Warning: This article contains spoilers for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Writer and producer Amy Sherman-Palladino has returned with the wildly successful “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Winner of eight Emmy awards and multiple Golden Globe awards, the show follows Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a Jewish housewife in 1950s New York City whose pristine life comes to a shocking halt with news of her husband’s affair and her surprising knack for stand-up comedy. With the wild success of the first season, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has already been renewed for a third season before the release of season two.
In the show, Midge begins honing her act with the help of insider Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), who becomes her manager. Throughout Midge’s insurgence into the Manhattan comedy scene, while coping with her new life as a single mother living a floor above her eccentric parents, she discovers independence she never knew was possible. Midge’s new life is met with backlash from her traditional Jewish parents: her father Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub), an intense yet loving professor, and her mother Rose Weissman (Marin Hinkle), a nervous and inquisitive housewife. They represent the life that Midge was supposed to have with her estranged husband Joel (Michael Zegen), as Midge begins to befriend pillars of the comic nightlife such as Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) and Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch).
Previous Season Recap:
In the first season, Joel is originally the one with dreams of comedic success, while Midge is his loyal supporter who makes a brisket week after week as a bribe for the owner of the Gaslight Cafe to convince him to move Joel to a better time slot. Joel’s comedy act leaves much to be desired, and he becomes frustrated by the pressure to the point where he copies someone’s act and lashes out at Midge for her support. One night, he packs Midge’s suitcase and leaves her for his secretary, Penny Pann. In a drunken rage, the disheveled Mrs. Maisel finds herself back at the Gaslight, but this time on the stage. Her honest and hysterical breakdown causes such a riot that she is arrested and then bailed out by Susie, who believes in her natural talent. Susie attempts to convince Midge to become a comedian and Midge ultimately relents, after a fallout with her parents and her refusal of Joel’s first apologies. She continues to maintain a bold new life, taking on her own job while managing her family and creating a comedic persona all the while. Midge begins to ride the ups-and-downs of “showbiz,” getting “black-balled by multiple theatres, being arrested multiple times and facing writer’s block and rejection.” Throughout all this, she creates a new life for herself, getting a job as a makeup girl and trying to be a part of her family.
To Binge or Not to Binge?
In my opinion, this show is impossible not to binge. The premise alone is something so fresh and engaging: two fiercely independent and vastly different women taking on the comedy scene in 1950s New York City. The complex relationship established between Midge and Susie takes shape in the clash of their very separate worlds in a poignant and hilarious fashion.
Another piece of this show that is unique is the presence of Midge’s inner circle. For instance, Midge’s fears of becoming a divorcee are accentuated in her quirky best friend Imogene and paralleled in the efforts of Abe and Rose to cope with the devastation of their traditional family. Rose turns to her gaudy psychic Drina, whose expensive and bogus foresights act as a therapy for her, and Abe turns to the in-laws Moishe and Shirley Maisel, whose beliefs lie far from his own and cause more fighting over the case of their children.
Lastly, this show is so important to watch today with the voices of women finally being heard in society. In the first episode, we see Midge and Joel get ready for bed and turn out the lights. When Joel is asleep, Midge sneaks to the bathroom to take her makeup off and put on a night cream. She sneaks back into bed but wakes up before Joel does in order to put her makeup back on, providing him the illusion that she has looked pristine all night. This expectation placed upon her is later shown in a scene where Rose completes the same nightly routine for Abe. However, this cycle is broken when Joel comes back in the final episode to reunite with Midge, and she finally reveals all of the things she did for him. This message is key to the ideas of body image in today’s women’s movements.
Best Episode: Season One, Episode Six — “Mrs. X at the Gaslight”
Similar Shows: “Gilmore Girls,” “Bunheads,” “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” “30 Rock,” “Crashing” and “Mad Men”
Trigger Warnings: Moderate profanity, nudity and usage of alcohol and drugs.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video
Eight episodes, Approximately seven hours total, 50 min episodes.