‘Mrs. Maisel’ executive says show is not antisemitic

Amazon studio head said series creator is listening to criticisms ‘moving forward.’

February 14, 2019 17:44
1 minute read.
RACHEL BROSNAHAN stars in the critically acclaimed series ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’

RACHEL BROSNAHAN stars in the critically acclaimed series ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’. (photo credit: AMAZON STUDIOS)


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A studio executive involved in the hit Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – about a Jewish woman in the 1950s – pushed back this week against criticisms that the show traffics in antisemitic stereotypes.

Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, addressed the controversy during a discussion at the Television Critics Association on Wednesday, according to TVGuide.com. Salke said the creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, strove to provide a positive portrayal.

“I think, and Amy and Dan feel very strongly about this, this show is a love letter to the Jewish community, and she grew up in that community and she feels very affectionate toward the community,” Salke said of Sherman-Palladino, according to TVGuide. “We’re not worried about [the criticism] because we just don’t accept that the spirit of it is offensive in any way, but she is aware of that and being very thoughtful about that moving forward.”

The series, which won eight Emmy Awards last year, has received largely positive reviews and accolades, particularly for its star, Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the eponymous Midge Maisel. But some have said the show, which features two Jewish families, the Maisels and the Weismans, uses stereotypes for laughs.

Writing in The New Yorker, reviewer Emily Nussbaum said the character of “Midge’s greedy father-in-law, [is] a portrait so coarse that it verges on antisemitism.”

And TV critic Paul Brownfield called out the show last month, writing in the Los Angeles Times that it “regularly repurposes Jewish stereotypes...  at a moment of resurgent antisemitism both domestically and among anti-immigrant nationalist regimes in Europe.”
Brownfield concludes: “However ‘Jewish’ Sherman-Palladino wants the show to be, ‘Maisel’ fails to grapple with the realities of the moment in Jewish American history it portrays. Which is ultimately what leaves me queasy about its tone – the shtick, the stereotypes, the comforting self-parody. The stereotypes aren’t that comforting anymore.”

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