February 23, 2019

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.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."

"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."

"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"

"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."

"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."

"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"

"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."

"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."

"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."

"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."

"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "

"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."