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Season Two: Marvelous General Discussion

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I should have stuck to my guns and not binged the season because it was over too soon - and for some characters, not soon enough. The incessant bitching and drama from Suzie grated on me and then Joel and Abe.  Oy.

Benjamin seems to good to be true and they hardly know each other.  Zero chemistry and I don't expect he'll be around in season 3.   

Love Jane Lynch as Sophie.   I suspected she'd be strange but totally on her side.  Must be an unwritten rule to never trash talk another comic, even a bad one, so Midge deserves the backlash.

 Lenny Bruce is another highlight.

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12 hours ago, Razzberry said:

Love Jane Lynch as Sophie.   I suspected she'd be strange but totally on her side.  Must be an unwritten rule to never trash talk another comic, even a bad one, so Midge deserves the backlash.

 

I didn't love Jane Lynch as Sophie is season 1, but she seemed to do better for me in season 2.  Even though she didn't have many scenes in either season, they seemed to give her more depth this time around.  I am also glad they didn't just forget about her--which I thought they had until she showed up again.

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On 1/20/2019 at 8:22 PM, wendyg said:

AuntieMame: The name is Mohonk. My parents used to go up there for short vacations. Great place, though hardly cheap. Very old-world. (Among other things, no TV.)

Mohonk has changed dramatically since then. It has a world class spa now with an indoor pool, bar/lounge and tv rooms for watching- though not in rooms. Air conditioning too. Ice skating rink as well with a massive stone fire place.

Still primarily focuses on outdoors and nature. 

It an amazing spot and possibly my favorite place to go outside of NYC. It’s all inclusive so all meals, tips and almost all activities are included as well as children’s activities.

also Mohonk was founded by the Smiley brothers who were Quakers. It was decidedly different from the Borscht Belt Jewish resorts but many of the outdoor things were probably the same.

Edited by rose711

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Yes, I remember at least one of the Smileys - Virginia, I think, who once performed what I later realized was Anna Russell's routine on "How to Write Your Own Gilbert & Sullivan". It was funny enough as "The Hat Things", as Smiley billed it - but much funnier when Anna Russell did it. (Look on YouTube!)

It sounds like I would like it a lot less now.

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16 hours ago, wendyg said:

Yes, I remember at least one of the Smileys - Virginia, I think, who once performed what I later realized was Anna Russell's routine on "How to Write Your Own Gilbert & Sullivan". It was funny enough as "The Hat Things", as Smiley billed it - but much funnier when Anna Russell did it. (Look on YouTube!)

It sounds like I would like it a lot less now.

You can still have the same experiences but it’s definitely become more upscale in the past 10 years. The gorgeous outdoors and the lake remain the same. There is a lot of tradition there and they are celebrating the 150th anniversary this year.

It was never the same as shown at the Borscht Belt resorts in the sense of everyone joining in group activities. 

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Oh, no, I agree. There were always scheduled activities - hayrides, hiking trips, etc. - but it was always up to the guests whether to join in.

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On 12/30/2018 at 10:55 AM, debraran said:

Off that topic, am I the only one who wonders about birth control before the pill?I know men used (bad) condoms back then and there were messy diaphragms. The number of sexual encounters you see on this show and others of that period without a thought to it, makes me wonder how it wasn't a constant fear.

Just wondering why condoms are “bad”? (Not attacking you) Many men of the area used condoms (especially if they were single) and married couples used them too. (More than heteronormative couples do now because we have other options). In NY at this time a married woman of Midge’s social class would likely have a diaphragm from her doctor. Women used them because it was better than getting pregnant when you didn’t want to be.

 

@Mystery I too was yelling “what about Benjamin??!!” At the screen- because he’s way hotter than Joel and I like him. But I think Midge didn’t go to him because when her father “gave his permission” she realized she had not thought about Benjamin ONCE the entire time she was thinking about her new tour- she shouldn’t marry him and it’s over (we know it’s not really but it’s tv). I think Midge said “yes” to Benjamin because he’s hot and fun, and it’s EXPECTED she marry again. Now that she’s realized she doesn’t have to marry again she can have the career she wants she isn’t going to tie Benjamin down. I don’t think Benjamin would have a problem with her comedy career in the tri-State area, but I think he wants to get married to have a wife who’s home MOST nights, not away most nights. 

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45 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:
On December 30, 2018 at 10:55 AM, debraran said:

Off that topic, am I the only one who wonders about birth control before the pill?I know men used (bad) condoms back then and there were messy diaphragms. The number of sexual encounters you see on this show and others of that period without a thought to it, makes me wonder how it wasn't a constant fear.

Just wondering why condoms are “bad”? (Not attacking you

@Scarlett45, I assumed that by "bad," @debraran just meant that the condoms of that decade weren't as well made as they are now.
But, anyway, I first had sex (too young) in the 60s, and getting pregnant was a constant fear until I was either on the pill, or in a situation where I was okay with the idea of getting pregnant if/when other birth control failed, or in a situation where I wasn't having sex, or way past menopause.

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58 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

@Scarlett45, I assumed that by "bad," @debraran just meant that the condoms of that decade weren't as well made as they are now.
But, anyway, I first had sex (too young) in the 60s, and getting pregnant was a constant fear until I was either on the pill, or in a situation where I was okay with the idea of getting pregnant if/when other birth control failed, or in a situation where I wasn't having sex, or way past menopause.

Yes I was reading descriptions of them from beginning to today. Definitely BiG improvements :) 

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

@Scarlett45, I assumed that by "bad," @debraran just meant that the condoms of that decade weren't as well made as they are now.
But, anyway, I first had sex (too young) in the 60s, and getting pregnant was a constant fear until I was either on the pill, or in a situation where I was okay with the idea of getting pregnant if/when other birth control failed, or in a situation where I wasn't having sex, or way past menopause.

Oh I see!

My Grandmothers and great aunts used diaphragms, condoms and spermicide as their contraception. They complained that diaphragms were much easier for them as married women (easier to get). 

As a sexually active woman who’s 33 but not in a committed relationship, I’ve always feared HIV & herpes more than pregnancy. Small joys. 

2 hours ago, debraran said:

Yes I was reading descriptions of them from beginning to today. Definitely BiG improvements :) 

Ah- I believe they were thicker then, didn’t come in different sizes and weren’t made out of latex but rubber? When was latex invented?? My search says 1920, but I’m sure they’ve improved over the years. 

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43 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

I believe they were thicker then, didn’t come in different sizes and weren’t made out of latex but rubber? When was latex invented?? My search says 1920, but I’m sure they’ve improved over the years. 

I fell down a rabbit hole trying to figure this out myself. No luck..although I did find these facts.

  The first rubber condom was produced in 1855.
 A main advantage of rubber condoms was their reusability, making them a more economical choice in the long term. 
    In 1935, a biochemist tested 2000 condoms by filling each one with air and then water: he found that 60% of them leaked.
  The insult term scumbag was originally a slang word for condom. 😁

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8 hours ago, ChiCricket said:

I fell down a rabbit hole trying to figure this out myself. No luck..although I did find these facts.

  The first rubber condom was produced in 1855.
 A main advantage of rubber condoms was their reusability, making them a more economical choice in the long term. 
    In 1935, a biochemist tested 2000 condoms by filling each one with air and then water: he found that 60% of them leaked.
  The insult term scumbag was originally a slang word for condom. 😁

This is maybe too much info but lubricant came end of 50's. I was interested in the first ones. Yikes!

https://spafe.com.au/history-of-condoms/

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2 hours ago, LadyKenobi said:

More than Midge’s standup, I’m amused at the narrative Joel is being forced into when the character has specifically said and done the exact opposite with little pushback. He had no problem with Midge having a career as a comic but did not like having their sex life aired on stage. I think that’s fair. But Midge is probably too hurt to consider leaving that material on the table yet. That’s also fair. They both have valid POVs but are at an impasse right now. Very human.

Joel is not jealous or acting out of “privilege,” maleness, “patriarchy”, or “whiteness.” As a human being he does not want his personal life up on stage and that is understandable. If he were really jealous and wanted to quash Midge, he wouldn’t have come to her defense to their families, been excited for her gigs, or otherwise shown support. I am glad the show didn’t take the easy route and make him a “No wife of mine” guy. His sleeping around is gross and he shouldn’t do it, but the difference between that and his fury at finding out Midge is seeing someone seriously is that it was apparently understood between him and his dates that this was nothing at all permanent. He doesn’t have the right to be angry at Midge for the kids meeting Benjamin when it wasn’t her fault, but she was seeing him as a potential husband and the models were all clearly one-nighters.

I am an artist and my husband is extremely supportive and fine with even being joked about, but there are certain aspects of our lives he wants to keep private, so out of respect for him I do so. But I can completely understand why Midge is not ready to do this for Joel (I wouldn't!)

I think Midge IS Amy Sherman-Paladino, much as Lorelai was, which is why the characters are constantly being told how beautiful and amazing they are. Both are Mary Sues. 

The best human being in this entire program is Imogene for always being excited for Midge, loving Baby In a Drawer, and most of all forgiving and forgetting regarding the baby shower (although I'm not exactly sure why she got a baby shower for a third baby.) 

Sewell was a treat and yumtastic, although I resented his character basically existing as a prop for showing us how infallibly wonderful and irresistible Midge is. The actor who plays Lenny Bruce steals every single scene with his sexy pathos and sarcasm. 

Imogene is darling. One thing I thought was strange was that she was so excited about having the third baby and completing her three before thirty goal but her husband was going bonkers. He seemed to hate the idea that there would be 3 small children at home and was kind of panicking about having to support his growing family. I hope that is not a sign of trouble in their marriage.

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2 hours ago, qtpye said:

I hope that is not a sign of trouble in their marriage.

I think it's more a sign of what the show sees as the trouble with many marriages in that milieu: brave false fronts, and separate inner lives. No second thoughts expressed, no sharing of misgivings about the price of striving to conform and yet excel, of pursuing goals not of one's choosing. Midge and Joel, at any rate, do talk candidly about what matters most. 

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Hopefully my computer won't kick me off before I finish this one...

Midge; I want to be her, or at least have her body and closet.

Joel; A schlub who I couldn't stand, but have grown to not hate and maybe even like a little.

Wisemans; The island of calm in a sea of chaos. I love Shalhoub and Hinkle but found Paris boring. 

Maisels; The perfect foil to the Wisemans to whom appearances are very important thus taking Joel's money, outplaying the mah jong ladies, etc.

Suzie; Love her too, and the ying yang relationship with Midge.

Ben; Knew he looked familiar. I wish he'd had more to do.

Sophie; Found the character grating, but loved seeing the onstage vs. offstage persona. Love Lynch.

Lenny Bruce; I find this character confusing/boring. I wish there was more interaction between him and Midge.

Ultimately I love this show for what it is. A fantasy version of the past and great entertainment. A needed break from "reality shows". 

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I just binge watched the entire series and have some thoughts. Overall,  I think this is a great show that offers some really original content and perspectives. However, it is seriously flawed in preventable ways. The number one issue I have, and this is definitely an Amy thing, is that the characters always seem to talk at one another instead of with one another, and half the time no one else in the room cares. When a character stands up and says “I have an important announcement,” and no one else stops what they are doing, I have a problem with that. When A says something to B and B responds with a totally different topic, I hate that. When Abe followed Rose to Paris, he never once asked her about her feelings or what he can do to change (yes, he eventually figured it out, but they never talked). No one actually communicates on this show. It’s almost a deal breaker for me.

I don’t know if Joel is end game or not, but it was clear from the beginning he would be sticking around. We get his parents, his dad’s factory, his family home, his workplace, etc. That’s main character treatment. As a victim of infidelity myself, I have a hard time forgiving him. How can anyone expect him to remain faithful if they get back together? Another parallel to my life is that he is upset that she is talking about her life in public. Well, that’s too fucking bad. My ex tried to tell me I shouldn’t tell anyone—even my mother—that he cheated. I was to tell her our 30 year marriage “didn’t work out.” Because he didn’t want to look bad. Nope. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Getting cheated on and being walked out on is HER story, and she is entitled to do whatever she wants with it.

In contrast, Sophie’s story was not hers to tell. So it’s an act. So what? People buy tickets to see her do a schtick and they get what they pay for. Who cares if she tells the same jokes over and over? Who cares if she’s rich in real life? If someone gives you advice you disagree with, you are free to ignore it. Midge made such an effort to hide her career from her family and friends and told 19 different lies so her neighbors wouldn’t find out she was separated, but other people’s personal lives, yeah go ahead and out them. That kind of hypocrisy made me hate her a little.

As for Sophie herself, I can understand her frustration. Yale Drama wasn’t training vaudevillians, it was training Shakespeareans. If I were her manager, I would send her on auditions under a fake name. After all, no one knows what she looks like. I could see Susie doing this for her.

Susie is the most interesting and complex character on this show to me. She is a good person, despite the bravado, and much smarter that anyone gives her credit for. I just pray that the writers back off the man jokes. We get it, she dresses masculine. That confuses 1950s people. Now stop. Oh and it took me a full season to stop seeing Rosie O’Donnell every time she was on screen.

It was weird to me that Benjamin obviously hated the Catskills. He was kind of a dick when he was there but was so nice the second he left. They never addressed why, but of course that would require a character on this show to actually care about another character on this show enough to ask.

The show is gorgeous to look at. I know everyone loves the outfits. As for me, I am an avid glass collector and I love spotting MCM patterns such as Early American Prescut, Fire King jadeite, Blendo, and Pink Daisy Pyrex. I rewatch scenes just for the glass!

Let’s see, that else. Oh yeah, Luke Kirby? Hot hot hot. Dear lord.

Also, it’s pronounced Moy-sha. Not Moysh. This bugs me to no end.

And finally, I wish they had cast real Jewish actors. How hard would that have been? Imagine the outcry if they cast a white woman to play the lead in a show about a Latina comedian, and then cast more white people to play her parents. Are there no Jewish comedians who can act? That’s not to take away from Rachel, Tony, and Marin. But it’s a little offensive.

Fun fact: my parents met at a bungalow colony in “the country” where they went every summer.

Rereading the above, I realize it sounds a bit whiney. But don’t get me wrong—I am hooked on this show. Can’t wait for next season!

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5 hours ago, Law Mom said:

When A says something to B and B responds with a totally different topic, I hate that.

You are not alone in hating people talking over one another, going off on tangents, but this is what most of my conversations with my family sound like. 

I did agree with 90% of your post, @Law Mom.
But I don't mind that they have actors of different ethnicities playing Jewish characters. There's a long history of Italians playing Jews, and Jews playing Italians, and both playing Latinx characters. But I am now a senior citizen, so maybe I don't totally grok the nuances of cultural appropriation because my generation expected a post-racial society by now.
Plus, Rachel Brosnahan grew up in a Jewish neighborhood -- but she does look exactly like my Irish Catholic best friend from high school, heh.

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On 12/10/2018 at 1:40 PM, Mrs peel said:

The writers truly want us to forget she even has kids, because the Catskills episodes should have shown more with the children. 

The more I watched the show this season, the more I wondered why the writers made Midge a mother to begin with. There still could've been plenty of storyline with Joel leaving her and them NOT having kids. 

I just think the constant "what about the kids" that I feel when I watch this show has become an unnecessary distraction. Like I'm fine with suspending disbelief (a necessary talent with any ASP show), but this one is just too much.  It all could've worked without the kids. Although I will say Ethan's line "Yom Kippur is scary," was one of my favorites of the whole season. I LOL'ed at that one.

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21 hours ago, candle96 said:

The more I watched the show this season, the more I wondered why the writers made Midge a mother to begin with. There still could've been plenty of storyline with Joel leaving her and them NOT having kids. 

I just think the constant "what about the kids" that I feel when I watch this show has become an unnecessary distraction. Like I'm fine with suspending disbelief (a necessary talent with any ASP show), but this one is just too much.  It all could've worked without the kids. Although I will say Ethan's line "Yom Kippur is scary," was one of my favorites of the whole season. I LOL'ed at that one.

I think, for the time, Midge would have wanted 2 children for the “perfect” family.

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On 9/3/2019 at 12:17 AM, candle96 said:

The more I watched the show this season, the more I wondered why the writers made Midge a mother to begin with. There still could've been plenty of storyline with Joel leaving her and them NOT having kids. 

I just think the constant "what about the kids" that I feel when I watch this show has become an unnecessary distraction. Like I'm fine with suspending disbelief (a necessary talent with any ASP show), but this one is just too much.  It all could've worked without the kids. 

I think the point of the kids is to develop a constant underlying "what about the kids".  They are there to ultimately create the tragedy in the comedy that in this era Midge can't have it all.  

She's being set up as the female version of Lenny Bruce.  Lenny Bruce is seen as one of the greats, a major influence of the greats that would follow.  But his life was short and not easy.

I don't think this show is going to end with Midge triumphant and with a full life.  I am a 20 years later epilogue where Midge has fame but she's alone and her kids want nothing to do with her but one of them is working on a book and film about what a horrible Mother she was.  That or she has to give up her career for the kids.  That's why I think the kids are there.   

I think the kids also draw an underline to some of the backstory where Midge went to college and got a major that was basically training to be good at her someday future husband's work parties and that is never what she really wanted.  I think its deliberate to have it seem like she doesn't care that much about the kids rather than the usual stick the kids in the attic because they make plotting hard thing on TV.

Its highlighting that she is breaking out of the life that was expected of her.  Its just too bad she waited until after having kids to do it.

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On ‎12‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 4:20 PM, 2727 said:

Midge's manic pixie dream girl persona just got really old -- she manages everyone else's problems on the switchboard, she fixes all the makeup counter customers in under a minute, she insists on being the wedding planner for her friend, she charms the reclusive artist to get him to sell, she won the Catskills bathing suit contest 8 years in a row, etc. Give me a -- if I may quote Midge -- fucking break already.

I wondered that too!  Is Midge supposed to be a genius? I didn't understand how EVERY job could be done better by her.  And as the beauty contest, I call total BS on this... she's very cute but to win 8 years in a row would cause a LOT of complaints from that group. 

On ‎12‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 1:40 PM, Mrs peel said:

The writers truly want us to forget she even has kids, because the Catskills episodes should have shown more with the children. 

In the beginning, she leaves the baby alone in the car with the luggage while they go to the cabin.  Was this normal back then? (ie, he's safe in a car since he's strapped in?)

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On 9/30/2019 at 1:24 PM, CurlyATX said:

In the beginning, she leaves the baby alone in the car with the luggage while they go to the cabin.  Was this normal back then? (ie, he's safe in a car since he's strapped in?)

LOL!! Strapped in?! No, dear, we were not “strapped in” at any age in a car prior to the 70s. And, yes, leaving the baby asleep in the car (or just about anywhere) was acceptable, because why would you ever wake a sleeping baby?

This was discussed earlier on the Marvelous board, and might provide you an hour or so of reading hilarity or horror, depending upon your personal perspective.

But, briefly, yes, the analogy of children being treated like baggage is apt, and, while later trends toward “helicopter parenting” have come to be equally criticized, speaking from personal experience as both a child of the Marvelous era, and as a parent to the children of the following decades, it is always more beneficial to know where the children are, what they are doing, and whom they are doing it with, than to just have them quiet. 

Edited by shapeshifter · Reason: Stray word
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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

LOL!! Strapped in?! No, dear, we were not “strapped in” at any age in a car prior to the 70s. And, yes, leaving the baby asleep in the car (or just about anywhere) was acceptable, because why would you ever wake a sleeping baby?

This was discussed earlier on the Marvelous board, and might provide you an hour or so of reading hilarity or horror, depending upon your personal perspective.

But, briefly, yes, the analogy of children being treated like baggage is apt, and, while later trends toward “helicopter parenting” have come to be equally criticized, speaking from personal experience as both a child of the Marvelous era, and as a parent to the children of the following decades, it is always more beneficial to know where the children are, what they are doing, and whom they are doing it with, than that to just have them quiet. 

I had a slow day at work and went through a few of the topics... yes, lots of good reading.  My parents came here in the early 70s as immigrants so much of my understanding of parenting in the 50s/60s is limited to stories from my MIL.  But even my mom left me alone. 

On a side note- I had a very interesting discussion with a man (who's sort of a quasi step dad to a friend's 3 kids) about helicopter parenting.  I was telling him that while I am not helicopter-y, I find myself constantly worried that someone ELSE is going to view me as neglectful and call CPS.  Or, how if you co-parent with a divorced partner, the worry that something will happen "on your watch".  It reminds me of a throwaway line from Sex and The City where Miranda tells Steve that they are just basically making sure their kid stays alive until it's the next person's turn to watch him (like a game of hot potato).   My almost 9 year old and a friend wanted to scooter to our neighborhood school (4 blocks away) and my husband told me that I had to accompany them. It's 100 degrees now, so the answer was no.  

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3 hours ago, CurlyATX said:

basically making sure their kid stays alive until it's the next person's turn to watch him (like a game of hot potato)

That’s a wonderful parenting axiom to live by, IMO. 

On Maisel, there seem to be times when nobody’s watching the potato, but with 2 sets of grandparents and other extended family nearby, hopefully no tragedies will occur. 

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Unpopular opinion. I love Tony Shalhoub and he is an amazing actor. Monk is one of my all time favorites including the amazing acting chops of Tony. But I’m not a huge fan of his acting on the show.

To note, I’m a Catholic girl from New Mexico in a different generation, but my Jewish hubby from New York, who loves him also, is also disappointed (a different generation, but he’s heard things). However, I thought he was much better in season one than season two - especially when he saw Midge’s stand up at the other hotel - that part was awesome acting.
 

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8 hours ago, latetotheparty said:

Tony Shalhoub is great but Abe is so whiny he’s my least favorite character. He’s insufferable. 

Probably the worst was when he was actually upset that his son was more successful than him.

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