MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL WINS BIG AT EMMYS
By margaretta wa gacheru (held 18 september 2018)
‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’, the Amazon-streaming series that’s in its first season, just won big time at the 70th annual Emmy Awards last Monday night (17th September) at the Microsoft Centre in Los Angeles, USA.
Winning five trophies for Best Comedy series as well as for best actress (Rachel Brosnahan), best supporting actor (Alex Borstein), best director and best script-writer (Amy Sherman-Pelladino) of a comedy, Mrs Maisel may not have been viewed by too many Kenyans as yet. But it’s got a great story and has special relevance to young Kenyan women. That relevance relates to the way women may be brought up to accept a subordinate social status but once they find that there’s a way forward—and that it’s only up to them to take it—they can rise to take up any task once thought to be only for men. That’s what happens to Mrs Maisel; it can happen to Kenyan women as well.
And while the story is set in the 1950s New York City, it’s about a newly-married woman in her 20s named Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel. She’s happy to be in a conventional middle class marriage where, despite having gone to one of the best women’s universities in the States, she’s thoroughly content to be a housewife whose whole life is focused on her man. His ambition is to be a stand-up comic and she does everything in her power to support him, but when he realizes he’ll never be a comedian, he reveals he’s been having an affair with his secretary and he leaves Midge for her. Midge is furious as he’s just smashed her dreams as well, but inadvertently, she takes the stand-up stage that he failed to command. That ‘inadvertent’ (and bumpy) path to finding her way into a professional career is what the series charts.
During her acceptance speech on Monday night, Rachel explained that the story “is all about a woman who’s finding her voice anew. It’s one of the things that’s happening right now all over the country,” and I believe all over the world.
Rachel is no stranger to cable TV series. She was in House of Cards for 13 episodes, played Abby Isaac in Manhattan, was in movies like The Unborn (while still in high school) and in network TV shows like Gossip Girl, The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy (while still at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts).
She’s even been on Broadway, making her debut in 2013 after which she starred as Desdemona in Othello opposite David Oyelowo (who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma) and Daniel (007) Craig.
What I enjoyed about ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ was the way her life was like a preview of what would happen to American women in the 1960s and beyond, when they woke up to realize they could dream dreams just as large or larger than men’s. And they could expect to achieve them on an equal basis with men, even if it meant challenging the status quo and expecting society to change for the betterment of not only the planet but of men as well as women.