I’m going to try very, very hard to just keep this focused on the dance and not the entirety of the episode. But if it slips, none of you could blame me because The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s “It’s Comedy or Cabbage” was one of the best episodes that year and it’s singlehandedly one of the best episodes of the entire series. (So yeah, no one can blame me, right?)
I’ve written about this episode before. I’ll likely never stop writing about this episode when it’s this captivating. Brosnahan and Kirby do so much in silence during this episode it’s both painful and breathtaking. It’s sensational. The entirety of the episode is one stunning moment after another that somehow works seamlessly even though it probably shouldn’t. (Even though we all know/knew we shouldn’t be invested in this relationship. That it likely won’t happen.) And yet. There’s something so psychedelically moving about the relationship between Lenny and Midge because the amount of mutual adoration is reserved solely for the other. The expanse of love buried deep within them is transcendent—it’s fleeting and everlasting all at once because there’s so much happening, neither of them know how to handle it. (And frankly, neither do I.) If they give in, everything changes. If they don’t, all they have is this moment, all-consuming and sensational, bound to end after a night of sharing longing gazes, a dance, jackets, and cigarettes.
“You’re staring.” Because how could he not? How could he not wonder and try and consider? How can he stop when he cares? He’s staring because this moment matters. He’s staring because no matter how many people in the room, she’s the only sensational act even in silence.
“You’re still staring.”
“So are you.”
You could feel every ounce of the emotions stripping them bare during the dance when they declared that their inability to crack a joke felt nice. Throughout the entirety of the episode, they were each other’s sanctuary. They were each other’s home away from home, for Lenny especially whose inability to settle down has often been a result of his despondent nature. But for a moment, Midge is his home, the light in the darkness that frequently embodies him.
Their swaying bodies told the story of the two people who’d grown to understand one another on a profoundly unreachable scale another soul might never cross, and it’s that very understanding that makes it easy for them to be so vulnerable with each other. Whether it’s Lenny’s genuine fascination with Midge’s entire being or her deep respect of his opinion, the unspoken adoration for one another is so painfully evident in the episode, it’s perhaps what makes it so evocative. They might never be, but what’s there, it is poetry. It’s sensational. It’s a date. Maybe, someday.
The ambiance. The lighting. The way they’re both so comfortable with each other is greatly telling of what’s within. The camera panning to them as everyone else around simply dances while they savor every moment of this quiet bliss coupled with immeasurable heat that’s stirring inside. It’s transcendent. It’s the way that neither of them understand what’s fully happening as their bodies sway only that wherever they’ve escaped to, it’s easy to be there.
It’s the way the club lights go from burning red to orange right as Lenny gently moves Midge’s hand further into his embrace, towards his neck as her head is on his shoulder. It’s the symbolic showcase of warmth and heat and joy and balance. Something they both, to a degree struggle with, and yet in this moment, they’re so perfectly in tune with one another, with their bodies, that it’s liberating in every sense.
Securely wrapped into a moment that’s entirely theirs, their souls spoke with more ardent declarations and words than either of their gigs could in a lifetime. It’s the most serenity either of them have known in a long, long time and no matter how little they understand, no matter where it goes, this moment is something that will stay with both of them forever.