Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Review: Episode 6 of “Mrs. Maisel” Is a Clever Tribute to the Friars Club and to Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose”

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“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is coming to an end, soon. I’ve seen it all the way through and it just keeps getting better and better.

This week, Amazon dropped an episode that flashes quite a bit into the future at different times. We see Midge and Susie have their falling out, get the reason, find out Joel’s fate, and learn that Midge — who married a couple of times after Joel — almost wed Philip Roth.

Mostly the episode is about Susie, in the 1970, being roasted at the Friars Club. Amy Sherman-Palladine and Daniel Palladino shot the episode in the actual Friars Club last year, the final event in real life at the Club that has been destroyed by greedy new proprietors. (They’ve just put the famous building up for sale to pay off their $13 million loan.)

It’s a lovely end for the Friars dining room. Unfortunately, I am told, someone stole the Friars sign outside right off the brick wall by the time they were done. (Not kidding.)

The Palladino’s do something cool in this episode, which is filled with music circa 1970. The needle drops are many, which means Amazon cleared a lot of expensive music including an end credit recording of Elton John singing his great “Love Song.” (A lost gem, for sure.) There are references to Three Dog Night and Grand Funk Railroad, who’ve been hired to perform at Midge’s Hawaiian wedding.

The Palladino’s love classic Woody Allen. It shows up all through “Mrs. Maisel.” Not “Interiors.” All of Woody’s great comedies roll through the show, starting with the patois and the look, lots of Jewish references. A lot of people think Midge is a take off on Joan Rivers, but she also be Woody before he became a serious filmmaker.

In this episode Susie’s history as legendary manager of comics is the central theme. While she’s being roasted in the dining room, the Palladinos cut to a bunch of comics hanging around a late night table. In Rashomon style they alternate telling stories about Susie’s climb to greatness, depicted then in flashbacks to scenes new to us. The stories get more and more outrageous.

Anyone who knows Woody Allen will recognize this as a tribute to “Broadway Danny Rose.” Danny, like Susie, claws his way up, although not as successfully, representing odd ball acts. The narrative is strung together by comics in the Carnegie Deli reminiscing and topping each other with Danny Rose gossip. (Also, I can’t help thinking that Midge not marrying Philip Roth in fiction “because he doesn’t make me laugh” — is a sly take on Mia Farrow dating the humorless Roth in real life.)

It’s a beautiful episode, full of grand verbal architecture, and lots of images that will always resonate. It also turns a corner into the final three episodes of the series, which are all potential Emmy nominees and winners. Talk about going out with a bang!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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