Wednesday, December 5, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Midge Aspires to Keep Her Stand-Up Career a Secret in 'Mid-Way to Midtown'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 2.02 "Mid-Way to Midtown"

Midge and Susie continue building Midge's standup career despite Midge's reluctance to tell her family and friends. Abe and Rose enjoy a new lifestyle. Joel offers some business advice to his parents and makes an effort to do right by Midge.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"Mid-Way to Midtown" was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Midge has wanted to keep the various aspects of her life separate from one another. There is her performing career as a stand-up comedian. Then, there is her home life with Joel and her parents. She performed under a stage name so that no one from her personal life would be able to recognize her. That's still a terrifying thought for her. When she sees an interview Susie has done on her behalf in the paper, she fears how people close to her will react because she didn't tell them the news herself. Joel was the only person who discovered that she was really talented in this regard. And yes, Susie is absolutely right to say that Midge's parents are a little naive for not thinking it's suspicious that their daughter goes out every night to place's unknown. However, they are still in Paris. Midge has a life to herself throughout this episode. And yet, her personal life keeps creeping into her performances. Susie is staying at Rose and Abe's apartment. She is breaking the rules laid out by Midge. Imogene is startled to find her there and no one she actually recognizes. She prides herself on knowing everything about Midge. And now, her best friend is keeping this massive secret from her. She's not even offering a good enough explanation for why she and Joel aren't getting back together. Midge makes these promises that she will tell the people in her life about her new career as soon as possible. But she hasn't done so yet. When her parents do return to the city, everything goes back to normal with them being blissfully ignorant about her. Instead, Midge gets right back on the stage for a paying gig where she once again makes fun of her fellow comics. That was a routine that almost destroyed her career last season. She exposed the secrets held by Sophie Lennon. That infuriated Harry Drake to the point that Susie is now living at the Gaslight instead of staying in her cramped apartment. And now, Midge is back to doing it again because she has a new identity. She's also upset because she kept getting bumped later and later into the night at this mid-way to midtown club. Moreover though, this is something that the other comics have been doing as well. They all told jokes about a female comic coming up to perform for the crowd. But that also shows how they have the ability to do so because they are punching down. Midge is targeting the people who are actually making money for this club. Midge doesn't have loyal fans or fame yet. That's the next step for her career. That means she is going to have to talk about what she does. She is incredible when she just does a stream of consciousness monologue about her observations of her immediate environment. That's a strong and consistent routine of hers. However, she's still learning how to build her career without damaging the people who can open doors for her in the process. Elsewhere, it's so romantic to see Rose and Abe's life in Paris together. It seems like they are truly capable of being a happy family in the city. She left because she didn't feel appreciated in New York. And now, they have easily fallen back into a wonderful routine. But again, Abe sees it all as a vacation. This isn't home for him. It was always just a break away from their reality for a little bit. Rose comes around to that understanding as well. She accepts the depressing life she had. She doesn't pay attention to the details of it though. But it's also clear that Abe has put in the work to ensure that things are different this time around. That too is very much appreciated and will probably keep their marriage strong.