDLESS and poorly done execution of "her offstage persona is the exact opposite of her onstage!" to get the point. I think what they're doing is done badly.

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On 12/1/2017 at 7:31 AM, DianeDobbler said:

What is [Joel's] point now? He's just part of the core cast because whatever? He needs all of this material of his own because why?

I haven't read the entire Internet but have seen very few positive comments about Joel. I'm not sure it's the actor's fault exactly, because his characterization is weak on the page, but neither do I think he brings any particular charm or pizazz to the role. In the flashbacks where I assume viewers were supposed to (1) see a more likable side to him and (2) become invested in him and Midge, I didn't and wasn't.

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So her comedy is back to being blue. I liked the story about the murdering high school sweetheart. All the jokes don't have to be crass. It was nice to see her polishing her material. Though it begs the question... how do regulars feel about her doing the same material over and over? Also... months have passed?

The 5 boroughs joke made me giggle.

So Joel's back at home and also feeling like he's regressing. 

Aw, Ms. Moskowirz mouthing "I'm so proud."

Had another good laugh at Tony Shalhoub popping in and out of his study. "Imogene." "I'm not going to remember that."

JaneLynch!

Ooh, David Blumenthal. Certainly didn't see that coming. I was too busy laughing at the Professor Glickman jokes. I'm a little sad he died 4 years ago and we'll never get to see him. That sounds like it would have been a fun cameo.

Side note: I can't stop seeing Emelia Clarke when I look at Rachel.

I feel like the show is bouncing between its inclination to stick to the period and ASP's instinct to write Gilmore Girls. Miriam and Rose ride roughshod over Abe sometimes in a way that doesn't mesh with the 1950's world they're writing (sometimes). Also, Abe is totally right. Miriam and Rose can sass him all they want but he's right.

Julie London. Does everyone work off the same hit list when they do something set in the 50's/60's?

Katrina Lenk! So many Broadway people for me on this show.

I feel like that scene with Joel came out of nowhere. 

It was interesting to see them do that swap with Sophie. Certainly it's not an unusual story for a female actress or comedian at the time... playing a type but actually being quite posh at home. Or vice versa. It was interesting how Miriam was a bit flustered but not completely thrown by it. I feel like she's the kind of person who usually has a handle on any situation, or acts like she does. But sure, there are definitely different levels of wealth and status even if her family does seem very well off. I get where they were going with the character. In some ways she's not wrong. But it's also a weird conflict to bring up. Because even though she's being "herself," Miriam is being a character. She's no Mike Birbiglia. She's still doing somewhat broad, crass material as a Jewish housewife and she dips into stereotype when it suits her.

I was a bit surprised that for all the tough love, the Sophie character was never mean to Miriam. Usually there's an All About Eve thing going on or something like that. Sophie didn't seem like she was trying to take down a rival. Also, I liked Dawes.

The cantor (?) was another theater guy. I forget his name.

Rose's hat! 

That takedown of Sophie was really uncalled for and weird. The idea that her feminist diatribe would get that kind of response in the 50's, even in the village... is a bit ludicrous. The idea that Midge would even be that offended by Sophie is weird. A couple of episodes/months ago she was running to the bathroom every morning and night so her husband wouldn't see her without makeup.

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Midge may love stand-up, may be good at it, but by building a routine that's based on her life, she's playing with deadly fire.  And ultimately, this is her major conflict - a safe, secure life, or exciting, deadly fire.

I understand but I also think she's capable of telling jokes that don't hurt anyone. And randomly going after Sophie so viciously and attacking others when it hasn't been right after being hurt (the first two episodes after Joel left, etc.) just feels off. It's not necessary. I'm not watching House. I don't need to see her be this self-destructive. It's not where the show is strongest. I want to see her actually trying to be a good comedian. 

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This is, of course, also why Joel is still here.  He shows the other path.  And his ongoing presence (and thus the ongoing question - will they or won't they get back together?) lets the show explore the way that their separation is rippling out into uncertainty for everyone around them.  

I don't really believe that. If that's the show's goal, they haven't executed it well. I really don't care if they get back together and I think that stopped being a viable option when she turned him away (rightfully). I feel like he's like a lot of ex's who hang around when the showrunners/writers really don't know what to do with them. At least you have the excuse of the kids. But Teddy on Nashville? Dev on Smash? These guys were wet noodles to clear the way for better love interests and yet they hung around too long. So far the best part about Joel is his parents.

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I had a problem with the Midge and Sophie scene, Midge seemed way too out of her element in the posh surroundings and Sophie seemed way too dismissive of her as a rube with inexpensive tastes. 

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I thought the whole Sophia thing veered too much into a showcase for Jane Lynch, and I also thought Jane Lynch was not good as the "real" Sophie. She was far more believable as the stage Sophie, fat suit and head that didn't fit the body and all. I guess I could wank it that the real Sophie Lennon was far more patrician than the stage one (went to Harvard, etc.), but it felt fake as hell. I think it was poor acting - the first time I haven't liked Jane Lynch. Poor acting by a good actress, btw, that's different than poor acting by a bad actor. :)

I agree that the show veers between wanting to be period and turning anachronistic. Imogene and Midge used the term "gender specific toys" at least three times, a phrase that didn't exist at the time. I felt they said it four times because the writers thought it was funny. "Fit" as a term for a job that works for both applicant and employer wasn't a thing back there either, and Mrs. Maisel used it for both Bell Labs and B. Altman.

I have no problem with Midge turning on Sophie, nor with her running roughshod over her parents. She's a brilliant, driven women who, in the past, had used all of that drive towards goals her parents wanted for her. Now she's using it in another direction, and like many parents with children who are faster, quicker, more determined, more charming than they are, they're kind of helpless to stop her, and besides, she IS 26. I have thought that at many points the show was leading us towards her parents thinking Midge was working as some sort of high class call girl - the parties, the arrests, the way she muses out loud about what message her outfit sends. It's like setting up for a joke that the show then walks away from.

I love watching old movies that go back much further than the 1950s. Films went through a period of being extremely liberated, and I don't believe the 1950s was any more natural to people than the period before. The whole repression of women was a reaction to, I think, both the Catholic church having an enormous influence on movies at the time, and the way the culture and corporations promoted women in the home after World War II, so they'd go home and leave the jobs to the men. I believe those that went to the Gaslight as an audience were probably a bit more in the vanguard than those listening to Sophie Lennon. Women talked and griped among themselves about the stuff Midge says on stage, and I think it was more in the culture than we think - after all, a rebellion is coming very soon (The Feminine Mystique, the 1960s). Midge is moving among those in the culture - including audiences - who will have had a big influence on what's to come. 

Edited by DianeDobbler
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On 12/1/2017 at 6:31 AM, DianeDobbler said:

Why do the violins come out when we see him, why are we meant to cheer (I guess) when he comes into his own at work? And that bit about - hey, I'm getting a raise and now I can afford Brearley, Collegiate, a 3-bedroom apartment in a doorman building,

I didn't get that we were supposed to cheer. Maybe we were.  But it felt like he's got this big idea plan because while he's a an idiot he's a well meaning idiot but he's promised all this stuff he doesn't know if he can deliver on and as Abe points out he's left nothing for himself.  That's important because it is untenable.   He can't give all that to Midge even if he gets the promotion, even if he wants to and we don't know he's going to manage to get it all together.  It seems like a lot of ifs.   Joel talks a good game, he dreams a good game but the show has done nothing (including in this episode) to prove that he can play a good game... and after that a good stretch of games.   

Giving all your money away so Midge gets the life she wants isn't the way to be a good guy.  The way to be a good guy is to go to Midge and level with her about where they are really at financially and what they can both do to get to where they need to be in his career but also in her spending.   He told Abe that Midge would ask that they were okay with money and that he would blow her off.  This is more of the same. 

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I don't know, I base it off how much air time all Joel's stuff gets, and how much time we get with him. We're supposed to invest, I think. It's not just to give us information or status.

I was reading some reviews and one reviewer reported that many viewers thought there was too much uptown, not enough downtown, and the unresolved nature of Joel and Midge was a snooze. AND another review said she had way more chemistry with Luke Kirby (Lenny Bruce). Obviously and thank heaven the central relationship is Midge and Suzy, and I'd be really happy if they dialed back a lot on the other characters, who repeat themselves, particularly Midge's family. 

No, it wasn't wise to throw Sophie under the bus and both Midge and Suzy knew that, but it happened. Amy Palladrino said that Rachel Brosnahan gave the audition that showed a lot of stand up comes from being pissed off, and Midge left Sophie's feeling pissed off. IMO Sophie was ridiculous - the off-stage part of her character didn't come off, IMO, but within the show, Midge was pissed. Very convenient that Midge spent most of the first season not using her real name.

Really disliked Jane Lynch's work in this. On stage she was fine, off stage it didn't work, although of course I got the point being made. I just didn't believe that woman.

Edited by DianeDobbler
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Midge turning on Sophie was definitely a dick move, but it seemed like a combination of frustration and immaturity on Midge's part.  It was definitely cringe-worthy, but I sort of understand why the show went there.  Midge isn't completely confident in her abilities and probably a little star struck and then Minnie Pearl Sophie basically tells her that she won't "make it" being who she is.  I'm not excusing Midge, but it does make sense to me.

I'm not really sure what the point of Joel's flashback was.  I'm happy with Joel being a secondary character.  As Midge's estranged husband and the father of her children (although he only seems to have time for the son), he needs to be part of the narrative.  However, that scene made it seem like Joel was going to have his own narrative--and I'm not here for that.  I really don't have any sympathy of Joel, nor do I feel that the show wanted me to through the first six episodes, so now we're getting it?  That doesn't work for me.

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My favorite episode of the season. 

I think Midge saw something of herself in Sophie, in that she and her parents live pretty grandly compared to some of her new friends, like Susie. 

Aaron Copeland writes doorbells for his friends. Great line, in my opinion. I thought the Sophie at home routine was funnier than any of Midge's stand up material. 

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I found the way this episode was directed really distracting.  Characters were out of frame and the shot would be on back of an empty chair or they were at the bottom of the screen.  It looked like it was directed by a kid in film school trying to be "inventive."  I'm so glad the finale was filmed with "traditional" direction.

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I believe those that went to the Gaslight as an audience were probably a bit more in the vanguard than those listening to Sophie Lennon. Women talked and griped among themselves about the stuff Midge says on stage, and I think it was more in the culture than we think - after all, a rebellion is coming very soon (The Feminine Mystique, the 1960s). Midge is moving among those in the culture - including audiences - who will have had a big influence on what's to come. 

I suppose you're right that it fits in general but I maintain that in the moment, it felt out of place. It felt like the writers speaking through the character. There was very little attempt to write jokes for her in that monologue. It was mostly complaining. And the way the female characters in the audience were just nodding and/or voicing their assent didn't feel like the right response for a comedy club. Maybe an activist meeting but a comic getting on stage with that kind of material feels like it would have been weird compared to these days when things are more conversational and stand up has evolved from just telling jokes. 

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Rachel Brosnahan gave the audition that showed a lot of stand up comes from being pissed off, and Midge left Sophie's feeling pissed off. IMO Sophie was ridiculous - the off-stage part of her character didn't come off, IMO, but within the show, Midge was pissed.

I think it was a bit odd because Midge came across as more bemused and... thrown off by her visit to Sophie's house and then suddenly she gets on stage and is enraged enough to just fly off the handle and kill her career. What did Sophie do that was really that bad and where was Midge's anger until that moment?

I think Jane Lynch was really just written a bad part as "posh" Sophie. Another actress might have brought more but not much more to that part. It was written flat. I was willing to go with it because I thought she was a character with potential. But it seems like the show torpedoed that into a one-episode appearance. 

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47 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

I think Jane Lynch was really just written a bad part as "posh" Sophie. Another actress might have brought more but not much more to that part. It was written flat. I was willing to go with it because I thought she was a character with potential. But it seems like the show torpedoed that into a one-episode appearance. 

I will say that I probably would have been more shocked to find out that Sophie was not her persona had someone other than Jane Lynch played the role.  I know it isn't fair, but I see Jane Lynch as playing over the top characters generally, so as soon as I saw her as the stage Sophie, I knew that it was an act and the real Sophie was much different (but also completely unbelievable).  To me it is not a case of Jane Lynch not playing the character well, but rather that Lynch's reputation proceeded her and, thanks just to that, it might have been more successful with someone else playing the role.

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I will say that I probably would have been more shocked to find out that Sophie was not her persona had someone other than Jane Lynch played the role.  I know it isn't fair, but I see Jane Lynch as playing over the top characters generally, so as soon as I saw her as the stage Sophie, I knew that it was an act and the real Sophie was much different (but also completely unbelievable).  To me it is not a case of Jane Lynch not playing the character well, but rather that Lynch's reputation proceeded her and, thanks just to that, it might have been more successful with someone else playing the role.

Yes, I wish the plotline hadn't devolved into another of ASP's eccentric rich weirdo storylines.  I mean, she gives away a fur coat because she's already worn it twice?   Give me a break.   

I was very mixed on the episode.  I can buy that Midge was frustrated with Sophie's advice, but I have trouble with the idea that Midge is really so self-destructive that she'd purposefully alienate people who could help her advance in her career.  I also have trouble believing she would really do that to Susie. 

I loved the scene in the synagogue, and am in agreement with everything said about Joel.  He's not that interesting, and it's difficult to see what Midge would ever have seen in him.     

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22 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I suppose you're right that it fits in general but I maintain that in the moment, it felt out of place. It felt like the writers speaking through the character. There was very little attempt to write jokes for her in that monologue. It was mostly complaining. And the way the female characters in the audience were just nodding and/or voicing their assent didn't feel like the right response for a comedy club. Maybe an activist meeting but a comic getting on stage with that kind of material feels like it would have been weird compared to these days when things are more conversational and stand up has evolved from just telling jokes. 

I think it was a bit odd because Midge came across as more bemused and... thrown off by her visit to Sophie's house and then suddenly she gets on stage and is enraged enough to just fly off the handle and kill her career. What did Sophie do that was really that bad and where was Midge's anger until that moment?

I think Jane Lynch was really just written a bad part as "posh" Sophie. Another actress might have brought more but not much more to that part. It was written flat. I was willing to go with it because I thought she was a character with potential. But it seems like the show torpedoed that into a one-episode appearance. 

Actually I'd agree with this - Midge seemed more bemused than angry when she left, but when she takes the stage she needs to vent. I can wank it that it took time for her to process her visit with Sophie and the anger came once that happened.

The Sophie scenes were flat - maybe it was the script. The script was just exposition really, every line Sophie had there to show her as a cartoonishly posh person, but Lynch's performance was extremely stiff. What I got from that was that was her idea of what the opposite of Sophie would be, but there was no more to it, and it felt off. I also think it was flat because they went overkill on how rich and refined she was, but it sort of played as pandering - that this is what they think the audience's idea of the opposite of Sophie would be, or what we think rich people are like, so let's do that. So it felt fake.

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The Sophie scenes were flat - maybe it was the script. The script was just exposition really, every line Sophie had there to show her as a posh person, but Lynch's performance was extremely stiff. What I got from that was that was her idea of what the opposite of Sophie would be, but there was no more to it, and it felt off.

At some point it was just silly and over the top.  I mean, I figure we were going to find out that Sophie's "Queens" persona was fake, but the show has a lot of trouble being subtle when it should be. 

Oh and just another thing about the fur coat, because it still bugs, Jane Lynch is nearly a foot taller than Rachel Broshnahan.  That fur coat should have been dragging on the ground.  

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1 hour ago, DianeDobbler said:

Actually I'd agree with this - Midge seemed more bemused than angry when she left, but when she takes the stage she needs to vent. I can wank it that it took time for her to process her visit with Sophie and the anger came once that happened.

I agree.  And maybe when she processed it she realized this very successful female comedian was telling her to do the exact opposite of what's worked well for her from the beginning.  Midge's successes are all from exposing herself, in more ways than one, to the audience and they respond to her honesty and vulnerability and the way they see parts of themselves in her.  As for the "activist" tone what I took from Midge's remarks was refusal to buy into Sophie's tried and true advice that she couldn't be successful at being funny simply by being herself.  And honestly, I think the women's movement often starts in the contrast between women being who they're expected to be vs. feeling free to be who they are.  

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"Sophie" appeared to me to aiming at a cross between Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. Diller in particular with those horse laughs between gags. There is a *great* book called WE KILLED, by Yael Cohen, about the rise of female comedians. (Actually, the book is a lot more fun than this show.) Having read that, for me there's a big reason why Midge Maisel would be struggling a lot more than she is: she's too pretty and too well-dressed. Diller talked in that book about the fact that she actually had quite a nice body, but that people wouldn't laugh if she showed it off. Hence the sack-like clothes she wore and the fright wig.

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Sophie reminded me immediately of Sarah Colley Cannon and her Minnie Pearl character. Cannon was rich and snobby while her stage character was a folksy down-home rube. Midge seems to be inspired by Joan Rivers.

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Watching the scene again I think it was because women's roles were changing ever so slightly and Midge could be received in ways by her audience that Sophie couldn't be 15-20 years ago. 

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To me, it was pretty obvious that that rent at the comedy club was sparked by her mother’s reaction in the synagogue. She was thinking about your mother, and feeling compassion for her mother, and took it out on sophie. I believe if that happened happened at the synagogue, she would never have done that.

 

My mother is basically the same age  as Midge, and these talks about women and being authentic  such as what she did in the club are not something that was invented five years later in the 60s. Sometimes I think everyone gets their ideas about the 50s from “Mona Lisa smile“ and not from talking to anyone who was there. 

 

“The Second Sex” by Simone’s de Beauvoir was published in 1949. At Bryn Mawr as at all the seven sisters these books and ideas would have been talked about. It’s just not true people went there for their MRS degree. 

 

1958 is living memory and it never resembled the sitcoms: at no time did women ever do the dishes in heels or pearls. 

Edited by lucindabelle
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On ‎12‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 1:36 PM, aradia22 said:

And the way the female characters in the audience were just nodding and/or voicing their assent didn't feel like the right response for a comedy club.

I'm no expert, but it seems as if the Gaslight Club is a pretty low-rent establishment in Greenwich Village.  The performers aren't even getting paid unless they pass the hat after their set.  It seems closer to what we call an "open mike night" today, with some people getting up from the audience to perform.  In that spirit, the interaction with the audience feels authentic.  And at some point around that time period, women were in fact getting fed up with bras, corsets and girdles, because 10 years later when I was in high school we still had bras, but corsets were gone and girdles were dying a slow death. (Although my mother still wore a girdle on special occasions because she said she liked the extra support it provided. )

I just want Joel to see a good dermatologist and get that "thing" removed from below his left eye.  It's incredibly distracting.

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The Gaslight Cafe became famous as an early showcase for some of the great folk music acts of the century, most notably Dylan. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gaslight_Cafe

http://bedfordandbowery.com/2016/12/the-story-of-the-gaslight-cafe-where-dylan-premiered-a-hard-rains-a-gonna-fall/

According to the Wikipedia article, at least one famous comedian performed there. I'm picturing a future episode in which Lenny Bruce rescues Midge from an uncomfortable encounter with Bill Cosby. 

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lucindabelle: If you wanted an MRS degree you certainly didn't go to Bryn Mawr, which was single-sex at the time! I always had the impression that the whole point of the Seven Sisters schools was to train female leaders. Like my high school was also single-sex (the boys had a separate school two miles away - ours was the last class to graduate separately). A lot of very impressive women came out of those schools.

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Personally, I have two issues with the situation. 1) I strongly feel the presence of the writers writing from the present. It doesn't matter if it's relevant for the time period. What matters is the particular way it's being expressed and I feel like the POV has that awkward easiness of the benefit of hindsight and a certain sort of developed liberal, white feminist politics. That might just be me but it's something I am picking up on. 2) I don't think this is entirely consistent with the Midge they initially wrote. And fine, maybe they made some changes to the character after the pilot and were expecting us to go along with it. But maybe it's because of the binge-watching aspect but I haven't caught up to what they want us to think about her yet. She seemed perfectly content as a housewife and mother and the place where her ambition and her sudden neglect and questioning of whether she even wanted children doesn't seem to be coming from an organic place. 

It's not that I disagree with anything she's saying or doing, it's that I personally don't feel it coming from a naturally motivated place. 

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I I think that she was perfectly content it as a housewife and mother, perhaps not so much as a mother, but she loved being with a “power behind the throne”. Then Joel left her and it changed everything.

 

This is no different then what happens to many people when a crisis or catastrophe happens to them and they suddenly wake up and think about what they really want out of their lives. They could be going along happily, and then Bam! Or breaks out. The stock market falls. Someone beloved dies in a car crash.

 

its called an inciting event in fiction but these things happen I. Life too.

 

in the $0s they had these things called consciousness raising groups just for women like Modge who could be and do more but didn’t know it.

 

Mans bear in mind despite some weird 50s sitcoms women had been powerful if not officially for YEARS. Even in “it’s a wonderful life”

were casually told Mary ran the USO. 

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1 hour ago, lucindabelle said:

I I think that she was perfectly content it as a housewife and mother, perhaps not so much as a mother, but she loved being with a “power behind the throne”. Then Joel left her and it changed everything.

I don't disagree that she was content with her life with Joel, but I think it was more than that.  I don't think she knew that there were any other options open to her.  She didn't live under a rock--she knew that women worked and had careers, but those weren't women "like her."  So, when Joel left her, it wasn't just that her husband left her.  It was that the whole definition of her life had been yanked from her and she wasn't prepared for any other possibilities.

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On 12/16/2017 at 9:01 AM, wendyg said:

lucindabelle: If you wanted an MRS degree you certainly didn't go to Bryn Mawr, which was single-sex at the time! I always had the impression that the whole point of the Seven Sisters schools was to train female leaders. Like my high school was also single-sex (the boys had a separate school two miles away - ours was the last class to graduate separately). A lot of very impressive women came out of those schools.

Technically, Bryn Mawr was single-sex only in the undergraduate program. They've accepted men in the post-graduate programs beginning in the 1930s. 

I do agree it doesn't seem much like a Mrs. degree place, though. I don't know if Bryn Mawr had any affiliations with an all-male school, the way some schools had. But their mission certainly seemed more in tune with giving women an excellent, and useful, education, than a polishing or finishing school. 

I attended an all female school briefly, and I thought it was pretty great.  There was less distraction, and more encouragement to achieve.

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35 minutes ago, wendyg said:

Clanstarling: I believe Bryn Mawr had some arrangement with nearby all-male Haverford.

Also, Swarthmore and U Penn through the Quarker Consortium.

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In addition to getting an excellent education, Bryn Mawr and the other seven sister schools were most certainly seen as a good place to meet potential husbands from ivy league and other top-tier colleges. At that time only Cornell and Penn were co-ed. Ivy league men also saw women's colleges like Bryn Mawr as a great place to meet smart, well-educated women they could take home to meet the folks and eventually settle down with.

Even into the 70s, when the colleges starting going co-ed, students were bussed and car-pooled back and forth between the men's and women's colleges for mixers, parties and other social events to meet each other. Back then in the 50s most women stopped working when they got married so finding husbands who would provide for them in the manner they wanted was considered a legitimate reason to pick a college with ties to a prestigious men's college.

Edited by orza
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All I can say is, I applied to college in 1970/1971, and no one *ever* suggested to me that I should pick a school because it was good for finding someone with good prospects to marry.

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1 hour ago, wendyg said:

All I can say is, I applied to college in 1970/1971, and no one *ever* suggested to me that I should pick a school because it was good for finding someone with good prospects to marry.

Sadly, when I applied to college in the 90s, I did have relatives (granted, they were on the elderly side) did suggest going to a school with good marital prospects.  Also, my brother and sister-in-law were at Harvard and Radcliffe, respectively, in the 70s and it was no secret that my SIL's very liberal family had sent her there to find a good husband (her father talked about it in his toast at their wedding...)

I think, though, in Midge's age it was a bit more nuanced than just getting a MRS.  Women of her class were expected to be well-educated, and a well-educated wife reflected well on her husband. So, going off to college wasn't just to meet a man, but also to prepare to be the kind of wife that a man would want.

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2 hours ago, wendyg said:

All I can say is, I applied to college in 1970/1971, and no one *ever* suggested to me that I should pick a school because it was good for finding someone with good prospects to marry.

I started a few years later than you. I'd been raised with the expectation that I'd go to college (which was remarkable in that no one in our family had ever been). It was only many years later I found out that my father's motives were that I would get my MRS with a college educated man, but have a degree as a backup in case things went south. Though I did indeed marry, (and things did indeed go south) it never once crossed my mind that I was in college for anything other to get an education.

Edited by Clanstarling
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I think, though, in Midge's age it was a bit more nuanced than just getting a MRS.  Women of her class were expected to be well-educated, and a well-educated wife reflected well on her husband. So, going off to college wasn't just to meet a man, but also to prepare to be the kind of wife that a man would want.

This discussion also reflects a Gilmore Girls parallel...Emily Gilmore went to a women's college (Smith? I think?), and while there, met and dated Richard, who went to Yale.  And though she was well-educated, she states later in the show that the only thing she ever knew how to be was Richard Gilmore's wife.

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Well, let's see. Kelly Bishop was born in 1944, so if we take her age as a guide, Emily Gilmore graduated college around 1965. Midge Maisel probably graduated from college around 1955, so is about ten years older.  Comparing them to the MAD MEN characters (because: why not?), Midge is probably three-four years younger than Joan Holloway (Harris), whose age is given as 30 in 1960-61; Emily is about three-four years younger than Peggy Olson, who is 22 in season 2. Different class and background, of course., and different goals in life. But not maybe so different, since Joan's original intention was to marry a doctor and live in a nice, big house in the country and have children.

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On December 3, 2017 at 9:13 AM, DianeDobbler said:

and I also thought Jane Lynch was not good as the "real" Sophie. She was far more believable as the stage Sophie, fat suit and head that didn't fit the body and all. I guess I could wank it that the real Sophie Lennon was far more patrician than the stage one (went to Harvard, etc.), but it felt fake as hell.l I think it was poor acting - the first time I haven't liked Jane Lynch. Poor acting by a good actress, btw, that's different than poor acting by a bad actor. :)

maybe as if Jane Lynch was making a point of not upstaging Rachel Brosnahan in the manner that Midge did to Sophie—perhaps to be sure to convey that Midge was the superior talent, especially to those more familiar with Lynch's body of work than Brosnahan's.

On December 6, 2017 at 1:36 PM, aradia22 said:

I think Jane Lynch was really just written a bad part as "posh" Sophie. Another actress might have brought more but not much more to that part. It was written flat.

—and/or Sophie was written in such a way to be sure the audience saw Midge as the superior comic, in spite of Jane Lynch's reputation in that genre.

On December 6, 2017 at 2:26 PM, OtterMommy said:

To me it is not a case of Jane Lynch not playing the character well, but rather that Lynch's reputation proceeded her and, thanks just to that, it might have been more successful with someone else playi

—and perhaps this, but she made it work

On December 6, 2017 at 8:06 PM, txhorns79 said:

can buy that Midge was frustrated with Sophie's advice, but I have trouble with the idea that Midge is really so self-destructive that she'd purposefully alienate people who could help her advance in her career.  I also have trouble believing she would really do that to Susie. 

To me Midge's trash talking Sophie seemed very consistent with Midge's getting jailed twice, etc. for doing bits that also "killed." 
Also: Sophie's palatial home had the same effect on Midge that Midge's digs had on Susie, so, in a sense, Midge was speaking for Susie too—but Susie was in a too fragile, vulnerable economic position to appreciate Midge's takedown of Sophie.
There was also the symbolism of Midge being unable to refuse the charity of the fur coat, which would have been a driving factor in the Sophie shaming.
Perhaps Sophie was even baiting Midge and, after the scandal of the comediennes hit the papers, Sophie basked in the satisfaction of having passed the torch to a new generation of comic women who would not have to wear fat suits. Sophie didn't need to work anymore and may have been relieved to retire to soirées with musicians of note.
After all, Susie, Lenny, Harry, and Sophie all stated that opening for Sophie was to be expected to tank any comic's career, so what did Midge have to lose? And perhaps she was going to put an end to this particular altar of sacrifice by sacrificing herself. I doubt she consciously considered this outcome, but we, the audience (and Susie), can see it as clearly as we know of the crucifixion that awaits Jesus after he preaches against the ruling leaders, and then the crowds carpet the ground in front of him with palm fronds.

 

On December 7, 2017 at 11:58 AM, txhorns79 said:

and just another thing about the fur coat, because it still bugs, Jane Lynch is nearly a foot taller than Rachel Broshnahan. 

As a petite Jewish [and often unintentionally funny] woman reared among Nordic blondes in the Midwest, who learned at puberty to shorten pants, this bugged me too. But I can fanwank that it was knee length on Sophie, and that Midge turned up the sleeves the way my equally petite mother taught me, but that the fur coat's poor fit on Midge ultimately contributed to Midge shaking off the advice of Sophie.

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10 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

But I can fanwank that it was knee length on Sophie, and that Midge turned up the sleeves the way my equally petite mother taught me, but that the fur coat's poor fit on Midge ultimately contributed to Midge shaking off the advice of Sophie.

Nice. I tend to take things at face value, but I like that.  I wouldn't call it a fanwank - more like literary critique. Funny thing, I noted that it shouldn't fit so well (I'm quite petite myself), but didn't give it another thought. I wrote it off to the fantastical show - given we're also supposed to believe Midge could always count on Joel being asleep the entire night for years, and not see her without makeup.

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On 12/10/2017 at 3:45 PM, orza said:

Sophie reminded me immediately of Sarah Colley Cannon and her Minnie Pearl character. Cannon was rich and snobby while her stage character was a folksy down-home rube. Midge seems to be inspired by Joan Rivers.

I think you must be right, although her name put me in mind of Sophie Tucker. Maybe they just named the character Sophie to honor her. I also agree that Midge seems to be based loosely on Joan Rivers. Phyllis Diller would have been too old and didn't really have that kind of persona.

An interesting article on Joan Rivers that shows a lot of parallels with Midge, including her meeting with Lenny Bruce - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/last-girl-larchmont

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2 hours ago, Kathira said:

I think you must be right, although her name put me in mind of Sophie Tucker. Maybe they just named the character Sophie to honor her. I also agree that Midge seems to be based loosely on Joan Rivers. Phyllis Diller would have been too old and didn't really have that kind of persona.

An interesting article on Joan Rivers that shows a lot of parallels with Midge, including her meeting with Lenny Bruce - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/last-girl-larchmont

The dress Midge wore during the last scene reminded me a lot of the dresses Joan Rivers wore back in the day. I think it was intentional.

I thought of Sophie Tucker as well. After reading her bio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Tucker), I think she's definitely one of the influences on the character, since she was more a New York area comedian, and Jewish - with some Minnie Pearl thrown in. I think as the character points out - people in their day liked their women comedians to be characters, not pretty girls. Sophie

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3 hours ago, Kathira said:

…I also agree that Midge seems to be based loosely on Joan Rivers…

An interesting article on Joan Rivers that shows a lot of parallels with Midge, including her meeting with Lenny Bruce - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/last-girl-larchmont

Yes, I too assumed Joan Rivers was a template for Midge, but seeing Rose Marie memoriams lately reminds me of how similar to Midge's jokes about men (especially the exes) were those of the character of Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke show. Sally was the hint of spice in an otherwise sanitized environment. 
Rose Marie's Sally Rogers—the tough-talking, behind-the-scenes funny woman—could also have been an inspiration for Suzy.
Or maybe I'm just seeing similarities because of RM being a comedienne of the time period and her recent passing bringing her to mind. 

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On 12/20/2017 at 9:22 PM, wendyg said:

All I can say is, I applied to college in 1970/1971, and no one *ever* suggested to me that I should pick a school because it was good for finding someone with good prospects to marry.

I come from a background very much like Midge.  I went to college in 1970 and it was very much expected I was going to find a husband while there.  (I did.  He's my ex.)

I'm enjoying this show but there are many things that do not ring true - anachronisms AND things that make no sense in Jewish families of the time like Midge and Joel's. #1 on my list - no Jewish family would evict their daughter-in-law and GRANDCHILDREN from their apartment.  Joel's parents would keep them there, if for no other reason than to keep those grandchildren close to them.  It's unrealistic that it looks like they haven't seen their grandchildren since Joel left.  Mr. Lady Lucy have a running commentary about "no Jewish family would . . .!"

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Reading the comparisons between Midge and Joan Rivers made me look for some of her stuff up on Youtube. Maybe I just chose the wrong clips, but I wasn't impressed. I found myself wishing that she had a Susie to tell her to wait out the laughs or whatever exact wording was used. She just kind of went to the next joke before even finishing the one she was telling.

On 01. 01. 2018. at 5:16 PM, Lady Lucy said:

I'm enjoying this show but there are many things that do not ring true - anachronisms AND things that make no sense in Jewish families of the time like Midge and Joel's. #1 on my list - no Jewish family would evict their daughter-in-law and GRANDCHILDREN from their apartment.  Joel's parents would keep them there, if for no other reason than to keep those grandchildren close to them.  It's unrealistic that it looks like they haven't seen their grandchildren since Joel left.  Mr. Lady Lucy have a running commentary about "no Jewish family would . . .!"

I don't knokw if Joel's mother was exaggerating, but she did mention about how rarely she saw the kids even before she knew about the split. And Moishe commented about the family not being at the temple. So it seems like they didn't see the kids that much before either. Why that is remains to be explained.

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4 hours ago, bijoux said:

Reading the comparisons between Midge and Joan Rivers made me look for some of her stuff up on Youtube. Maybe I just chose the wrong clips, but I wasn't impressed. I found myself wishing that she had a Susie to tell her to wait out the laughs or whatever exact wording was used. She just kind of went to the next joke before even finishing the one she was telling.

I vaguely remember Joan's act in the early years - she was fairly self-deprecating for a while. Then she started turning the snark on others, and at some point I started thinking she was more mean than funny (and it is a fine line, and mileage varies on that one).

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The content was definitely mean girl, but it was the delivery that grated even more. It's a small sample I saw, but she was speaking all over herself. Not much sense of timing. 

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