December 13, 2018

Welcome Back, Mrs. Maisel

“The high-class problem for a series that had an impressive first season is how to keep that momentum into the second. This is one problem that Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — the first streaming series to win the best comedy Emmy — does not have.

This show is nothing but momentum. It jabbers, it twirls, its heels click across the room. It would love to stay and chat but it’s gotta get somewhere.

The show’s delightful, exhausting spirit is turbocharged by the dialogue of the creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and embodied by its protagonist, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan), an uptown Manhattan housewife who launches a secret career as a comedian after her marriage falls apart. Brosnahan, infectiously brassy and confident, takes the scripts’ energy, torques it, and sends it careening like a top.

But also like a top, the first half of the new season, arriving in full Wednesday, covers a lot of ground while spinning back, narratively, to where it’s already been.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."

" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."

"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."

A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.

"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."

"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"

"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"

Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."

"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."

"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."

"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."

"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."