Sunday, December 9, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - A Television Gig Could Propel Midge's Career in 'Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 2.09 "Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy"

Susie lands Midge her first gig on television, but their victory is short-lived when they realize Midge is being punished for her past. Abe is increasingly unhappy in his dream job at Bell Labs while Joel continues to drown in work during late nights at Maisel & Roth.

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.

"Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy" was written by Daniel Palladino and directed by Daniel Palladino

Midge absolutely has a tendency of lashing out when she feels she has been disrespected. She has done so on a number of occasions throughout the series so far. And now, she is given a huge opportunity to perform on television for the first time. This could catapult her career to new heights. She has a plum performance spot as well. And yet, she is pushed to the end of the night because Sophie Lennon happens to be the celebrity spokesperson for this cause. Midge and Susie agree that they will not retaliate because that's what got them into trouble the last time they interacted with her. They managed to earn back some respect in the comedy industry despite being blackballed by Sophie and Harry Drake. Those two may not have as much influence in this profession as they believe. And yet, Sophie still has the sway to punish Midge during this telethon because she is close with everyone running the production. As such, Midge believes that she is performing to a crowd that isn't there. She understands that television is different than any other gig she has had. She has played for bad rooms before. This still has the potential to go well because she could impress people who just happen to be watching her even if she doesn't get that immediate response from them. However, there are certain rules for performing on television as well. She has to have a clean set. She can't be political at all. However, she decides to open her act by telling people to "Vote for Kennedy" simply because she believes that no one is watching. Even the cameramen are drinking on the job. They believe that their jobs are largely over for the night. All of the more elaborate performers have already gone. Midge is the last for the night. And yet, the control room is still watching. They notice right away that she is saying something political. As such, that could create a poor impression of her because she didn't follow the basic rules laid out for her. However, this is still fundamentally a story about Midge being able to win everyone over to her side with her comedy. She finds a way to build bridges that invite everyone to laugh along. Plus, this isn't a performance that is being seen only by a few people. There are still crowds watching this telethon. Some of them are doing so out of support of Midge. The folks at the Gaslight are proud of her. The girls from the switchboard finally understand her job. Even when Abe looks out the window, he sees a bunch of televisions turned to the channel watching his daughter perform. Even though all of this ends with new tension between Midge and Susie because Susie still pushes back against Sophie Lennon, it's still all being played as a beaming success for Midge because she just has the raw talent that everyone can like.

Of course, Midge's parents are watching along and have wildly different reactions. They see this as the proof that this is something that they have to take seriously now. They were never angry about Midge going out to comedy clubs and performing. However, they have internalized a lot of their feelings about this sudden change in their daughter's life. They were happy to talk about the telethon before knowing that Midge would be performing. After that, they shut down completely. They see it as nothing more than a scam that they shouldn't support at all. That proves that they aren't supportive of her career. They don't even have the same compassion that Moishe does for Joel in knowing that he needs to be doing something better than bailing his parents out of financial trouble. Joel's story of helping the family business recover has mostly occurred offscreen with Moishe catching the audience up on all of the changes here. But he recognizes that his son needs to be doing something more with his talents. That's why he hands him a check for $60,000. That money can absolutely be life-changing. Of course, it also seems like he is going to invest in Midge in the hopes of winning her back. That seems to be the direction all of this is going in. It comes at the same time as Benjamin wanting to meet Midge's children and potentially even propose to her. That seems fast but it could be a welcome development. He does see her perform after all too. He laughs along even though Susie calls him out for laughing at the easy jokes that aren't good enough for her star performer. Again, that may prove that Susie and Joel are the only ones who understand Midge. And yet, Midge still doesn't quite comprehend the consequences of what she is saying either. Sure, it's unlikely that she'll deal with any fallout from the telethon production staff. She will probably get a ton from Sophie though because of what Susie says to her on Midge's behalf. But again, all of that can be manageable. They have navigated it in the past. However, it may be more pressing if her parents have major concerns about her act. They are bound to have thoughts about what she says onstage. They haven't been interested in it before. But now, Abe is realizing that his life is completely imploding and Midge is partly to blame. She talked about his job while performing in D.C. That proved to be very dangerous because someone in her audience also has a security clearance and knows that Abe talked about things he wasn't suppose to. Noah is doing the same thing in order to give his family the heads up. All of this means that life for the Weissman family is in turmoil at the moment. Midge's career may only cause more tension in the future.