The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel S1E8 (Spoilers)

Maisel.jpeg

I started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel a couple of weeks ago, after several friends gave it glowing reviews. I liked it from the first five minutes! I think it’s very well-written and well-acted. I like that it tells a story of a time shortly before I was born. I like that all the main characters are Jewish. I like that it brings in Jewish culture and sprinkles in the occasional Yiddish word. I really like that it brings up pop culture from the period, mentioning people like Ed Sullivan, Bob Newhart, and Lenny Bruce. (The actor who plays Lenny is funny!) I love that Midge was arrested and shared the police car with Lenny. I love love love that Abe is played by Tony Shalhoub! (I was a huge fan of Monk.)

I noticed in one episode that there was an anachronism. The emcee at the comedy place asked the crowd to “give it up” for Midge. Nobody said “give it up” in the 1950s. I think it was invented in the 1990s by Arsenio Hall. I wasn’t sure if this was done intentionally or was a slip up. It bothered me a little, not knowing. But overall, I really liked the show, and I’ve been watching one episode every few nights (rather than binge watching the whole thing), so I will have something to look forward to.

Last night, I watched S1E8, the final episode of the first season. Another anachronism. A character in the office used the term “yada, yada, yada”. I believe that was invented also in the 1990s by Jerry Seinfeld. I’m beginning to think that the anachronisms are thrown in intentionally. I’m OK with that. It is consistent with their use of contemporary music in the closing theme.

But then something happened in S1E8 that I did not like at all. They went there. “There” meaning Midge and Joel decided to sleep together. Terrible idea! I hated that they were doing that. I wanted to scream at the TV. Rule #1 in life: Don’t sleep with your ex. Sex with the ex: BAD idea. Why? Rule #2 in life: People do what people do, and they will do it again. They broke up because Joel slept with his secretary. He will do it again with someone else. Why? Rule #3: Once a cheater, always a cheater.

So Midge and Joel slept together, and I watched it, partially covering my eyes. And I knew what was going to happen next. One or both of them would want to get back together, to reconcile. Or they would think that they want to get back together. Ding ding ding! Jackpot. Both of them said they wanted to get back together.

Midge told her father that she wanted to get back together with Joel because she missed him. “I just missed him so much!” she said. Not a good reason! She was conveniently forgetting what he had done.

At this point, I was not sure I wanted to watch the show anymore. To me, it was transforming itself from a light-hearted comedy to soap opera drama, where the two characters were doing something stupid and I was forced to watch, and then later I’d have to watch the unpleasant consequences, WHICH I COULD HAVE WARNED THEM ABOUT!

Then something magic happened. A conversation between Midge and Abe.
Midge: Papa?
Abe: Yes?
Midge: What are you doing?
Abe: Alphabetizing my books.

Yes! A Monk crossover! I can’t want for Season 2 to start!

Advertisements

Day 3 of 3 Lyrical Challenge

Thanks again to Paula for nominating me for this challenge.

For day three, I’ve chosen Watching the Wheels, by John Lennon. John wrote this song as a response to the people who complained that he took five years off, between 1975-1980, to raise his son. To me, the meaning of the song is that we need to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Stop and smell the roses. Watch a sunset. Admire nature. Enjoy the company of family and friends.

In today’s hyper-busy multitasking world, people are too busy doing “stuff” to fully enjoy the simple things. I was at a concert last month at the Orange County Fair, where the man two seats over was holding up his phone for the entire two hours, recording the concert, and watching it on his tiny screen. When I was in Paris watching fireworks on Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower, there was a man seated in front of me doing the same thing as the man at the fair, recording the event and watching it on his tiny phone screen, effectively missing out on the live spectacular show. How insane is that?

Last night, I was at Irvine Spectrum Center, sitting on one of their nifty new color coded chairs, watching the wheels. I saw groups of friends not talking to each other, but holding up their phones in front of them as they walked zombilike from point A to point B. I’ll bet they didn’t even notice the nifty new color chairs!

People say I’m crazy
Doing what I’m doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin
When I say that I’m okay, well they look at me kinda strange
“Surely, you’re not happy now, you no longer play the game”

People say I’m lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
“Don’t you miss the big time boy, you’re no longer on the ball?”

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people ask me questions
Lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there’s no problem
Only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me, as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round

I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

Songwriter: John Lennon
Watching The Wheels © 1980 Lenono Music (BMI)

Day 2 of 3 Lyrical Challenge

Thanks again to Paula for nominating me for this challenge.

For day two, I’ve chosen I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. I think the lyrics to this song capture the “never again” feeling after the end of a failed relationship extraordinarily well. I love the metaphor of the burst bubble, the words about feeling pain and sorrow, the admonishment to friends offering consolation (“Don’t tell me what it’s all about, ’cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out!”), and especially the imagery from this part:

What do you get when you give your heart?
You get it all broken up and battered
That’s what you get a heart that’s shattered

Most of all, I like the optimism at the end of the song, acknowledging that “never” doesn’t really mean “never”.

What do you get when you fall in love?
A girl with a pin to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for all your trouble
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

What do you get when you kiss a girl?
You get enough germs to catch pneumonia
After you do she’ll never phone you
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

Don’t tell me what it’s all about
‘Cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out
Out of those chains those chains that bind you
That is why I’m here to remind you

What do you get when you give your heart?
You get it all broken up and battered
That’s what you get a heart that’s shattered
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

What do you get when you fall in love?
You only get lies and pain and sorrow
So for at least until tomorrow
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Here’s my favorite version of the song.

Personal note:
I played this song on the piano as a young boy. Here is the sheet music from that time, which I still have.

Sheet Music3.jpeg

Day 1 of 3 Lyrical Challenge

Thanks to Paula for nominating me for this challenge.

For day one, I’ve chosen the first record I ever purchased as a child: Try a Little Kindness, by Glen Campbell. The lyrics are very simple, some might even say corny, but they are as meaningful now as when they were written. With all the things going on in the world today, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves to be kind.

I especially like this part:

And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

To me, this about acceptance. Kindness doesn’t just mean being nice to other people. It means accepting people for who they are.

Now here are the words.

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don’t walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

And here is a video from 1969, of Glen singing the song on his TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. I watched that show, and possibly saw this episode when I was eight years old.

Extra bonus: Here is the 45 RPM record and the record player that I played it on.

Finally, I nominate Erika and Andi for the lyrical challenge.

Zero Envy

zero.jpg

I still remember when Fiddler on the Roof came out as a movie in 1971. I had just turned ten years old. My parents had the album from the Broadway show, and we listened to it all the time on the record player. And I even played all the songs on the piano. Simplified version, of course. I was only ten years old.

I still have the piano book. Yes, this is the same book that I played from back in 1971, taped up and all. I sat down at the piano tonight, and I could still play all the songs. It’s like riding a bicycle,

piano.jpg

I think I also had a cassette tape of the music, which I listened to in my room on my portable tape recorder. I recorded it from the record by holding up the microphone to the speaker on the stereo that was playing the record. That’s how I recorded things in those days, either from a record or from the radio. The recording would always have background noise, like my sister or my parents talking, or the telephone ringing.

I don’t still have the tape recorder, but it looked something like this (photo courtesy of Ebay).

panasonic.jpg

Back to Fiddler, I remember when the movie came out, I was disappointed that Tevye wasn’t played by Zero Mostel. Who was this Topol? An Israeli actor? I felt like I was missing out, since I was too young to have seen the live broadway show with Zero.

After seeing the movie, I thought Topol did a fine job. But all these years, I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to see the real Tevye.

Tonight, I had this crazy idea that maybe there was a video of Zero Mostel playing Tevye, and maybe it was on YouTube. So I looked, and voila, look what I found! Yes, a video of Zero Mostel performing If I Were a Rich Man on the broadcast of the 1965 Tony Awards. Enjoy!

Decay of Society — The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis

I’m watching the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis. At least, I’m trying to watch it. So far, it’s not very entertaining.

I feel that this is an example of how society has devolved over the years. It seems to be a competition about who can be the meanest and exhibit the poorest taste. If the roastee, or anyone on the dais, has ever done something embarrassing in their life, someone is sure to bring it up. If they have a weakness, someone is sure to attack them for it. And the victim sits there and tries to grin and bear it.

People weren’t always this mean. I remember the Dean Martin Roasts from the ’70s. It being a roast, of course there was ribbing going on. But it was all good-natured. The roastee was always in on the joke.

I always looked forward to the Dean Martin roasts. They were fun to watch. And FUNNY!! People like Don Rickles, and Nipsy Russell, and Rich Little, and Joey Bishop, and Charlie Callas. They made me laugh out loud! And Foster Brooks. OMG, Foster Brooks. So hilarious!