tek's rating: ½

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, on Amazon
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Caution: Spoilers!

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The whole show is very amusing, and it has a great regular cast as well as some great guest stars. The main characters are quite well-drawn, the relationships are interesting, the dramatic aspects are reasonably compelling. The historical details are very well done. And the series has been very well received by critics.

Season One
In 1958, Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is a Jewish housewife who is supportive of her husband, Joel's efforts to perform stand-up comedy at The Gaslight Cafe. He has an office job in a plastics company, and Midge is unaware that Joel is doing comedy as anything more than a hobby, that he wants to make a career of it. When Joel realizes she doesn't take it as seriously as he does, he leaves her, and eventually moves in with his secretary, Penny Pann. (It's unclear to me whether or not Joel had been having an affair with Penny before he left Midge, but it's a distinct possibility.) Midge ends up getting drunk and forcing her way onstage at the Gaslight to rant about her problems, and her rants are actually very funny. (In fact, throughout the episode it seemed quite clear that Midge is a very funny person just in everyday life, I mean the kind of funny that people generally aren't unless they happen to be a character on a sitcom with very good writers.) Anyway... her extemporaneous performance ends when she exposes her breasts and gets taken to jail. There she meets and befriends famous comedian Lenny Bruce, who will appear occasionally throughout the series. Then the talent booker from the Gaslight, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), bails Midge out of jail, and wants to become Midge's manager as a stand-up comic, something Midge had never considered, but soon becomes passionate about.

Midge moves in with her parents, a math professor named Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) and housewife named Rose. Midge and Joel share custody of their two young children (who are of no particular importance to the plot). And Midge eventually gets a job at a department store called B. Altman. Meanwhile, she works on developing her comedy act, which is based on her own life. But she always uses pseudonyms. Toward the end of the season, Midge meets a famous comedienne named Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), and learns that her stage persona (including a fat suit) is completely fake. Midge later exposes this in her own act, which gets her blackballed in the comedy circuit. Later, Midge and Joel reconnect at their son's birthday party, and end up sleeping together that night. The possibility arises that they may get back together for good, but the season finale leaves that uncertain. However, Susie calls in a favor from Lenny Bruce to get Midge one last chance to perform at the Gaslight. Her routine is very successful, and she finally calls herself "Mrs. Maisel."

Well, I've left out lots of details of plot development, but I think I got all the most important beats.

Season Two
Rose moves to Paris, and sometime thereafter Abe joins her there. They both enjoy their time there, but ultimately return to New York. A pair of thugs who work for Sophie Lennon's manager abduct Susie, apparently to kill her, but instead she befriends them. For a few episodes (comprising two months), Midge and her family vacation in the Catskills, and Susie follows Midge there to work on getting her comedy gigs in the area. One night, Abe discovers that Midge has become a comedian, and he doesn't take it well. He also learns that his son, Noah, works for the CIA, which he also doesn't take well. Also in the Catskills, Midge meets a doctor named Benjamin Ettenberg, whom she soon begins dating. Joel starts working for his father, Moishe Maisel (Kevin Pollack), trying to fix various problems with the company. He also dates lots of women, while still pining for Midge. Midge eventually reveals to the rest of her family that she's pursuing a career in comedy, which they don't take well. Midge and Susie go on a comedy tour for awhile. Moishe eventually gives Joel $60,000 to leave the company and pursue his own dreams. One night, he decides he wants to open a night club. Midge appears on a telethon, which is seen by a famous singer named Shy Baldwin (whom she had briefly met earlier), and he asks her to open for him on a six-month tour in both the U.S. and Europe. Sophie Lennon rather shockingly asks Susie to become her manager, which Susie doesn't tell Midge. Midge and Benjamin plan to get engaged, pending Abe's permission, but after agreeing to do Shy's tour, she realizes their relationship won't work out. Abe decides he wants to quit his job at both Bell Labs and Columbia University to return to his earlier passion for social activism. And I think those are all the really important developments this season. As always, the show is hilarious and amazing.

Season Three
Details coming whenever I get around to watching it.

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