After hearing so much buzz about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we logged into Amazon Prime and proceeded to binge on both seasons.
Visually, it’s a feast of color and style. The 1950s fashions are the best part for me, even though the performances are top-notch and the writing is clever and very funny. The color combinations are unique and fun and the styles are worn with pizazz by all of the actresses. The sets are also just perfect for the times.
So what’s not to like?
Plenty, if you listen to all the online critics. Because everyone’s got an opinion and so many love to find fault. Yes, even with Mrs. Maisel.
As a Sicilian-American, I know my way around stereotypes and I also know that there is a glimmer of truth (or more than a glimmer) in most stereotypes.
Italian-Americans have complained about the excessive stereotyping in the Godfather movies, for example. But not-so-fast: for me it had the ring of truth. The over-the-top wedding in the Godfather was pretty much identical to my first wedding. Yes, some people who attended had Mob ties, although our family was not in the mob. My father was pediatrician to mob kingpin kids, something that made me a little antsy but didn’t bother him. Yes, two people in my family made book and a good family friend disappeared, thought to have been done away with by the Mafia.
These things don’t happen in all Sicilian families but they do happen, as I can attest. And the drama makes good entertainment. That’s just fact. I have no problem with that. Maybe because I’m a writer. Everything is fodder.
In Season 2, Mrs. Maisel’s family goes to the Catskills and some Jewish viewers thought the scenarios were too stereotypical. But really, that’s what entertainment relies on, in my opinion: stereotypes and that little bit of truth that lies behind them. I’m just not in that politically correct mode, not even when it comes to my own culture. Because I see the ring of truth in those stereotypes of my people. And have no problem with a fictional situation depicting them.
Tone Deaf Costumes
However, I can’t disagree that the wardrobe head was tone deaf when s/he put Catskills resort employees in striped uniforms reminiscent of what concentration camp garb. What were they thinking? No, no, no. Maybe s/he was too young to be aware of this but our generation is only TOO aware of it.
Annoying, Self-Centered Characters
You may have read one of my recent posts about the show, Transparent, also on Amazon. We hated every character. They just weren’t likable. And yet, the show was GREAT. So I have no problem with annoying, self-centered characters if that behavior is in the context of the story. Which it is. I’m never going to say I love those characters or Mrs. Maisel and company, but I will say they are entertaining and the performances are exceptional.
When did we think “bland” and vanilla made for a good story?
Overt Displays of Wealth
This criticism cracked me up. Overt displays of wealth are GREAT entertainment! I love seeing them. They add color and fantasy and fun to a story. And yes, sometimes even humor.
So here’s the deal: Mrs. Maisel is a cartoon and there’s nothing wrong with cartoons. Not one thing. They are tremendously entertaining!
Do you watch the show? What do you think?