Yesterday, I watched the first season The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. My daughter suggested it for me, and she's usually pretty good at spotting something I would like. She was right :-)
Mrs. Midge Maisel is a paragon of privilege in upper west side New York City in the 1950s. She's well, if impractically, educated, with a degree in Russian literature from Bryn Mawr. She's married to a seemingly successful businessman and has two kids and a great life. So, of course, it all falls apart in the first episode.
There are hints right away that these young people aren't entirely conventional, the biggest being that they are regulars at a seedy comedy club, where Midge bribes the manager with brisket to get stage time for her husband. In fact, Midge thinks everything is golden until her husband blindsides her by leaving.
Now, generally, Midge isn't my kind of a character. There's the distinct aroma of "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl" wafting about her and I hate that. I've never been able to watch the Gilmore Girls, for example, because I don't understand why no one has killed Lorelei yet.
But, while Midge fits that character type, she also doesn't. She has it together in a lot of ways. She's not a black hole of selfish need that destroys everyone around her; she's self-sufficient, at least in terms of self-esteem. In fact, she helps other people along her journey. She has a wild streak for certain, but it's a secret release, not her daily life M.O. I'm not yelling at the screen telling the other characters to "Run! It's a trap!"
Once she starts doing stand-up comedy, beginning with a late night, drunken rant in her nightgown that ends with an arrest for indecency (alongside Lenny Bruce), she's brilliant. It's an amazing moment, where a woman who has never needed a vocation just found hers.
Overall the show is a great period piece that feels spot-on about gender and other politics of the era (admittedly, I'm too young to remember the 50s firsthand), sharp-witted, and heart-felt. I'll definitely watch Season 2 (more slowly, though; I'm finally well enough to go back to work tomorrow!).