Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Kelly Wittenberg

Second Advisor

Monty Ernst

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Abshear


Licensed music in shows and movies is an art form of its own, and a difficult thing to master. It can make or break a show, but when it works, it really works. Licensed music can become inseparable from a show’s identity, creating some outstanding soundtracks for shows like The Bear, Miami Vice, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, and many more. You can’t listen to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins without thinking of the iconic scene from Miami Vice.

But there’s one soundtrack that interests me more than the rest: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon Prime’s prestigious late-1950s period television series follows the titular Mrs. Maisel, and her journey from a normal housewife to a vulgar comedian. The series is very careful with its historical accuracy, and features hundreds of period-accurate songs, including, but not limited to, tracks from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington. However, at the end of each episode, the soundtrack breaks its own rules during the end credits, when it uses songs from decades later, ranging from 1966 to 2002. Including songs from David Bowie, Elton John, John Lennon, and Joan Jett, all artists that wouldn’t be popular until long after when the show takes place.

My thesis project is a documentary film that explores the usage of three different songs in particular episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and what purpose they serve to the content of the show. These songs play during the end credits, and become non-diegetic, which means that they exist outside of the world of our characters, so it doesn’t break the immersion. The tracks used during the credits capture the show’s rebellion against societal norms, especially those against women at the time, and the lyrics utilized in the chosen songs often emphasize that. The lyrics recapture and reemphasize the thematic elements of the show, and what takes place in each episode.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted