Tag Archives: Rachel Brosnahan

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 3 was mostly excellent, and the funniest season yet. And the N.Y. Times with a total copout in Dem Presidential endorsement choice

It’s pretty rare for a TV show to have its funniest season in Year 3.

Usually the best and most amusing shows are great right out of the gate, like “Cheers” or “All in the Family” or “The Simpsons.” (“Seinfeld” is a giant exception here, as it didn’t really hit its stride until Season 3 or 4.)

But my wife and I just finished binge-watching Season 3 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and this is going to sound weird, but it might not have been the best season of the show, it was definitely the funniest.

That’s because the two leads of the show, comedian Midge Maisel and her acid-tongued manager, Susie, are absolutely fantastic and have amazing chemistry. Rachel Brosnahan (Midge) and Alex Borstein (Susie) are absolutely perfect together, in a way that very few sitcom duos are.

Their rhythms, their physical comedy, their mannerisms, it all just works perfectly in concert with each other, and in Season 3, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” puts them together in many, many situations.

I will try to be as spoiler-free as I can because i know some people haven’t watched yet, but it has been out for more than a month now so I feel like I have some leeway.

Anyway, Season 3 is terrific mostly, and uneven in spots, and altogether confusing in others, just like the first two years. “Mrs. Maisel” isn’t a perfect show, but it’s gorgeously filmed, written with the kind of crackling dialogue we’ve come to expect, and acted wonderfully, not just by the two leads but by everyone involved.

This season mostly takes place on the road, as Midge is opening up for a Harry Belafonte-like singer named Shy Baldwin. We see so many Susie-Midge hijinks, like Midge teaching Susie how to swim, and learning how to do a “weird ask” for a touring contract, and too many great comedic moments to mention.

Midge is adjusting to her new life as a quasi-star, as Susie clashes with Shy’s manager (the always-awesome Sterling K. Brown, from “This is Us”) and has troubles with her other client, Jane Lynch’s Sophie Lennon.

There are heartbreaking moments this season, and hilarious ones (Midge’s father Abe’s interactions with his new beatnik friends is a delight) and a slightly surprising ending.

There were some downsides, although honestly this was the least offensive Joel season. The tour takes way too long to get going, as we go two full episodes before finally having Midge and Shy start the tour.

And there are so many new characters that it’s hard to keep track of them all,  although we so enjoyed Liza Weil (Paris Geller from “Gilmore Girls!”).

Still, it is still a show I enjoy very much, and if the whole show was just Susie and Midge getting into adventures, I’d sign on in a minute.

Couple other “Maisel” thoughts…

— I noticed this at the time but couldn’t put my finger on it until a few days after we were done watching, but if you’re a “Gilmore Girls” fan you’ll know what I’m talking about. Lorelai Gilmore and Max Medina’s relationship/breakup is exactly the same as Midge and Benjamin. Exactly. The. Same. It’s like Amy Sherman-Palladino thought it worked so well the first time, let’s do it again. Here’s the thing: Lorelai’s breakup with Max made no sense and was explained badly, and the same thing happened with Midge and Benjamin. Much like with Joel on “Maisel,” she just has a blind spot for certain aspects of a show.

— There’s a 15-minute montage late in the season that is just spectacular. I don’t know how many takes it took, but it was fantastic.

— Finally, the biggest problem with the Aaron Sorkin show “Studio 60” was that the sketch comedy stuff inside the show wasn’t funny. Here, the jokes Maisel tells on stage ARE funny, so it’s much easier to believe she could be a star.

**Next up today, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” came back Sunday night for the first episode of a new season, and my expectations were low. Last season was so bad, really the worst in the show’s history by far, so I was convinced Larry David had run out of funny ideas.

But damn if Sunday’s episode wasn’t terrific, and now I’m hoping for more. Anyway, one of the brilliant running themes of the show is Larry says things in social situations no one else does, because they’re too afraid or too polite. So Seth Meyers thought it would be funny to put David into different social situations on his show and see him do what no one else would.

This was pretty funny, especially the last one.

Eight 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are seen in a combination from file photos (L-R top row): U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders. (L-R bottom row): Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. REUTERS/Files – RC1E7656A8D0

**And finally today, I defend the New York Times a lot because it’s the best newspaper in America, but I really have to take it task today for the idiotic double-endorsement for the Democratic nomination for President it announced Sunday night.

The Times did this huge buildup and fanfare through its TV show “The Weekly,” showing us all the candidate interviews they did, and taking us inside the editorial board’s process of how to decide who to endorse (let me pause for a minute here and say I think it’s wildly premature for the newspaper of record to endorse a candidate this early in the process, but hey, it’s their right).

So they go through this whole rigamarole, and they decide… to endorse TWO candidates. Yep, they were split between Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, couldn’t choose between them, and because these are “unconventional” times, they chose two people.

“Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration,” the Times wrote, with Warren of course the radical. “If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.”

You know what I say to that? Bullcrap. There’s one person that’s going to get the nomination, not two. The idea that you’re proposing that two people are equally the right choice is wishy-washy journalism at best, an equivocation on one of the most important decisions of our lives, politically.

Now, does the NYT endorsement matter that much anymore? Probably not. But choosing two people seems to be a giant cop-out to me.

Season 2 of “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was solid, until the last five minutes. Snoop Dogg does NHL play-by-play and it’s awesome. And the new Gillette ad is fantastic

You may remember I was very, very enthused when “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” debuted on Amazon Prime in 2017. Set in late-1950s New York, it starred Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a Jewish housewife with two kids who, in the first episode, impulsively gets up on stage at a comedy club her husband performs at, when he announces he’s leaving her for another woman.

Filled with wonderful acting and great scripts from one of my all-time faves, Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Mrs. Maisel” got huge plaudits from fans and critics.

So me and the wife were very excited to start watching season 2 a few weeks ago, even though we’d heard it wasn’t quite as good in its sophomore year.

Finished it the other night, and a spoiler-free review forthcoming:
First off, I liked the season as a whole… right up until the last five minutes. Honestly, everything I’m about to say was almost ruined by the final scene of the final episode of the season. That’s how much I hated the ending.

But first, season 2 is very different in some ways from Season 1. We finally do start to see Midge’s stand-up career take off a little, as she struggles to be taken seriously by NYC club owners, and other comics. Her manager, played by the awesome Alex Bornstein, is also great, as the streetwise, tough-talking Susie.

We spend much more time with Midge’s parents, Abe and Rose, and it’s mostly fabulous. Tony Shalhoub, who’s good in everything, gets much more screen time this season, and he’s perfect as the cantankerous brainiac professor who can’t understand why his little girl would get up on stage and tell jokes.

We also, regrettably, get a whole lot of Joel, Midge’s jerk of a husband, in Season 2. As what happened in “Gilmore Girls” when she ran that show, Sherman-Palladino just falls in love with these doofus characters and thinks the audience will too. Joel offers very little except providing us reasons to see his parents, played hilariously by Caroline Aaron and Kevin Pollak.

There are lots of high marks in the season; the comedy Midge does onstage is usually really funny. There are a few episodes in Paris, and a few in the Catskills, that don’t advance the story much but are beautifully shot and fun to look at.

And so I was feeling really good about season 2, until the last scene. I’m not going to give it away, I promise. But the choice the writers make when looking to end the season, really calls into question everywhere they’re going in season 3. And I’m worried, because I really like this show.

But what happens at the end is just so illogical, and not on a par with everything that’s happened before.

OK I better stop before I rant some more and give it away. Anyway, maybe you’ll have a different opinion.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” had a strong season 2, definitely watch it. And then tell me what you think of the ending, because oy vey.

**Next up today, this new ad from Gillette has gone viral in a huge way, and I’m very happy it has. Taking a break from their “The Best A Man Can Get” slogan that it has used for decades, Gillette has decided to hop aboard the #MeToo train and cut this striking commercial challenging “toxic masculinity.”

It’s appealing to men to be different, to stop all the caddish behavior so many of us unfortunately still do, and it’s really beautifully put-together.

Good for Gillette; this is one of the best ads I’ve seen in years. Very effective stuff.

**Finally today, you can always count on Snoop Dogg for two things: talking about weed, and hilarity. He gave us the latter this week, when he stopped by the Los Angeles Kings broadcast booth to do a little play by play.

I fast-forwarded to the best part, when the Kings get a power play and they let Snoop just talk for a bit. “Who wants that money?” is my favorite sentence, but really, it’s so great all the way through.

Ah, Snoop. There’s a broadcasting career ahead of you if you wanted it.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” a fabulous show from the “Gilmore Girls” creator. Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters with a fabulous Christmas song tribute. And the Japanese company that uses a drone to tell employees to go home

You know some bands or singers only have one great album in them? How some writers who seem fabulous write one great novel, then the rest of the work is so-so?

I’d been beginning to think that was how it was going to be for Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’s the dazzling wit and brilliant comedic mind behind “Gilmore Girls,” for my money one of the best television shows ever. For so many years “Gilmore” entertained and dazzled me and millions of others, so naturally when it ended I couldn’t wait to see what ASP (as we fans call her) and her husband Dan would come up with next.

Well, next was “Bunheads,” which was execrable. And then a few more forgettable network shows, and then the, um, confusing “Gilmore Girls” reunion movie which was just mediocre.

So forgive me if I didn’t have any expectations for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the new ASP project streaming on Amazon that just came out. Set in 1958 New York, it’s about a young Jewish housewife, Midge Maisel, who is 26, happily married and raising two little kids when her world gets turned upside down: Her husband leaves her.

And like most women who had that happen to them back then, she turned to becoming a raunchy stand-up comic.

No, seriously, that’s the premise of the show. And after watching four episodes so far I can happily say that ASP is no longer a one-hit wonder.  Because “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is fantastic. It’s got a great star in Rachel Brosnahan, a terrific supporting team in Kevin Pollak and Tony Shalhoub, and really fabulous one-liners.

Midge is a survivor, who has been thrust into circumstances she never could’ve imagined, but every time you think we’re going to feel sorry for her, she comes out swinging. The show isn’t perfect; the husband character really ought to be totally written out (we’re only halfway through the first season, so maybe he does) but it’s charming, sweet and has a lot of heart.

Whew. Glad to see the woman who gave us Babette and Kirk and Lorelai has still got it. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Check it out, it’s fantastic.

**Next up today, because my wife is one of the biggest Foo Fighters fans alive she pointed me to this, and it’s quite excellent. Catch all the symmetry here: Dave Grohl had a huge admirer in David Letterman, and every holiday season on his show, for decades, Dave had Darlene Love come on and sing the beautiful “Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home”).

So on “Saturday Night Live” last week Grohl and Foo Fighters did a beautiful medley of their song “Everlong” which was Letterman’s favorite, but then segued into “Christmas (Baby Please come home) and finished up with the Linus and Lucy Christmas song from “Charlie Brown.”

Truly, a wonderful four-minute medley.

**Finally today, just a sign of how different our culture is from that of Japan’s. A hallmark of that culture is how hard its citizens work, and how rarely they take leisure time. So to try to combat worker exhaustion and fatigue, a company in Japan has started using a drone to fly around the office and tells people to go home.

I heard about this on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and thought it couldn’t be real. But it is:

To help deal with the negative health effects of overworking, an office security firm in Japan called Tasei has introduced a drone that flies around playing annoying music to pressure employees to leave.

The drone is called T-Friend, and at quitting time it will blast out “Auld Lang Syne” to try to get workers to go home.

It will encourage employees who are present at the drone patrol time to leave, not only to promote employee health but also to conduct internal security management.”

Wow. Kind of gives new meaning to the term “run out of the office kicking and screaming.” If I had a drone blaring music at me, I think I’d definitely leave ASAP. And then maybe move to another country.