Friday, April 14, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - A New Job Tests Midge's Skills as a Comedy Writer in 'It's a Man, Man, Man, Man World'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 5.02 "It's a Man, Man, Man, Man World"

It's Midge's first day at her new job. Anybody know The Caisson Song?

"It's a Man, Man, Man, Man World" was written by Daniel Palladino and directed by Daniel Palladino

The show has always led with the inherent promise of Midge accomplishing many things in the world of comedy. It wasn't some glimpse into the future that delivered that certainty. Instead, it was merely the way in which the storytelling conducted itself. Midge believed in it wholeheartedly. It wasn't until the hypothermia that she seriously thought about quitting. That motivated Susie to take action. Midge has a brand new job writing for The Gordon Ford Show. It's merely a stepping stone to the next great achievement in her illustrious career. The highlights are shared through a segment on 60 Minutes. This season is intent on actually showing what the future becomes for Midge. It's more than a promise now. It's actual reality. Esther has complicated feelings towards her mother. She lies on camera to further enhance the illusion of a perfect life. It was hardly anything but that. In fact, the segment ends with Midge declaring the protection of children as her steadfast motivation. That's far from the mentality she displays when she's starting her career while her children are still young. That sets up the tension that runs through those glimpses of the future. It also comes with the promise of some immense falling out between Midge and Susie. That's devastating to hear given how strong their partnership has been over the years. They have always been supportive. They uplift each other's career aspirations. Sure, it makes sense that a season eventually produced a disagreement between them that threatened all they previously cared about. However, it's portrayed as something far off in the future. It has no impact on the 1961 story. Midge calls Susie in the middle of the night because she has a sudden realization about her wardrobe. Fashion means so much to her. Susie ultimately produces a winning outfit for Midge's first day. She does so because she doesn't really care. Tension is absolutely present within this dynamic. Susie sees Zelda as the only person in the Weissman household who appreciates her and is considerate when putting her out. That's part of her hospitality role. It's also just plain compassion. This family is incredibly weird and awkward. Abe needs confirmation about a sexual advance. He never believed people could be romantic before seven at night. That has always been his internal clock. That's how he has conducted himself. As such, he believed everyone else functioned the same way. Not everyone is like him though. This family is very particular. Success is still guaranteed for Midge. That's on the horizon. It's somewhat disappointing that the show will overwhelmingly be about her struggle getting to that breakthrough. Her successes are nothing more than a summary in an interview later on. The weight of emotions from these relationships are still present. They come across in that segment. That highlights how the interpersonal dynamics are ultimately much more important than whether or not the world believes Midge is funny.

Midge knows she is a skilled comedian. Her material is observational humor. That makes it ironic when she doesn't observe something blatantly obvious. She has no clue who has been taking care of her children for months. Ethan and Esther light up Zelda and Janusz's lives. Meanwhile, none of the Weissmans even know who Janusz is. They weren't concerned at all about a stranger in their apartment. That's typical behavior from them. Midge's new job is taxing because she doesn't know what's expected of her. She falls into this world where the writers already have a routine. Gordon may not always like their jokes. However, they know precisely what to deliver. This is a new form of comedy. Midge feels the pressure to impress immediately. She has to prove that she is funny. It's more than that though. The show reaffirms that fact in the face of those who question her talents. The writers see her as the disruption that changes behavior around the set. Suddenly, Gordon returns to the bar where he was previously feuding with the owner. As such, the writers have to find a new place to unwind after work. They need that release. Midge tries to fit in. She had thoughts about how this experience would go. She ultimately delivers her joke during her regular set. It kills in the room. Again, it's her professing herself to be funny. At this point, the audience already knows that. The humor should speak for itself. Instead, Midge is driven to prove it herself. She feeds off the laughter. In this new job, she's not the one receiving that high. She's writing for someone else. Gordon ultimately has to deliver these jokes. He needs to be comfortable with them. It's a lot of pressure to perform. That's why he has writers helping craft the monologue. It doesn't just come to him in the spur of the moment. The show is heavily produced. Abe and Rose didn't realize that either. They were simply charmed by this man. That was enough to earn their attention. Midge works harder. She knows she is capable of impressing everyone she meets. However, that isn't destined to form lasting relationships. Her bond with Susie is only meant to work for a short time. Her bond with her children will always be contentious. The family is chaotic. That's true no matter where she goes. She looks out for people in her very particular way. It's easy for her to fall in love too. Those relationships only last briefly as well. That's the pattern of her life. It's all being put on display so the audience finally understands the larger picture. Midge was charmed by Sylvio at one point. His apology is equally chaotic and amusing. It's the kind of sequence this show loves to produce. It may offer something more. It may not be any more substantial than what has already occurred. It's better to remain in the moment to see how actions inform who these characters are destined to be. The career details matter when looking back. The show argues it's simply more engaging to be in the midst of the hustle where those certainties are only offered to those from afar. The ending is known. Now, the show needs to present a reason for why the struggle remains just as captivating without feeling pressure to reassert the same facts that have been true from the beginning.