No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘TV

The Happiest Place on Earth?

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When I was a little boy one of my TV highlights every week was The Wonderful World of Disney.

An hour long program screened on early Sunday evenings, just as it was in the USA, it had everything from classic Disney cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck (my favourite because of his bad temper) and their mates, to documentaries on nature and science (some of them also animated), some of which were hold-overs from earlier days but didn’t seem to suffer for that.

Here’s a classic example from 1958, The Future of Transport, which I came across in falling down Interwebby rabbit holes because of the opening of Transmission Gully.

I doubt my parents ever had a concern about me watching such stuff while they got on with other things. It was Walt Disney after all.

But in the year 2022 I find that Disney has gone woke and as former President Trump said, everything woke turns to shit.

Just the other day I briefly covered Disney’s opposition to some legislation in Florida that prevents teachers from talking about sexual matters with kids aged 4-7. The MSM jumped in as well because GOP Governor Ron DeSantis headed up the bill and has defended it – and is seen as a huge threat to Democrat hopes in the 2024 election, so has endured endless amounts of MSM hit jobs. However, Disney and the MSM are truly on the wrong side of this issue:

The Florida bill doesn’t influence parents on how they, as parents, can instruct their own kindergartener on gender. Parents are still free to tell a child who can’t keep crayons inside the lines that “There are 20 genders.” The vast majority of parents will leave that discussion for when their child isn’t just starting to read Cat in the Hat.

Also, the majority of even Democrats agree with Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature. The general public, by a wide margin, sees no valid reason for a stranger to teach a six-year-old girl that she’s “in the wrong body” and needs to be called a boy. That polling is for the voting Democrats. If pollsters asked just parents, the percentage in favor of allowing children to remain children would skyrocket.

But that has turned out to be the least of it. Journalist Christopher Rufo – who has led the charge against woke poison across the USA in the last two years (and has thus incurred the wrath of the Far Left, who blame him for “creating” this particular culture war) – was sent a recording of an in-house, all-hands-on-deck video meeting that shows just how far gone the company is in its senior management levels. You can check out some of the videos at this link, plus more on Rufo’s own Twitter account, but here’s just one example:

Christ! Is there anybody there in management that’s not gay or trans, with gay and trans kids? Is there any limit to how far those assholes will go in pushing their Far Left woke agenda on everybody else?

Is the point of representation not to be representative? Yet, making 50 percent of [animated] characters some mix of LGBT and minority is not that when looking at the demographics of the country. Rather, it’s purposeful indoctrination that is meant to condition children to certain lifestyle choices these adults approve of and want to promote.

Ironically, in the same meeting, Disney’s “diversity and inclusion manager” then brags about de-gendering all of their theme parks, which is actually erasing representation. In other words, if you are a normal person who embraces the sex you were born with instead of entertaining the delusion it can be changed, you don’t deserve any representation. In fact, you need to be completely erased.

The videos also make it quite clear that their objective is absolutely to condition little kids into LGBT ideology at an age when they still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy:

Do you know what I’ve never thought about doing? Injecting sexuality into children’s programming in order to reinforce my adult views on the topic. I’ve never thought about that because I’m not a groomer, and I don’t use that word lightly, but really, what else would you call this? “Adding queerness” into shows that small kids watch is the kind of activism that should shock and appall everyone. Children are not pawns to be used in the pushing of adult sexual ideology. Yet, Disney employees like Latoya Raveneau are consumed by the practice.

I’d like to think that Disney is going to take a big hit over this, if not over their ugly, shitty obeisance to the Chinese Communist Party (which didn’t help them financially anyway). What “mother” or “father” will want to take their kids to Disneyland or DisneyWorld now, knowing that it’s less about fun than about ideological sexual indoctrination.

But it’s just another Culture War that can be ignored, correct?

At least the Internet has different ideas

I’d only just finished posting the previous little ditty, “Welcome to the Internet”, which parodies all the 24/7 insanity of that world, when I came across something that’s actually even creepier.

The almost entirely unified voice of the MSM on whatever they want the Narrative of the day to be. As the video is titled, This is extremely dangerous to our democracy. Watch and … enjoy?

I feel like I’m watching one of those Star Trek episodes involving The Borg.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 27, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Posted in MSM, USA

Tagged with , ,

SKY SPORT SUX

So here I am in NZL, a cricket fan, reduced to watching Oz vs India on Sky Sport 52 because that’s all there is available while my mate in West Oz is able to flick channels and watch both Oz vs India and NZL vs the Windies.

And yes, I know Spark Sport has it live but as a long time Sky Sport customer I expect better. Much better.

Sigh.

Written by The Veteran

November 29, 2020 at 6:44 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

If Frasier was still in Seattle

My PhotoFrasier was a TV sitcom that ran in the 1990’s and through to 2004 in the US and around the world. It was a spinoff of the hugely successful 1980’s TV sitcom, Cheers, set in a Boston bar of that name.

The character of Frasier Crane had been introduced in an early season of Cheers: a minor role as a snobby psychiatrist with a Doctorate from Harvard who is helping the owner of Cheers recover from an alcoholic relapse. But the actor, Kelsey Grammar, so impressed the producers that they kept him on permanently until the series ended in 1993.

Most long-running, successful sitcoms produce spinoffs and most of them fail. Frasier was one of the exceptions and in many respects it outshone its progenitor, gaining enormous critical acclaim, large audiences and a huge swag of awards over its eleven seasons. With brilliantly scripted storylines, witty, clever dialog and an outstanding cast with chemistry between all of them, it is regarded by critics as one of the greatest ever sitcoms. It’s certainly one of my all-time favourites that I can watch repeatedly, still making me laugh.

To make sure it was a complete break from Cheers they threw Frasier across the country to his childhood home city of Seattle and gave him a new job: at a talk radio station where he provides on-air psychiatric help to callers with problems, while also providing listeners with entertainment.

And with that, here’s a cleverly edited version of just one scene, where someone from the new CHAZ settlement in Seattle calls in with a whole bunch of problems for Frasier to help with. Love the little Antifa touch on the classic opening.

 

Written by Tom Hunter

June 25, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Make New Zealand Great Again

My Photo

Old Trottsky has been hammering away again on his dream of New Zealand retreating back to the Golden Weather of his childhood – sans all the social conservatism that was actually a key part of making that socialism possible, starting with social shaming.

Like Marx himself Trott’s has very few specific ideas of what exactly is needed to make New Zealand Great Again but like his compatriot Bradbury and others it seems to involve the rebirth of huge government-owned businesses like the Ministry of Works, in concert with government approved private corporations like the old Fletcher Challenge, all bound together with massive unionisation and lots of regulations to keep an eye on the greedy seekers of profit. Not so strangely – if you understand anything about Old Lefties like Trott’s – is the accompanying fantasy of a strong military than can kick some butt when needed by “The People’s Dictatorship“.

As far as the rest of the private sector is concerned – yes Virginia, we’re not talking Communism here, let’s give him credit for that – his suggestions are based on this key assumption:

That strange combination of creativity, thrill-seeking and greed, which propels the entrepreneur towards new ventures will soon respond to new incentives and new opportunities.

Gosh! Greed is good, as they say. Who knew?

As always with Leftists, other key factors for entrepreneurs are ignored in Trotter’s world of a government that only does good, huge, positive things as it dominates the landscape.

What he misses in his ode to Big Government is the most basic thing desired by entrepreneurs from government:

a high degree of certainty in government plans, at least in the near future, and a willingness to leave them the fuck alone.

It’s tough enough coping with and balancing all the things that go into a business – all the carefully laid plans that have to be modified quickly, sometimes drastically, or even scrapped in the face of market changes. All the things both little and big that change almost daily.

But it becomes so much tougher when, in the back of your mind, you have no idea what’s coming down the road from government in terms of rules and regulations, taxes, interest rates and general bureaucracy, that last often based more on some local official’s whims than the black-letter law that government thought it had passed.

And like any eco-system, these effects often take years or decades to become apparent. I would suggest that NZ’s hopeless lack of productivity over the decades – which shows up in us working more hours per year just to keep up with the Aussies – is down to the fact that, for all our politicians bloviating about entrepreneurs and the like, we simply have not provided an environment of government laws and regulations that’s stable enough to compensate for all those other market factors.

As a result our entrepreneurial class has steadily dwindled as such people have given up and fled overseas over the decades.

And that’s before we get to the current disaster. What trust has any entrepreneur got that this won’t happen again soon, with COVID-25 or whatever? And there is no hope that a National government would be different. They may be picking away now at various scabs of technical failure, but they supported it all from the start, craven cowards that they are.

So perhaps we will see a return to the world Trotter so loves: the NZ of 1935-1984 where one slogged along to a dull, boring job in some great government approved corporation like Fletchers or some godforsaken government department like the MOW or NZ Rail, all of it enabled by government micro-management whose final exemplar was RD Muldoon.

I vividly recall those end days in the early 1980s, before Rogernomics. I and every one of my varsity peers hated it all; we hated it even more when we got summer jobs in those places and saw our futures laid out before us in promotions from Level PL6 (Programmer Learner) to Level PL7. And time and again, when asked why we would not turn those summer jobs into permanent positions, they could never understand our responses. In fact they looked at us with incomprehension. It’s one of the reasons so many of us fled on the big OE and never returned, or did so only when we were married with kids and had piled up enough money that we could be somewhat shielded from the Kiwi disease.

And we can see all this in just one of Trotter’s ideas, this for tourism-replacement:

Let’s invest in movies, television series, plays, music, novels, computer games. Encourage the world to partake of New Zealand’s unique creativity

What? 21st century re-boots of 1970’s Public TV cringe-fests like Buck House and other equally unfunny comedies that totally lack in “unique creativity”. I saw nothing funny about it and others like it as a child and assumed it was because I was too young to get it. But over a decade later I would sit in a NZ History class viewing such period gems and finding that not only was I not laughing but neither was anyone else in the room. And this at a time when we were laughing our heads off at the distinctly NZ humour of Bad Taste.

And who was behind that? An unknown, no-account movie maker named Peter Jackson. Bad Taste was held to be “appalling” for it’s combination of black humour and splatter-horror. And nothing changed in the next few years.

I can still vividly recall some ponce at the Wellington Movie Festival sniffily telling a TV interviewer that they were not going to list Jackson’s next movie Meet The Feebles because “nobody wants to see puppets farting and covered with gore“.

And that guy was no 60 year old Christian Conservative but a trendy, arty type in his 40’s or so who perfectly represented the NZ “ART” scene. It was no surprise that Jackson basically got kicked in the teeth by that community and hence by related government “support” for years before making it big thanks to US investors.

And that’s the New Zealand attitude towards entrepreneurs in a nutshell. That’s why they have to make it overseas first, and we have to hope to god that they bring the talent and the money back to NZ, as Jackson has done with this huge Weta Workshops company sprawled amidst the old abandoned commercial and industrial warehouses of Mirimar.

I don’t see anything concrete in the suggestions of Trotter or any other Lefty, let alone their idols, Robertson and St Jacinda of Corona (h/t PM of NZ), that would have helped Jackson then or a similar person now. In fact Jackson has become something of a hate figure on the NZ Left over the issue of unions, a facet of our current government that its supporters are drooling to strengthen.

Not doing so many government things is the key: things not to be done, before any possible positive things, like incentives around venture capitalists and investment, can be discussed. Things not to be done by direct government investment or “R&D incentives” and the sort of subsidy schemes and government-sponsored awards and stuff that was around when Jackson started but which he barely saw because they always get captured by special interest groups whose Group Think is anathema to the likes of Jackson.

Trotter himself tripped over the reality of this several years ago when he bemoaned the fall of John Campbell on TV3:

It is one of the great ironies of New Zealand’s (relatively) recent cultural history that the impetus towards free and open airways has, to a startling degree, come from freewheeling cultural entrepreneurs like Colin Scrimgeour, Gordon Dryden, George Andrews, Marcia Russell and Rod Pedersen. Not forgetting that madcap piratical quartet who, in 1966, launched Radio Hauraki.

Oh it’s an IRONY is it Chris? That TV3, the private-sector network driven by greed would actually end up being the one that pushed progressive news and themes the hardest. And this:

One of the strangest aspects of New Zealand’s deeply conformist society is the way it drives so many of its non-conforming citizens into the private sector. Not, it must be said, in the spirit of avarice that makes true capitalists rich, but because it seemed to them about the only place where it was possible to set up an institution capable of saying “Yes”.

That’s the final joke arising from Trotter’s suggestions about the Great Things Government Can Do for entrepreneurs in the wake of the Sino Sinus Disease, and what is really the only lesson and thing they actually need to do for all the talk of “new incentives and new opportunities.

Stop saying “No” and get out of the fucking way.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 10, 2020 at 1:47 am

Thank your agent and your God and fuck off.

UPDATE:

Like most sensible people I’ve ignored the big US film and TV award ceremonies for twenty years now, mainly because of the declining quality of traditional cinema and broadcast TV offerings, and also because of the relentless Lefty political messaging, which has actually grown worse in the Age Of Woke.

Ricky Gervais

I’ve also never been a big fan of British comedian Ricky Gervais. Although the few glimpses I saw of him in the British comedy original The Office, were very good, it seemed that he stuck with the same persona in other TV and movie outings, and I just didn’t laugh as I had at his character of David Brent. As a result I was only vaguely aware that he had been hosting the Golden Globe (film and TV) awards in the US for the last few years.

Between the attack of the WokeScolds on Western comedians recently and various Deplatforming and Cancel Culture efforts aimed at all sorts of people – including Lefty Luvvies formerly in good standing like J K Rowling (author of billion selling books about Harry Potter), and Gervais himself – he apparently has had a gutsful of the entire celebrity culture.

And with his fifth and last Golden Globe hosting he chose to launch an all-out attack on Hollywood, most of it in the opening monologue of almost eight minutes.

It is a thing of great beauty and savagery as he rips them for their bullshit on everything from pre-teen dates and Apple’s Chinese sweat shops to Jeffery Epstein and private jets to Climate Change conferences.

The video is priceless for seeing the gobsmacked reactions, gasps and groans of his rich celebrity audience.

Am I a Good Man? Have I led a good life?

The look on the faces of the likes of Tom Hanks and others is precious in every sense of the word.

In roasts it’s usually one person and the crowd laughs along: here it’s the audience themselves who get roasted and they’re not happy as they grimly try to go with the flow.

It’s a fucking bloodbath – but they’ll learn nothing from it. Some choice examples:

“[Apple is] a company who runs sweatshops in China. You say you’re ‘woke’ … If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent.”

“When I saw the list of people who died, it wasn’t diverse enough, it was mostly white people and I thought, no, not on my watch.”

His wrap up was as follows:

“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you’ve spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg

So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and fuck off. Okay?”

Gervais knows that nothing is funnier or more liberating than mocking a room full of people who can’t take a joke.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 7, 2020 at 1:26 am

What not to do with a classic

Jeff Wayne – The War Of The Worlds album (1978)

H.G Well’s famous SF novel, The War Of The Worlds, has been adapted many times: movies, TV series, radio dramas and even a music album. The most famous was the 1938 radio version narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin, and it put the wind up a few people who thought there was a real alien invasion, though the reactions were much exaggerated by the newspapers of the time as they sought to discredit radio “news”.

The picture above is from one of the most strangely successful versions of all – it’s an album cover from a musical double album of “Progressive Rock” produced in 1978 by an artist called Jeff Wayne. With the imperious voice of actor Richard Burton as “The Journalist”, this strange idea somehow worked. It was a massive best-seller and has sold 15 million copies to date.

Other adaptations have not been so good, and the latest version – a three-part BBC series that tries to place itself in the original Victorian setting – has been overwhelmingly panned by professional critics and the public alike. A lot of this seems to be down to the Woke Politics of the screenplay, wherein the British Army is revealed to be as useless and stupid as everything else about Victorian England and the British Empire – except the ladies, who are left to take charge and kick Martian butt, ….. or something.

But my favourite review has to be this one from the IMDB website, “And early in the 21st century came the great disillusionment“. If you’re a fan of the book you’ll recognise parts of this:

No one would have believed in the 19th year of the 21st century, that the BBC was still being watched keenly and closely by intelligences soon to be mocked and insulted.

Men scrutinised and studied a great fictional work, alas as shallowly as a man with an iPhone might scrutinise the Mona Lisa. With infinite complacency men rewrote the fiction including extramarital little affairs and yammering on about their boring empire versus the Russians. It is possible that the incessant programmers on Netflix do the same.

No one gave a thought to the older generation patiently forking out our license fee year after year, patiently awaiting a truly grand presentation, but thought only to dismiss the ideas of H.G Wells as impossible or improbable and downright old-fashioned.

It is curious to comprehend some of the mental habits of those involved in this fiasco. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be a reasonable BBC adaptation of creatures coming from Mars, perhaps inferior to the novel, but still ready to welcome a quality enterprise.

Yet across the road in White City, minds that are clearly devoid of intellect, smallscale and unsympathetic, regarded this commission with blinkered eyes, and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel: TV Review

 
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (streaming on Amazon Prime), is a TV series set in New York in the late 1950’s that focuses on the decision of one Miriam Maisel – “Midge” to her friends – to become a stand-up comedian.

It is not what she planned. In the pilot episode, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is living a great life as a young, Jewish housewife and mother. The highlight of her day is buying more fabulous new clothes, setting up kids birthday parties and getting the Rabbi for Yom Kippur. Happily married with well-off middle class parents and living in a spacious Upper West Side apartment, her husband, Joel, is the one who wants to do standup and escape his well-paid corporate gig, and Midge supports him, often bribing the crew of The Gaslight club with food if they’ll put him on stage.

But he has no talent, and after one particularly awful show, a destroyed Joel goes home to tell Midge he’s been having an affair and is leaving her. In an instant, her world comes crashing down. Her parents tell her she needs a husband and that Joel needs to be made to return. Reeling from all this, and drunk, she staggers to The Gaslight and on to the stage to try and understand what Joel had been seeking there, only to find herself unloading to the audience about her situation in a biting display of anger, self-pity, tears and laughter.

Midge – Did I tell you he left me for his secretary? That’s right. She’s 21 and dumb as a Brillo pad. And I’m not naive. I know that men like stupid girls, right? (gesturing to a guy in the audience with his girlfriend)
Guy – “Uuuhhh”.
Midge – But I thought Joel wanted more than stupid. I thought he wanted spontaneity – and wit. I thought he wanted to be challenged, you know what I mean? (gesturing to the girlfriend)
Girlfriend – “Uuuhhh”.
Midge – You two are going to be together forever.

She finishes by baring her breasts, just as the cops come and arrest her for public indecency and performing without a licence (Midge – “You need a licence to do that?). She’s chucked in the back of a police car along with Lenny Bruce, who has been arrested at another club for obscenity, as usual.
 
One of the Gaslight staff, Susie Myerson, played by Alex Borstein, sees Midge’s drunken ramble and determines that she has a gift. She bails Midge out and tries to persuade her to pursue standup comedy as a career, with Susie as her manager, while Midge dismisses the whole thing as an embarrassing one-off. But later, after yet another domestic crisis and another drunken ramble at The Gaslight, Midge begins to realise that this might be for her. And as things develop in the series she begins to see she could be great, and moreover, realises that she wants to be. She starts to learn the trade by watching and listening to other standups, and suffering a couple of terrible stage failures. She also decides to keep this all secret from everybody she knows and gets a day job: naturally it’s in the makeup department of a rich store, and naturally she’s great at it. Thus does Season One roll for eight episodes.
 
Brosnahan is just stunning in the role of Midge. I first saw her several years ago in her breakout role as a drugged, down-and-out prostitute in the US version of House of Cards. She took a movie stereotype and made her vivid, but it’s the mark of a great actress when she can create another one that makes you forget the first. Her Midge is attractive, smart, sassy, knowing, yet also strangely innocent in some ways. Even being arrested by the cops causes her outrage, not fear: such is her privilege. There is no question that the show revolves around her, but so does the fictional world she lives in: “Can’t you stop talking about yourself for one moment?“, Susie asks at one point. No! She can’t, but that’s the reason she can do stand-up in the first place.
 
All great comedies need a straight-man, and in this case it’s Susie, who is almost everything Midge is not: short, dumpy, frumpy (pants, braces and cap every day), cynical, aggressive, and foul-mouthed. And poor; she eats straight from a pot on her swing-down bed in her tiny, rented bedsit. But she’s smart, verbal, knows the business, and knows talent when she sees it.
 
The whole series flies forward on whirling, whizzing repartee in almost every scene. It’s a throwback to the great 1940’s Screwball comedies like His Girl Friday. This is a “talky” series that demands you pay attention. Borstein and Brosnahan have great chemistry: you sometimes want to strangle Midge – and you want Susie to be the one to do it.
 
But all the characters are developed steadily and you begin to like every one, even with their infuriating faults. Joel, the cheating husband, is not left as simple cypher of betrayal: you actually begin to gain respect for him as he faces up to the godawful mistake he’s made, realises Midge has the gift he so badly wanted, reconciles at least a little with her, and quits his corporate job to run his parent’s business.
 
Similarly, Midge’s mother, Rose, comes off as haughty, snobby and cold – but then begins to show how much she is Midge’s mother; sexy and smart, though hemmed in by the rules of an earlier Jewish generation. Midge’s dad, Abe (wonderfully underplayed by Tony Shalhoub), is a genius mathematician teaching at Columbia, and is self-involved and distracted to the nth degree: shades of Midge again. Joel’s parents are working class Jews who’ve fought their way up to owning a clothing factory, and their constant clash with Midge’s academic parents is best shown when Abe, desperate to put Midge and Joel back together, visits the factory, where he’s appalled:

He brought them here and stuck them in his factory! Is he paying these poor people? Are their toilets for them? I’ve seen their faces! I can’t be sure of this, but one of them has a look like, ‘I should’ve taken my chances back in Germany!

The sets are lush and gorgeous, perfect derivations from a 1959 edition of Better Homes. In the same manner as LA Confidential, the background is determined to have every aspect set in that time, even if the average viewer will never notice: the apartments, the bars and delis, the slightly worn seats in the diner. The show is in 4K, which means that in a way you’d expect of a CGI SF movie, all this visual detail is relentless.
 
“We got the Rabbi”
 
The clothes even more so, in their case modified from the pages of 1950’s Vogue. Most women I know have drooled over Midge’s wardrobe and I have to admit that it’s attention getting. The wardrobe designers must be in 7th heaven as they put together these fanciful creations with the colours popping out at you: the swing coats, cinched-waists and capri-pants pulling your gaze away from the perfectly coiffed hair, makeup and hats.
 
There are visual tricks worthy of the movies. Scenes that you realise are choreographed shoutouts to musicals. At one point Rose runs away to Paris to recapture her art-loving youth (“I was unhappy. I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore“), and when Abe and Midge follow, there is a transition from the New York to Paris skylines that echoes Lawrence of Arabia blowing out the match or the man-ape throwing the bone into the air.
 
Then there’s the music. The episodes are packed with jazzy pieces, obscure British music hall ditties, Broadway showtunes, torch songs and lilting ballads from the mid 20th century. But they’re selected with the same care and attention to detail as everything else: when Susie and Midge are hotly debating money in a diner, the quiet background tune is the Andrews Sisters singing  Rum and Coca Cola, with it’s drawn-out refrain of “Working for the Yankee Dollar“.
 
But in one of the great quirks of the series, the songs that play over the end credits are from the 70’s and 80’s. So when Midge realises she can’t make money via standup yet and must get a job, we close with the great XTC’s Dear Madam Barnum. When Susie attacks a famous woman comic, which could see Midge blacklisted in NYC, the ending is Siouxsie And The Banshees Cities in Dust. When she finally tells her parents what she’s doing in Season 2: cue Romeo Void’s Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing).
 
At this rate it’s quite possible they’ll play NWA’s Express Yourself, Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, and The Art of Noise remix of Suzzane Vega’s Tom’s Diner.
 
It’s true that between the sets, the clothes, the dialog and the music, Mrs Maisel is a fairy tale. We rarely see her children, who stay with her parents every night (with their maid, naturally) while she goes out to work gritty clubs (her parents have no idea in the first season and think she’s dating). Her brassy magical touch dissolves glass ceilings and there’s no systemic discrimination standing between her and her dream that can’t be knocked down with the right one-liner.
 
But it may become more than escapist, laugh-out-loud fluff, and I’m not sure I want it to. Season 2 was not as tightly focused, but showed that this dreamy perfection was a thick facade. Joel is called in to get money out of a scumbag club owner, which involves the punch in the nose even Susie apparently can’t deliver! We get a glimpse of the potentially selfish destruction in Midge when she excitedly accepts an offer as an opener for a Nat King Cole-like crooner on a six month tour of the USA and Europe – remembering only at the end of the day that her handsome surgeon boyfriend, Benjamin, has proposed to her (and she’s still married to Joel). And the kids? Lenny Bruce, who has befriended her, invites her to see his first performance on The Steve Allen Show (again, perfectly rendered from the actual 1960 series), where he riffs on a husband looking back on an abandoned marriage but a great career that left him, “All Alone, All Alone“.
 
And of course when Midge transgresses the mild rules of the era in her first TV appearence by using hypnotising hand motions and murmuring “Vote For Kennedy,… Vote For Kennedy“, it’s a marker that the 60’s are fast approaching, when the demons will be unleashed, and the feminism that Midge almost, but not quite encapsulates, bursts forth. Will she move forward or fall backwards, into that?
 
We’ll see what happens in Season 3 later this year, and while the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, is not known for dark stuff, it’s hard to see how this airy confectionary world can continue much longer. We still laugh, Midge is still fearless, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid, but we know that terrible things are drawing near.
 

Written by Tom Hunter

May 19, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,