The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and What's Making Us Happy
This message comes from n._p._r. Sponsor panara a listener of your caliber has fine taste taste that favors smoked chipotle chicken wrap with new cold brew from from pinera. Get them on the go with rapid pickup breakfast. That's fast not fast food from panera food as it should be this conversation station about the marvellous. Mrs mazel was recorded in january twenty eighteen. We'll be back next week with new episodes of pop culture happy hour from n._p._r. <music> welcome to pop culture happy hour. I'm linda holmes. Amy sherman pow dino's signature project was gilmore girls now. She has a new project on amazon called the marvelous mrs mazel it stars rachel brosnahan living in new york in the late nineteen fifties who separates from her husband and finds herself in stand up comedy i was i was in god damn flower. I smell like roses and sunshine. Show not my hassles swimming peraza hand just wanna golden globe for her performance and the show won for outstanding comedy series so we figured it was time to dive in here with me in the studio. Radio is blunt weldon of the n._p._r. Arts plan and glen and i are joined for this conversation by two of our women i from n._p._r.'s. It's very own weekend edition. Mary hartman highbury i and also a writer and editor and thinker about music and many other good things katie presley hi katie howdy. I'm so happy to have you guys here. I glenn you wrote about this. <hes> show a little bit a while ago. I reviewed it for morning edition right right. You read it for morning edition well. How did you review it. What were your thoughts. I like it a lot because i am here for amy sherman pellegrino's articifial blend which is fast talking brunettes nets who are charming monsters to whom the entire world genuflect s- <hes> and they're imperious moms so that's that's pretty much. That's the butt heads at the girls thing brosnahan's star right so if if you didn't like anything else about this show you'd love this performance breslin was asked at one point why what attracted her to the role and she said midge mazel is a character actor who exudes confidence in every situation twenty four seven and i can understand what would appeal about that role to an actress <hes> that said little caveat here confidence and privilege are travelling companions you very rarely see one without the other and when these travel together weird things can happen for example apple an instance in the second episode where a woman of color is literally pushed off the stage to make room for midge mazel. Now that is a thing thing that ended up itself has certain like optics. I i remember seeing that going what's going on here. Why am i watching this. What's going on when you put that in the context of measurement palladino who was often sort of back grounded people of color on her shows it just it just kind of lines up in a weird way that said i think the period setting is gorgeous and be it's forcing her to do <music> some things it's it's playing door backhand so she can't rely on the same old stuff that she does says the constant pop culture references and also this might sound a a little bit weird but i really liked that. She's finally getting to lean into jewish culture in a way because when she did the stefan gilmore girls about boston brahmins and greenwich wasps we'd get a bunch of d._r. Jokes and it kind of felt like we were kind of hitting that same be always done very very light touch. Was that stuff which it's not fully and i think it's enriching the show a lot more other stuff to say about but i'll i'll hear from some other folks cool katie. I heard that you really dug this show. I had heard a little bird told me <hes> what do you like about it. I have to out myself very quickly here. As not a- gilmore girls fan and i liked the character of midge. I really liked brosnahan's enhance performance. I was just as she's so charismatic and i just i'm not usually a binge watcher and i watched like two episodes a day which is a binge and i liked a lot. How midge comes to the revolution of her her life. She comes to feminism in a way that is it's not even quite feminism. She comes to her personal revolution in a way that was compelling to me and not irradiating. I think amy sherman palladino has the women on her shows tend to like spring fully formed for each other's foreheads and this did did not have that to me. I think that's a good point. I think that's a good point and i also really liked all the addresses. I have to agree with <hes> glenn mentioned this too. I think the period look of this show. I don't think of myself as being like a period show like enthusiasts necessarily but the particular look this show how colorful it is how swinging the dresses are expensive the sets. Let's sheer shantung. My gosh the coats the sweeney coats are all i have ever wanted but one tracking shot through an entire higher garment district warehouse that just went on and on and on there is money being that i think there is barry. How did this strike you. Well now that we're talking about the clothes. No i will say so not just all of those touchstones our army. I am period show girl so i thought not a period show but i i love the look of it. I am here for barbara. San singing. Happy days are here again. I think her performance is magnetic. I can't take my eyes off her. When she's on the screen rachel brosnahan i to love the depth of the fish. There is a lot of that and that is actually i have to say you don't actually see that kind into that part of of judaism at a certain time was released sort of as as a jewish lady myself upper westside wealthy westside side wealthy having but having caught a little bit you know the difference between <hes> abe and father ship. Excuse me let us tell you bury it. In jewish remember rosenberg. There's some wonderful wonderful subtleties between in their relationship and that particular you know setpiece of on the upper west side that said i i am happier when i am watching her do stand up and when i'm watching her talk to suzie and i am happier when i am for a while for like the first two to four episodes. I was like god. We're getting a lot of exposition. When are we going to get rid of jill. I could just get rid of john. I can't even like even there's an early on onsumer. He's like in the corner looking creepy and i know we're supposed to and i just can't i can't i can't way rather live with tony. Shalhoub tony shalhoub lube plays <hes> her father and has a couple of lovely moments yeah but i like the first two families stuff i'm into but i just don't care about him and you could see the moment of him recognizing her genius onstage coming from a mile away and it didn't make it any less satisfying when i saw it but you know it suing plot points i found found you know it feels a little wrote to me. I agree with you. I was more interested in the sort of the show business yeah story i learned <hes> then then i was the domestic story which is interesting because one of the things that i like about the show is that it allows her to be genuinely ambivalent about motherhood motherhood which is almost from the gecko which is almost never allowed in a way that doesn't immediately get coded as because she's depressed or you know or because because somebody has stopped her from truly discovering that the only thing she really wants is babies and i appreciate the way that the domestic her domestic life is kind of not what she's excited about but i'm not sure that i'm excited about it either and there's a lot of time spent i agree with you that the stuff with her parents where they're kind of dealing with her being separated and how they feel about that is more interesting than her actual relationship with joel who i think i think joel is just under her develop in a little bit. I think maybe miscast yeah. I'm not sure they have a strong idea of kind of who he is and why he would up and leave his wife and kids which is a very specific kind of thing to do especially at that time and the other thing that we haven't talked about very much touch is i also love the alex burstein performance as susie her manager and in some ways i feel like in mid jr and susie you get the two sort of ways of amy sherman palladino dialogue coming off you have midge who is sort of the spark earlier show easier laura la later later lower alive and then you have in susie <unk> have this more gravelly more grounded more angry type of personality that i think carries a different strain green of the palladino city of her dialogue. Even though i recognize them both as very asap character there's a real divergence which hasn't always been true in her stuff. If you look at laurel i and rory and all that there's always been a kind of genteel quality to most of the women that she's written and then you get this. I don't know ready your it's like a it's also another. It's a really speaking of period peas. Susie is really interesting other either way to be a woman in the fifties midges performing in this greenwich like dumpy underground gaslight <hes> cafe half a. I think it is <hes> they don't serve beer there. Never and suzy is of that world and so you see some of the like tag yourself. I'm spoken-word with tambourines the various cast of performers. I was really pleased to see that kind of be especially because the beat movement was not right great for women and it was great to see like a beatnik woman also doing a thing the period setting also does something really smart to the comedy completely obviates the studio sixty on the sunset strip problem where we're constantly told that the show is brilliant and cabbage and leading the national dialogue and every time we see an actual sketch gach. It's like a rebelled rogers and hammerstein salutes what's going on here. This standup isn't funny to me but it doesn't have into be all it has to do is be of that time. It has to feel right. If that's not enough. I mean the show does do a lot of stoking the furnace of how brilliant she is because that's the engine of the show the <unk> amy sherman palladino has said this show is going to end when she arrives on johnny carson's couch. That's the arc of the show so to get us there. Her manager has to tell her she's brilliant. Lenny bruce has to be a fan which have been someone named penny roost achieved just to walk by a group group of protesters in washington square park and say here's. I'll have something to say they all turned on jacobs plus her out of the crowd pick. Tell us your story and she's like dough mind. If a new garage thing aside i think the show is doing something smart with. It's reminding us that she's brilliant but also trying to keep us liking her even though she can be sort of thoughtless and the ways she's beautiful right but she works at it. You know we see she. You know how hard and how ridiculously and l. obsessively i really she works at it. They have a sequence with her and then later also a sequence with her mother sorta sorta showing how it's not just a matter of the effort that they make to look beautiful to the outside world when they leave their homes but it's also that for these women women at this time even their marriages were not a safe place to look how they really look you had to also make your husband believe that you woke up looking like a a magazine cover and i have no idea how historically accurate that is but it feels right right for what they are trying to say about midge and it's like she's. I don't love word feisty but she's you know she is a kind of you know firecracker occur kinda lady but at the same time she's also a lady who measures her calves and five ankle proportion every she says every day into just make sure that she is perfect and looks perfect and it's interesting to me to give her that kind of vanity and and yet also kind of explain how she got that way. It's also interesting that the show is hedging its bets to keep us on her side by having her stumble into stand up not avid be something something that she wants and i think that's interesting went back and forth on it because it's like why couldn't you want this well. The timing the period setting means she wouldn't be a thing for necessarily but it could be <hes> and and the fact that she refused the call. I don't know how to do this. I don't want to do this and that if the show was just coasting on her natural ability she gets up drunk. She gets a pie. She's awesome perfect wonderful. She isn't like if you listen to the reaction of that. I set people don't really know what to do with it. Which i thought was really. I didn't want people to be falling all over her. Although i i do i wish he hadn't. She wasn't always stumbling onto the that was a little frustrating but i will say about the comedy is really hard to do. Comedy within comedy like that is really hard it sheriff in well. It's not my favorite comedy. Those are legit jokes. They are actually actually laughed. At some of the i love the you know. This is the most glorious name like that. I i mean. I think that was a lenny bruce real joke anyway. The board has the stuff. That's written. I think is is dynamite and that was the thing that i i every time someone's in favor number. Mike on the show i i get the and i really didn't have very many causes to cringe the fact that the series is going to be about her honing this natural ability and and and failing and bombing and that's important and that means that she's taking her natural ability to its limit and then she's working hard. This is again this. That's how the show keeps us liking your animals. You can be a monster working hard to shape it. That's important data. Did you enjoy the music katie presley music pros just going to ask you about the music because his i loved it and i didn't. I'm not even familiar with all of the songs but what i think it did perfectly is left the heavy lifting to the actors but managed to find songs over and over again that made me say i can't believe there's a song for exactly what she's feeling every country music but in silk new twitter bio yeah i was so impressed by that that because so often shows us the music as sledgehammers of like. Are you feeling this way yet here. I'll play mad world one more time and exactly i was just like uncanny how precision point accurate these songs were yeah loved it and speaking of musical the the english that tony shalhoub puts every line. This is a this this role is a bathtub full bubbles that he's just luxuriating in a way that feels kind of borsch belt that feels kind of old school really old school and it's really funny because of course a lot of people got to know tony shalhoub playing a heavily accented italian doc driver on wings wings and there's a moment i don't like it when <hes> shows show us something and then tell us something to underline it but there was a moment that we were talking about joel before before yeah. There's a moment that can unlock that character for me. Which is when <hes> tony shalhoub scherzer abe reminds his daughter that he said to her when he when she went away to college. Do not marry a week man and that's that's all of a sudden. I was convinced that the show knew that it was seeing in joel exactly what i was thinking. I was not liking joel for reasons that couldn't quite put my finger on besides the one who he left his wife but there's something intrinsic to that character that i couldn't quite find out that was that was the key and that's what he plays over the course of the season as an elite guy. His own father underlines it many many many. I think that's right all right well. We want to know what you you think of the marvelous. Mrs mazel find us on facebook at facebook dot com slash p. c. h. or tweet us at p._c._h. When we come back it will be time to talk about. What's making us happy. This leaks so come right back support for this n._p._r. Podcast and the following message come from curio collection by hilton with all curio collection by hilton hotels. There's something more to discover. Take the foodie forward resorts of silence goon in the maldives and the hotel in spain eager owns michelin starred chef diego c._e._o. Guy iago's romances pallets with multicultural and environmentally friendly dishes. Silence goon takes personalization to a new level by using natural ingredients to create unique plates for each guest. Are you curious visit hilton dot com slash n._p._r. Support for n._p._r. They are and the following message come from kroger. The you know one in eight americans struggle with hunger yet forty percent of the food produced in the u._s. Gets thrown away way. Kroger believes that have just one third of that wasted food could be redirected to people in need it would more than cover unmet food needs across the country while while helping to protect our planet. That's what kroger is doing through their zero. Hunger zero waste foundation last year alone kroger donated three hundred twenty five million in meals to local food banks. It's part of their goal to achieve zero hunger zero waste by twenty twenty-five learn more at kroger dot com slash z h z w welcome back to pop culture happy hour. It's time for our favorite segment of this week and every week what's making us happy this week glenn weld and what is making you. I'm happy to say buddy her. London spy is a series that is now four years old but it's still available on net flicks. It's five hour long episodes. Originally on the bbc starring ben we saw as hedonistic twinkle hooks up with the secretive meth petition in london gets drawn into a conspiracy involving murder blackmail an international espionage it stylish rush. It's sexy. It's kind of disturbing. It's great performances. Jim broadbent shows up because that's the law and <hes> he's a mentor who helps ben wishes character with this investigation. She gets today all these wonderful chewy things about the difference between wealth and class. It's really a lotta fun charlotte rampling charlotte rampling and in a manor house <hes> i can't i know right. She is so good and evil and icy in this thing that at one point i was watching it alone in my apartment and i went to myself. Charlotte rampling blink awesome. She's just great so it doesn't quite stick the dismount and a lot of people watched it. <hes> say the same thing something about the ending that does satisfied but if you want a good psychic whiplash you first screen paddington which is voiced by ben wishaw which is about a character voiced by bennie show who gets up to all kinds of hijinks in london thank you london spikes wink incentive gets up on the hijinks in london. Sexier hijinks very different. I really like london spy. I didn't even feed you. That bear. Joke on purpose did not. I figured it was coming. It just came to be thank you where. Where can i see it. That's like smith is netflix. Okay sorry thank you very much glen weldon berry hardy man. What is making you happy this week. So i was made happy after watching miss mazel by the music sick actually and what i did was i went back in time and since i wasn't able to buy the dresses i went and i listened to a lot of blossom dearie which i don't i feel like she's sort of under song or under known and i again like i'm a huge shirley horn sarah. I love these women but there's something the little girl voice and the albums all of which are on spotify from when she is very young to very old all the verve studio recordings are so wonderful. It is these really. It's all of those deep cuts that you don't remember. It's it's it's i'm hip which is a hilarious song about the beats i dig. I'm in steph when it was hip to be happy happy. I don't blow on my phone. Look at me swing ring ding ding. I even even call my girlfriend ma'am so him and reset such a lovely. I'm making breakfast or my family or for myself. In the morning i put it on. I'm wearing a bathrobe and now it's addressing down and i am have maybe i put my coffee mug. Maybe i've put it in a cup saucer genuinely win. Lee made me this week and i do want to say people who don't think they know blossom dearie if you're old enough to have watched schoolhouse rock oh she sang hang the figure eight song. Thank you very much berry hartman katie presley. What is making you happy this week space opera yeah. I am two thirds of the way through an latkes hi fi trilogy. It's called the imperial rach shimoji. The books are called ansari justice ancillary sword and ancillary mercy. I've read the first two of those so i recommend them on. Two different aren't levels. I recommend them to anyone who loves sci fi because treachery and adventure and unpronounceable names abound but why it is making me katie presley happy. This week is because every pronoun in the books is she. Oh interesting so this empire is called raj and the people are called rod shy and to the rajai gender is completely unimportant. Their language does not have words for it but other planets in the galaxy earned the empire do have words for it so the default is she and then occasionally someone will be corrected but the narrator whose name is brick. I think unpronounceable names continues to say she forever because that's how her brain works so like i just cannot cannot put into words what a sav it is for my weary soul to read three hundred page books where everybody is a she until proven otherwise i it's it's so great end so the first book i understood probably a third of the words and the second can book. Maybe three fifths so like the third one. I'm hoping for five seven call it a win progress and learning for super recommend. Oh thank you so much katy presley. What is making me happy this week. I made a commitment that i was going to try very hard to watch all watch at least one episode of all of the a sixty plus t._v. Shows premiering in the month of january. One that i really enjoyed is called building giants and it's on these science channel l. in building giants. They follow the construction of something enormous. The first episode was about mercedes benz stadium in atlanta data and they filmed over. It looks like the several years that it took to build mercedes benz stadium. They filmed how they built. This is gigantic retractable roof and the moment that they tested this roof that fits together in this interesting like pedal design so that the pieces all come and a and twist around each other and lock in. I think if you have a kid who is interested in construction and construction trucks and you know big objects objects which are often fascinating too little kids. There's a lot of kind of you know. Enormous stuff getting picked up and hauled and moved and put in place and and although inches and all the stuff that it takes to get things where they're supposed to go. I think anybody would say that. If you're gonna talk about sports stadium there's a bunch of other stuff the the financing of sports stadiums and all the other things. There's no effort to get into that. It's strictly a construction show so i'm going to recommend building giants on on the science channel particularly for those of you and i know you are many who have kids who are interested in engineering things and and building and construction so that is what is making me happy this week that brings us to the end of our show. You can follow us on twitter. You can find me n._p._r. Monkey see you can follow plan g. h. Whelton you can follow barry b. Hardiman and katie at love is maroon can follow our producer jessica reedy at jessica underscore reedy and our producer emeritus meritous and music director. Mike catt's. Mike catt's of k. a. t. z._i._f. Mike's band hello come in provides are in and out music that you are bobbing your head to right now. Thanks to all of you for being here. Thank you and thanks to all of you for listening. If you have a second you're so inclined. Please give us a review on apple podcasts. It helps more folks to find the show. We will see you all right back here next week. Hey it's not just you. This week does feel like it's gone on forever. It is over join me sam sanders to get some perspective catch my show. It's it's been a minute where we look back on the news and culture and everything else downloaded every weekend from n._p._r.