Good shorthand can ruin a marriage (on TV)

So, the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is now out on its second series. It is a great show.

But I am so pleased I was not the only one to notice the casual demonisation of shorthand in the first series. What? I hear you ask.

Well Regina Gurung spells it out perfectly, in her piece for Meaww.

Gurung writes: “When suddenly my conscience pricked that I was laughing at a woman, making fun of another woman, who “stole” her husband, with her “shorthand skills.”

Penny Pann

“When Midge pours her heart out to her Upper West side Manhattan best friend Imogene Cleary, Imogene immediately warns Midge about these “shorthand girls” who attend secretarial school only to seduce their rich husbands. She further goes on to add that she chose the “longhand” approach and got married, in her words, the “right way.”

“This leads to the break-out plot for Mrs. Maisel as she takes the stage highly intoxicated and cracks her jokes to the applauding crowd; “You’ve heard about the shorthand girls? These are girls whose skill in life is not writing full sentences.” Mrs. Maisel goes on to develop the joke that she attended a high-end private school to learn writing full sentences only to lose her husband to his shorthand secretary.”

As Gurung points out, the Shorthand-equipped character Penny Pann – the name itself is made fun of – is portrayed as something of an air-headed idiot. Chances are, in real life such a woman would have been anything but. Ms Pann would have had to have worked hard in 1950s America to have learned the requisite skills needed for such a job.

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