Friday, December 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Midge Begins the Tour with a Patriotic Performance in 'Strike Up the Band'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 3.01 "Strike Up the Band"

Midge performs at a USO show ahead of touring with Shy while Susie learns the ins and outs of contract negotiation. Abe and Rose grapple with their new financial situation. Joel finds the perfect spot for his new club until he discovers the space isn't as it appears.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"Strike Up the Band" was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino

This show always delivers when it comes to spectacle. It's the element it is always the most eager to embrace and showcase. The third season is no exception. The new season opens with Midge performing at a USO show. It's a fun and energetic space where everything happens so quickly. It articulates right away that she continues to rise in her career. She hasn't gone on tour with Shy Baldwin yet. In fact, it's awkward when she forgets that she has to introduce him at the end of her act. She is used to performing a certain way with her signature flourish. And now, she has a responsibility to tee up the performer that the crowd actually came to see. She remains a huge fan of his and doesn't want to do anything that may disrespect him. She maintains this joyous energy about the whole pursuit. She still holds the mentality that she can achieve anything so long as she continues to embrace her instincts while Susie is at her side. This season may put some tension in their relationship though. Susie remains engaged by Midge. She is the act that has brought her the most success. She may have the ambition to be a management entity now handling multiple clients. And yet, it's difficult for her to take that first step. Midge once encouraged her to do so. When it comes to the practical concerns of it all though, it is incredibly daunting. Susie wasn't expecting this offer from Sophie Lennon. It could be a huge opportunity for her. It could be the latest way Sophie is trying to ruin Midge's career. However, it showcases how Susie's passion for her clients is her most winning attribute. The world around her may not always show her the respect that she deserves. She may not have the luxury to pass up a chance like this. She needs to make a living as well. Midge has always been able to live comfortably. This season may try to explore the selfish privilege of the Weissman household. Abe didn't think through the consequences of leaving his job at Columbia. In fact, he realizes just how much Rose has been propping up their lives together. And yes, Midge may have a problem when it comes to the amount of clothing she has and the numerous costume changes she needs to make every day. But that's important to her. Susie knows that she can't win a fight over an outfit. That's crucial for this continuing to be a healthy and functional relationship. Susie is eventually honest with Midge about what's going on with Sophie. However, the show makes it one big distraction to ensure they can't have a genuine conversation about it. Instead, Midge is angry and doesn't quite know how to process it because she keeps getting pulled away. She may be pushed further and further away from the woman who has been by her side every step of the way. Susie is determined to negotiate the best contract for Midge with this tour. She doesn't quite know what she's doing. She hopes that she can eventually pay back the people who help her come up with a ballpark offer. Even that may just be her flailing around not quite knowing what to do. That may define so many of these characters right now. Abe is willing to see Lenny Bruce perform and even bail him out of jail. That may not fundamentally change him or offer him a new perspective on life. Meanwhile, Joel achieves his dream of owning a club. He just quickly runs into problems with the underground gambling happening in the basement. It's all very complicated and ensures that things may not always work out for these characters. There is always enough reason to be optimistic in this world. That's the joyous energy the show embraces so often. But these characters can be selfish as well. That is perfectly fine too even though it does create complications especially when they don't know how to explain their life choices to those they love. Midge expects so much from everyone else. She wanted Joel to call despite making it clear their hookup was a one time thing. She expects her parents to just accept that she has broken off her engagement to Benjamin. But it shouldn't be as easy as that mostly because the show states that loneliness may be common in comedy but it's also not healthy in the long run if the performer doesn't have someone at home to manage it all with compassion and understanding.