December 26, 2017

I watched all 8 episodes of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

I don't usually bother even trying to get interested in a TV series, so this is a high recommendation from me. Have you seen it? You can watch it (free) on Amazon Prime.

Here's the trailer:

73 comments:

Curious George said...

A show about a funny female comedian? So not based on a true story, eh?

KLDAVIS said...

Through 5 or 6 epsiodes at the moment, and the only one that didn't resonate was the one where she bombed on stage. I don't care to be that uncomfortable in my leisure time. Couldn't ever watch The Office, for example. Considering going back to watch Gilmore Girls, as the snappy dialogue in this has me hooked. Got a very Joan Rivers vibe from the lead, and it sounds like she was an inspiration for the role.

Ann Althouse said...

"A show about a funny female comedian? So not based on a true story, eh?"

It takes place in 1958. I've read that it's loosely based on Joan Rivers. I also thought of Phyllis Diller. From the Phyllis Diller Wikipedia page:

"In a 1986 NPR interview, Diller said she had no idea what she was doing when she started playing clubs and in the beginning she never saw another woman on the comedy circuit. With no female role models in a male-dominated industry, she initially used props and drew from her educational and work background as a basis for satire, spoofing classical music concerts and advice columns. She wrote her own material and kept a file cabinet full of her gags, honing her nightclub act. Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and Jonathan Winters were early influences, but Diller developed a singular comedic persona — a surreal version of femininity. This absurd caricature with garish baggy dresses and gigantic, clownish hair made fun of her lack of sex appeal while brandishing a cigarette holder (with a wooden cigarette because she didn't smoke), punctuating the humor with a hearty cackle to show she was in on the joke. At the time, Diller said, "They had no idea what I was. It was like—'Get a stick and kill it before it multiplies!'""

Ann Althouse said...

"Couldn't ever watch The Office."

Yes, that's me too. I cannot watch that show. It makes me feel too bad.

But "The Office" is a comedy and "Mrs. Maisel" is a drama about a comedian.

Hagar said...

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett were funny besides being accomplished actresses.

tcrosse said...

It's unlikely there will ever be a show about LaWanda Page or Moms Mabley. Sad.

MountainMan said...

Keep seeing this every time I log into Amazon on my TV, I may have to check it out. About the only thing the wife and I watch anymore are shows we stream on Amazon or Netflix.

My wife and I are partial to crime dramas, especially if they are British. We just finished the third - and unfortunately, last - season of "Broadchurch" last week on Netflix. It then suggested to us another crime series, "Happy Valley", which was new to me, had not heard of it. We just completed streaming the first two seasons - 12 episodes total - this past weekend. What a great series, maybe my favorite crime series of all time. About a tough-as-nails female police sergeant in West Yorkshire, her complicated and tragic family life, and the daily rigors of dealing with murderers, drug dealers, and other assorted criminals -without a weapon. We were hooked from the first episode and had a hard time going to bed at night, we just kept going from episode to episode. Fortunately it has been renewed for a third season, to come out in late 2018.

Meade said...

The scene when she showed her breasts made me feel a little sexually harassed (#methree). But somehow I got over it.

Whirred Whacks said...

Watched two weeks ago and loved it!

Bright and vibrant production values. Except for the comedy club, almost all of the scenes are brightly lit. In her house and her parents’ house all the lights are on full blast ALL OF THE TIME. It’s as though electricity was free back in the 1950s!

Ann Althouse said...

"Bright and vibrant production values."

Yes, the set design is my favorite part. So much detail. The childhood bedroom is very amusing. And B. Altman's (where I used to shop in the 1970s (because it was near the ridiculous office where I worked)).

Dad said...

MountainMan, agree on Happy Valley. For more of Sally Wainright and Sarah Lancashire, try "Last Tango in Halifax", which is superb, and "Scott and Bailey" which is sometimes superb.

Ann Althouse said...

It has production values like a Broadway musical. There's a heightened quality to the style of acting -- the tone of speech and the way they move around -- that makes you feel like they're supposed to go on to sing and dance.

Ann Althouse said...

I like Tony Shalhoub who plays the father. Very funny (while suffering).

Rick.T. said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Couldn't ever watch The Office."

Yes, that's me too. I cannot watch that show. It makes me feel too bad.

As with many series borrowed from the original British - looking at you 'House of Cards' - the American version is much inferior. Ricky Gervais was marvelous as David Brent who turned into Michael Scott and also Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart who turned into Frank Underwood in the American version.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The Trailer did not grab me. It pushed me away. Too American Hyper.

I prefer the Brits for reliably non-American non-over-hyped calm entertainment.
Plus - anything that reminds me that Lena Dunham might be lurking somewhere - is out.

Sean Gleeson said...

So, are the character’s comedy routines actually funny? Moreso than the parts I saw in the two-minute trailer, I mean. Because in that promo, her funniness seems to be very much an Informed Attribute — everyone else keeps laughing and going on about how hilarious the act is, but no actual hilarity is presented to the viewer, (A textbook case of Humor Dissonance.)

Rick.T. said...

tcrosse said...

"It's unlikely there will ever be a show about LaWanda Page or Moms Mabley. Sad.

Did somebody mention LaWanda Page? The old Dean Martin roasts are a TV treasure, the likes of which will never be seen again. Here she is lighting up everybody on the dais from Barry Goldwater to June Allyson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qRW1b2rTgs

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

But - congrats on finding entertainment that entertains. Not easy these days.

Rick.T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick.T. said...

Mountain Man asked about British Crime series:

'Happy Valley' is excellent, although we hicks in the sticks who rent DVDs and can't stream due to limited bandwidth have been left hanging for the second season to release forever. Sarah Lancashire is also a treasure in the BBC series 'The Paradise.'

Maybe the best series we've seen is 'The Fall.' Gillian Anderson - yes, that is her real accent - puts on a tour de force as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as the serial killer Paul Spector is right there as well. (No spoiler alert as we know who the killer is right away.)

'Luther' is excellent as just about anything with Idris Elba is. 'Death in Paradise' is a nice confection for several years but the latter years are not quite as good.

tcrosse said...

Here she is lighting up everybody on the dais from Barry Goldwater to June Allyson.


This is not representative of LaWanda's oeuvre. Her material was stunningly, hilariously filthy. I mean that in a good way.

Ann Althouse said...

"As with many series borrowed from the original British - looking at you 'House of Cards' - the American version is much inferior. Ricky Gervais was marvelous as David Brent who turned into Michael Scott and also Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart who turned into Frank Underwood in the American version."

I have the British version on DVD and I love Ricky Gervais in his podcasts, but I just cannot understand the speech on the TV show that was made for the British audience. It's too much of a job to listen to it, and really, I'd have to put on the closed captioning and read the darned thing. Wrecks the humor value.

Ann Althouse said...

"So, are the character’s comedy routines actually funny? Moreso than the parts I saw in the two-minute trailer, I mean."

No, but it doesn't matter that much. It's a drama/comedy about the character and her relationships and struggle to make it in a man's world. The on-stage part of it is less than 5% of the show, and she's working out her routines, sometimes failing. It's not about whether we'd laugh at her routine and want to watch a concert performance of this person.

You see events that happen that then become part of her routine, so you see how unpleasant life situations are transformed into standup material. It's more about the character's emotional path than the funniness of the jokes.

Ann Althouse said...

If you think some old comedian should have a TV show about her, why don't you write the television script? The only reason this thing about "Joan Rivers" exists is that Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote it up into a series of episodes.

KLDAVIS said...

For British crime drama, the spy procedural 'Spooks' (known at MI-5 in the US) can't be beat.

2yellowdogs said...

It's beautifully produced and wonderfully acted. Ann's right about the almost Broadway-esque quality of the production and Rachel Bresnahan is fantastic in the title role. Well worth the time to watch (and being Jewish certainly doesn't hurt).

tcrosse said...

If you think some old comedian should have a TV show about her, why don't you write the television script?

Such a script about the Chitlin Circuit is no job for an old white man. But the research could be fascinating, and casting such personalities as Pigmeat Markham and Tim Moore could be a challenge. In other words, it would take a better pen than mine.

Paco Wové said...

"For British crime drama, the spy procedural 'Spooks' (known at MI-5 in the US) can't be beat."

Words cannot express how much I hated the few episodes I saw of that show.

Darrell said...

I watched a few episodes when it first came out, but I didn't finish it --yet. It's got the rapid fire dialogue of the Gilmore Girls--which starts to grate after awhile. And the humor of the first episode started to drop off in each succeeding one. I don't know if it ever got better. You tell me.

victoria said...

I just love it. Watched all 8 episodes in 1 weekend. Can't believe I did that. Funny, sad, touching. Rachel Broshanan is just wonderful, as is Tony Shaloub. i have to give kuddos to Marin Hinkle, as the mom. She is truly brilliant.

Just a hint, i was and still am a huge Gilmore Girls fan.


Vicki from Pasadena

victoria said...

Though i have to agree that "Happy Valley" is one of the best series ever imported on Netflix. Just wish that Season 3 would happen. Gripping, riveting.


Vicki from Pasadena

William said...

Amazon Prime recommended that I watch The Rise of Catherine The Great. Amazon has better taste than me so I took up their recommendation. If you enjoy watching a woman triumph in a man's world, this series should be in your wheelhouse. The series has the added advantage of being based on the actual facts of Catherine's life. These improbable events actually happened........The show was made and produced in Russia by Russians. One of the few enlightened rulers in Russia's history turned out to be a woman and a German at that. Kind of interesting to watch how this Russian show downplayed her German heritage.....It's no Game of Thrones. Very little nudity, and the sword fights were inept and lacking in gore. Still, the scenes were filmed in Russian palaces and the costumes were authentic down to the buckles on the shoes. It looked real.......The woman who played Catherine was quite witchy and fun to look at. A combination of Michael Corleone and Scarlett O'Hara. The man who played her husband, the hapless and fatuous Pyotr, was extremely good. This is a character not based on any of the usual tropes assciated with princes. He wasn't Prince Charming or, alternately, vain and tyrannical. He was fatuous but just smart enough to realize his stupidity and the futility of his life. He was silly and privileged and, ultimately, tragic. It's an original role and not like anything you've ever seen before......As noted, all the improbable events actually happened, so it's not really a bodice ripper despite appearances to the contrary.

Fandor said...

On ACORN tv there is a wonderful crime series called HELPPO ELAMA aka EASY LIVING from FINLAND.
Briefly, the story is about Tapio, a family man deep in debt and married to a financially irresponsible woman he cannot control. To avoid disaster, he starts doing questionable jobs for a career criminal Things unravel when his teenage son and daughter get involved. The star is Carl-Kristian Rundman, a Finnish version of Brian Cranston and Clint Eastwood. The rest of the cast is excellent. With subtitles.

Megthered said...

Tried watching the first episode, but didnt enjoy it enough to finish it. If a show doesnt grab me within the first ten minutes, I'm done. There are too many things to do and my free time is precious, so I wont waste it. Thats what happened with Stranger Things. I couldn't get into it.

Clyde said...

The series that I'm really looking forward to watching is Season 3 of "The Man In the High Castle." The first two seasons were excellent.

Clyde said...

I also really liked "Comrade Detective." Amazon comes up with some pretty good originals.

eddie willers said...

A suggestion I'll make is a wonderful British comedy written/produced/directed etc. by the guy who had the Rainn Wilson/Dwight Schrute role in the original British version of The Office...Mackenzie Crook.

It's a slight comedy about two guys (the other played by the marvelous Toby Jones) who are obsessed with Metal Detectors. Thus the name of the series (there are two short seasons) is called The Detectorists.

Wonderful....simply wonderful.

(You can view it on Netflix)

DanTheMan said...

>The series that I'm really looking forward to watching is Season 3 of "The Man In the High Castle." The first two seasons were excellent.

I liked Season 1. Season 2 turned into "Guess Who is a Time Traveler", so I gave up on it....

FullMoon said...

Fandor said... [hush]​[hide comment]

On ACORN tv there is a wonderful crime series called HELPPO ELAMA aka EASY LIVING from FINLAND.


Netflix also. Not bad.

FullMoon said...

Maybe the best series we've seen is 'The Fall.' Gillian Anderson - yes, that is her real accent - puts on a tour de force as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as the serial killer Paul Spector is right there as well.

Set in Ireland. One of the best.
"Spiral", French series pretty good if you speak French.

walter said...

Based on Meade's observation, might check it out.
I hear Clay Travis gives it 3 thumbs up.
I won't watch the trailer..they tend to show too many highlights.
I like to watch films and television with as little info as possible...let it unfold as directed.
But I can last longer than 10 minutes ;)

Ken B said...

I like it. Some very sharp dialogue and a great look. It’s a bit wayward dramatically at times but has enough virtues to compensate. She has a distractingly good figure. That is actually an implausibility in the story. She wants a job, and no one suggests model?

Jon Burack said...

"Rachel" in House of Cards was the only character I ever cared one bit about. The rest were a complete bore, aside from being ludicrously implausible in the extreme. I am glad the actual Rachel Brosnahan has a role that measures up to her talent. Very enjoyable show.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

I am glad that you're enjoying the show. And I would hate to take anything away from that enjoyment. But the show is just a disaster in terms of authenticity. (You know how one never knows just how incompetent and ill-informed the media is until one reads a story that is touches up on one's area of expertise? One never knows just how awful the TV and movie biz is until they make a movie about your milieu. "Punchline" was historically bad and terribly inaccurate and it reinforced a bunch of mistaken ideas people had about comedians and comedy. This show does the same and may be worse.) We watched one episode and I can actually see for miles because my eye muscles are super strong now from all the eye-rolling.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

"Are the character’s comedy routines actually funny?"

That would be almost impossible, and not because she's a woman. Comedy, especially standup, is of the moment. Even if the jokes aren't about current politics or pop culture, they don't generally age well. A decade, a year, a month, even shorter periods of time can drastically erode the value of a joke.

"Too soon" is actually the reverse of reality when it comes to comedy.

FleetUSA said...

For now I'm using my Amazon Prime to watch the series Harry Bosch. Tough cop mystery, old style without frills. 3 seasons!

Ficta said...

Speaking of Amazon Originals: I absolutely loved Patriot, but, apart from only a couple of TV critics, I'm not sure anyone else did. It's very dark and very funny, and beautifully photographed and very.. unusual. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone but if you like Wes Anderson, the Coens, or, especially, Hal Ashby, give it a try, there's not anything else like it out there.

rehajm said...

The Crown and The Grand Tour now. Man in High Castle later. Mozart I the Jungle I watch but wouldn’t recommend.

Sydney said...

I second the recommendations for The Detectorists and Catherine the Great. Loved them both. I have not watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel. Like others, I was put off by the trailer. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

I clicked on Informed Attribute and Humor Dissonance, and these seem to be almost insurmountable problems with trying to portray that, but as Althouse said, it doesn't matter when it's a drama about comedy. A movie about a great fictional painter or composer would do well to display as little of the painting or the music as possible, and could still be a worthwhile piece of art in itself. The movie Swingers had the advantage of a main character who was a comedian but who never actually said anything funny.

Rick.T. said...

Fandor said...

"On ACORN tv there is a wonderful crime series called HELPPO ELAMA aka EASY LIVING from FINLAND."

Ah. Now if you like Scandinavian TV, I can recommend the first two of 'The Bridge' ('Bron/Broen') crime series, not to be confused with - again - a US remake recently. We also liked 'Borgen,' starring Sidse Babett Knudsen who was also in the first season of "Westwood' but not quite as much.

Rick.T. said...

By the way, as a side note, I am sensing a conspiracy on the part of Netflix to discourage the DVD subscribers. Recently a number of series are suddenly showing long for even seasons that are a few years old like 'Treme' or 'Lark Rising to Candleford.' While just released DVD's have always taken a while to free up, this seems new and very troubling.

We pretty much gave up Hollywood movies a year ago and so are left with the various BBC and cable shows on DVD as entertainment.

walter said...

According wiki, Rachel was born in Milwaukee.

tcrosse said...

By contrast, another series about the life of a stand up comic, Seinfeld, was all about nothing.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

"By contrast, another series about the life of a stand up comic, Seinfeld, was all about nothing."

And was far more accurate, at least as concerns the life of a comic offstage. (And, in early episodes, at least, the snippets of Jerry onstage had no glaring accuracy problems.)


Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

"Even if the jokes aren't about current politics or pop culture, they don't generally age well."

While making generalizations is risky business, I will say that a joke, if written in a particular way, will last as long as you want them to. And get the desired response for a very long time, if need be.

A comic who works in the set-up/punchline or one-liner style can create jokes that are very durable. And if properly crafted, they do not show age. They are, in short, timeless.

Most good comics are aware of a joke's age and are acutely aware of the point at which it is no longer usable.

A coupla weeks ago, I accidentally went into a joke that I hadn't done in three or four years (a verbal cue sent me down the path and my unconscious brain took over briefly) and it got a tremendous response.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

"By contrast, another series about the life of a stand up comic, Seinfeld, was all about nothing."

Seinfeld's movie, "Comedian," is the best movie ever made about standup. Accurate and fascinating.

hayek said...

If you are in to humor consider the drop dead funny Australian production about a reprobate barrister. The series is “Rake” and can be found on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

John henry said...

Judy tenuta

Ellen digeneris (when she did standup in the 80s)

Rosie odonnell 30 years ago before she went off the rails

Mo gaffney

Joan rivers

Carol Lieffer

Gilda radner

Jane curtin

In the 80s there used to be hundreds of funny women on tv

I never did understand why some found Lucille ball funny.

John Henry

John henry said...

Judy tenuta

Ellen digeneris (when she did standup in the 80s)

Rosie odonnell 30 years ago before she went off the rails

Mo gaffney

Joan rivers

Carol Lieffer

Gilda radner

Jane curtin

In the 80s there used to be hundreds of funny women on tv

I never did understand why some found Lucille ball funny.

John Henry

John henry said...

There are 2 great specials about Jerry seinfeld on Netflix

In one he goes back to the clubs and explains how he got started. I think it is called jerry before seinfeld.

The other follows him for a year as je develops a completely new 1 hour set.

I liked both a lot but the second I thought was the best.

I give both 5 stars out of 5

John Henry

Scott said...

I just finished watching all eight episodes, ending at about 6:20 ET today. It had laugh-out-loud moments in every episode. A lot of the dialog wasn't period (glaring example: Susie, Midge's dykeish manager, referring to the guys in the record store as "nerds") but these kinds of errors didn't take much away from this fine series. Thank you, Ann, for recommending it.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Comedy is "of the moment?" (I sure hope you don't think we do an entirely different 45 every time up there on the stage.)

tcrosse said...

Topical humor is "of the moment", but that's only a small subset of comedy. The good stuff never gets old.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

I watched the premiere before the 7 remaining episodes came out and really enjoyed it. Prime's got some great programming.

Once the Republicans succeed in throttling the internet at the claws of the horrible cable monopolies I fear this sort of competition for good content from non-cable companies will dwindle. Thanks, Republican Internet Throttlers!

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Since we're doing random reccos, The Bureau on Amazon was bingeably entertaining, as is The Same Sky on Netflix. Neither is prime LeCarre but they're both better than 90% of the crap out there.

Saint Croix said...

thanks for the rec, AA!

I prefer comedies about dramas, though.

A.C.O.D. and The Slammin' Salmon are two Christmas gifts we're still waiting on.

Amazon is on my naughty list right now.

Saint Croix said...

My wife and I are partial to crime dramas, especially if they are British.

Ripper Street is really good.

Also I'm finding myself addicted to Murdoch Mysteries

Both of these are about cops in the late 19th century. The former is set in London and the latter is in Toronto. The first is dark and the second is light but they're both quite good.

Saint Croix said...

The Office is too mean for me, although I haven't seen the British version.

The funniest thing Ricky Gervais has ever done is Ghost Town.

He dies for eight minutes and then comes back to life and after that he sees dead people. Also the funniest dentist movie ever. Gervais is hilarious in this. Nobody can hate humanity like he can.

tcrosse said...

Also I'm finding myself addicted to Murdoch Mysteries

One episode of Murdoch Mysteries has Wilfred Laurier, whose picture graces the Canadian $5 bill, come to the police station to thank Murdoch. The desk sergeant doesn't recognize him, even though he's the PM of Canada. The payoff is that the desk sergeant is played by Stephen Harper, who was the current PM of Canada.

Saint Croix said...

One episode of Murdoch Mysteries has Wilfred Laurier, whose picture graces the Canadian $5 bill, come to the police station to thank Murdoch. The desk sergeant doesn't recognize him, even though he's the PM of Canada. The payoff is that the desk sergeant is played by Stephen Harper, who was the current PM of Canada.

Cool!

Yet another British crime drama I enjoy is Death in Paradise. They apparently kill off the detective in season three (because the actor left the show to play Dr. Who) which I really hate because I liked him.

Saint Croix said...

Death in Paradise is more like a crime comedy.

DimWhit said...

Thanks for the recommendation. We are quite tickled. My wife, Jewish, grew up on the upper, upper west side during this period, so all the characters resonate strongly with her. Tony Shalhoub is a favorite of mine....