Saturday, December 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Midge Runs Into Her Parents and Lenny Bruce While on the Road in 'It's Comedy or Cabbage'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 3.05 "It's Comedy or Cabbage"

Midge runs into an old friend in Miami. Abe grows frustrated with his beatnik friends while Rose reaches her breaking point with Shirley.

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 next episode of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"It's Comedy or Cabbage" was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino

This season started with Abe and Rose believing that Lenny Bruce was the reason why Midge called off her engagement to Benjamin. His words may have inspired her to take action. However, that was the extent of his role in that decision. Joel was the man she slept with instead because she wanted to feel comfortable and in love in that moment. And yet, Lenny has proven to be inspiring to Midge on a number of occasions. She is delighted to see him perform. She views him as a true artist making a stand against something that matters. He is provoking conversations with unique commentary that should actually resonate with audiences. He may upset people. His act may not always leave the audience in laughter. In fact, it may make them more contemplative about their lives. And yet, that remains inspiring to Midge. She jumped at a chance to be in comedy because of that inspiration as well as the host of problems that Joel contributed to the end of their marriage. He also played a role in her leaving Benjamin. As such, there has always been the tease that something more could happen between Lenny and Midge simply because they understand each other. They have the same sense of humor. Midge is nervous about performing in front of her parents for the rest time. Rose and Abe have seen her act before. They didn't think she was funny. They thought it was offensive and unbecoming. However, this trip to Florida is a nice salvation for them from the horrors of living with Moishe and Shirley. They have never gotten along with Joel's parents. They have put up with them even long after the kids separated. It's certainly amusing to watch those characters bounce off each other in increasingly broad ways. Lenny too served as an inspiration for Abe this season. He may not like Lenny's comedy routine. However, he saw the value of starting a paper with actual merit to its stories. Sure, that has quickly spiraled out of control for him in a way where it's hard to make sense of any of it. It devolves until it's just Abe holding a gigantic newspaper that he can't understand. That's his breaking point. Rose's comes when Shirley is yelling in the middle of the street. But again, it's surprising what behavior can lead to major revelations about what people are willing to embrace in the world. Rose and Abe may be willing to see their daughter's show now knowing that it's better than anything else they could be doing. The Florida heat and humidity may be getting to everyone. However, it still comes across as preferable to whatever else is going on. That is a massive relief. This destination showcases that Midge has grown comfortable with the tour and is just as strong as ever before in her career. She is proud of the work she is doing onstage. Sure, she is largely changing it up every night. The show is doing the same with Shy's set. It has to keep everything fresh and entertaining even though tours can drag eventually. Midge hasn't felt that yet. She still feels excited and inspired. When she runs into Lenny again, she wants to know what he thought of her set. The answer was always going to be positive. Again, the two of them simply understand each other's sense of humor. The point of their time together is showing just how close they can be and how nice that can feel. They may have a tendency to make jokes about the various things that happen in their lives. But it's also nice to feel that comfort and security with someone. The show recently suggested that Midge and Joel may still have something together. That rightfully imploded quickly with this episode delving further into Lenny and Midge. They don't sleep together. They simply have a blast performing for Miami After Dark. It's a wild and crazy variety show that still plays host to an intimate moment between them. Something more could happen. Midge chooses not to. It's a moment of confidence. Lenny continues to present as an absolute gentleman. However, there is pain on his face as well. There remains the sense that something more could happen. It's a promise at this point. It may be a slow building development. That reflects a different storytelling sensibility in the narrative. The show takes the time to point out the reasons why the audience should care. Yes, it can earn the absurd laughs that come from Midge teaching Susie how to swim or Sophie learning how to open a door again. But it's much more powerful to see things slow down and actually build to the point where the audience is just as engaged in what happens as the characters. In the moment, we too can feel the pressure but also respect Midge's decision based on everything else going on in her life. It's a strong moment and easily a highlight in the season so far.