The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season One Pilot) Second Act Treatment

The narrative structure of everything in a single episode

Hot on the heels of Jay Hayward's post about Giving Your Story the Subtxt Treatment, I present a detailed Plotting of Transit Two from the Season One Pilot of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Developed during the first cohort of Narrative First's The Secret Structure to Episodic Television, the following is a look at the end result of what it looks like when you develop a story with Subtxt.

Many believe television to somehow follow a different narrative "structure" than a screenplay, or a novel. When you apply a comprehensive model of the mind's problem-solving process, you quickly find out that all story is story--regardless of medium.

The Pilot Episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Nowhere is this similarity in narrative structure more apparent than in the Season One Pilot of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Developed around the Pivotal Elements of Deviation and Accurate, this episode tells a story of virtue wherein Midge Maisel abandons "being wrong" for being deadly accurate.

The Dramatic Argument of the Pilot Episode

Once plugged into the Subtxt Narrative Engine and sent to the render farm, the Act order of Thematic Issues returned illustrates what should happen when:

The Thematic Transits of the Pilot Episode

The illustrated Treatment below focuses on the Second Thematic Transits of each Throughline. This would include Being for the Objective Story Throughline plot, Progress for the Main Character Throughline (Midge), Preconscious for the Influence Character (both Lenny and Susie), and Learning for the Relationship Story (the fellow comedians/marriage of Midge and Joel).

During the class, we broke down some of the Transits into Thematic Progressions. Smaller engines of story, the Progressions tell the mini-story of the Transits above them.

The Thematic Progressions of the Second Transit

While the Main Character and Influence Character Throughlines stay with the Transits, both the Objective Story and Relationship Story Throughlines break down into these smaller Progressions.

A Subtxt Treatment breaks a narrative down into Moments. These could be Sequences, Scenes, or even Chapters in a novel. Any time the Author wishes to mark a significant moment in time for the narrative, they do so by dropping a Storybeat into a Moment.

In addition, the Treatment includes the Thematic Cycles for each Storybeat (the "Situation/Potential/Growth" bit). These are calculated at render time and present the Author with a comprehensive of how each Storybeat will play out across the narrative spectrum.

Enjoy! 😃

Plotting: Act Two

The Pilot Episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Moment #1: Susie Meets Them Outside the Club

An exploration of Knowledge while Being (being well-known for something) OS: Situation/Potential/Growth

Susie knows Joel is a fraud but won't say anything (she brings out the brisket). "Saw your act." (Meaning you're a cheat and a steal). Very judgmental.

Moment #2: Going Over Notes in the Cab

An exploration of Investigation while Learning (questioning someone) RS: Situation/Potential/Growth

An exploration of Desire while Being (increase desire) OS: Mentality/Resistance/Expansion

Husband and wife comedy team going over notes about the performance. He doesn't want to talk about it.

Midge in the cab going over the notes, drawn towards comedy.

Moment #3: Midge Getting Ready for Bed, Waking Up Early

An exploration of Learning (reporting the truth) RS: Standpoint/Current/Expansion

An exploration of Ability while Being (having a talent for something) OS: Activity/Current/Transformation

The wife secretly gets ready for bed, so the husband doesn't learn what's really going on while he's asleep.

Midge has a great talent for being a housewife, and fitting in.

Moment #4: Midge at her Parent's House

An exploration of Progress (addresses something deteriorating) MC: Activity/Resistance/Expansion

"It's easier to be happy when you're pretty." Mom critiques Midge's arms and can't help but state the facts: her daughter is gaining weight. Rose also can't help but talk about how big Midge's daughter's head is.

Moment #5: Midge With her Friend Checking Measurements

An exploration of Progress (addresses something deteriorating) MC: Activity/Resistance/Expansion

Midge hangs out with her friend. Midge checks all her measurements and notes how she's changing.

Moment #6: Midge Confronts Joel in the Kitchen about His Act

An exploration of Appraisal while Learning (getting a job review) RS: Activity/Resistance/Expansion

An exploration of Reappraisal while Learning (re-examining a group) RS: Mentality/Current/Transformation

Later, Midge learns that Joel ripped off Newhart's joke. She notes that Newhart does the same routine, only better and faster. Joel admits to what he did, but doesn't seem to care.

Joel tells her that's how it's done, and now Midge feels like she should apologize to her friend.

Moment #7: Joel Panics About The Night's Performance

An exploration of Thought while Being (is well thought of) OS: Standpoint/Power/Transcendence

Joel wants to be well thought of.

Midge thinks he should use the holes in his act. Joel thinks Susie is a man.

Moment #8: Susie Asks Her Why She is Asking for the Different Time

An exploration of Preconscious (being cold) IC: Activity/Resistance/Expansion

Susie refuses to talk to Midge. Wonders why she is the one asking for time, and not Joel. Susie eventually ignores Midge.

Moment #9: Joel Makes Jokes About His Sweater

An exploration of Doubt while Learning (distrusting something) RS: Standpoint/Power/Transcendence

Husband freaks out about the holes in the shirt, distrusts what his wife says about making jokes about the shirt. When he actually goes on stage and tries to make jokes, he bombs. His failure starts to sow the seeds of doubt in their relationship.

You can find the entire Storyform the Pilot Episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel here.

Originally published 07-08-2022