Mrs. Maisel goes full Alinsky on Mrs. Schlafly

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz
SPOILERS AHEAD

Alinsky rule #13
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Pamela Geller introduced me to Phyllis Schlafly at the 2008 RNC convention in Minneapolis. Of course I knew of Mrs. Schlafly’s many controversial positions (on many of which I disagreed), but I was surprised that she read my blog. She was very pleasant and after encouraging words about my blog, said, “It’s important for women to stand up for their beliefs.”

Fast-forward to 2019, as I watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s third season on Amazon.

I love the series’ fairy tale clothes and setting of an idealized 1950s New York.

Mrs. Maisel, however, is a potty-mouthed obnoxious comedienne who traipses through Manhattan life dressed to the nines. The daughter of a Columbia University professor who’s always been an academic and a trust fund heiress of a rich oil family, Midge’s life was turned upside down by her husband’s infidelity, and she turned to stand-up comedy as a career.

Of course her father’s a communist.

Midge’s in-laws, who actually work hard for their very comfortable living, are portrayed as crass. and common. They live in Queens.

The third season is essentially a 1950s musical, complete with tracking shots, dance numbers, synchronized swimming and absolutely gorgeous fashions and cars.

Life in stand-up is tricky, and Midge must turn to voice work doing radio commercials. She takes a job doing a live skit – for Phyllis Schlafly.

Enter Saul Alinsky.

To make a long story short, the characters repeatedly describe Mrs. Schlafly as a MONSTER, in righteousness and outrage. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. And drive the point home. I doubt most viewers had heard about Phyllis before this, but now they know her as a MONSTER.

You can’t even watch a miniseries without your medicine.

It’s ironic, however, that a series about a woman finding her voice stoops to demonizing a woman who had a voice.




The unsuitable 90 Day Fiances

Why settle for a totally unsuitable romantic partner who lives here in the USA, when you can quit your job, travel thousands of miles to a miserable-yet-exotic location where you don’t speak the language, and spend your life savings on an alien you met through the internet ?

That is the premise of the 90 Day Fiance TV franchise on the TLC cable channel.

The 90 days refer to the K-1 visa
“If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).”

The franchise has several series: The original 90 Day Fiancé (now on its sixth season), 90DF: Before the 90 Days (three seasons), 90DFHappily Ever After (four seasons), 90DF: What Now? (three seasons), and 90DF: The Other Way (one season).

There’s also Pillow Talk, where 90DF alumni comment on 90DF: Before the 90 Days in bed while consuming a lot of snacks. The funniest are black American brothers Tarik and Dean, and married couple David and Annie (he’s American, she’s from the Philippines).

I came across the 90DF: Before the 90 Days one day when I was fighting a cold, and quickly became hooked. It’s a soap opera without the fancy clothes.

There are cougars Darcey, Rebecca, and Angela. Rebecca and Angela are grandmothers. Darcey can’t seem to stop crying (maybe because her clothes are two sizes too small), and Angela can’t stop verbally abusing her Nigerian boyfriend (who is 20 years younger, wants a baby, quit his job to become a kept man at her request, and is a Trump fan). Darcey’s boyfriend Tom is English but they detoured to Albania (miserable location); Tom is a crackerjack salsa dancer, which made her cry because she can’t dance. Darcey and her identical twin sister wear matching outfits, as do Rebecca and her boyfriend. Angela hasn’t matched outfits … yet. Rebecca’s Arab boyfriend, who took her money to buy her a ring, just rode off on an ATV into the Sahara desert when she told him she’s still married to her third husband. 

The guys are not faring much better: religious Ben’s sweating bullets over negotiating the bride price for his Kenyan girl, ultrametrosexual Tim can’t summon the energy to make love to his beautiful Colombian girlfriend, and Caesar’s spent US$40,000+ on his Ukrainian catfish (look up the word if you never heard of it) who sounds like Peggy from the Discover card ads. Through it all, Tim exfoliates and moisturizes daily.

These are all grownups who ought to know better. The one that has her parents worried is nineteen year old Avery, who six months ago converted to Islam, and went with her mom to Lebanon where she married Syrian Omar four days after first meeting him in person. Two million Syrians are camping in Turkey seeking shelter from the war but Avery insists that she’ll move to Syria if Omar is denied a visa. You can hear the audience saying, “if she were my daughter … “

If it sounds complicated, it is!

Get some popcorn in the microwave, watch the fiances and you’ll be hooked soon after.

Fausta Wertz is enjoying her retirement from blogging about more serious matters.