The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Reviewed

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

By Emma McCormick

 

Intensely witty and fast dialogue. Strong female lead who every girl wants to be. A hint of anti-male sentiment and a dose of theatrical charm. You may recognize these elements as staples of writer Amy Sherman Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls. No, I am not about to tell you that there is yet another revival of Gilmore Girls (rejoice or despair, if you please). I am talking about the debut season of the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a 1950s period piece about a Jewish housewife who accidentally becomes a stand up comedian.

If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, did I mention it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy? And that the lead won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy? Yeah, so Palladino’s new show is no pathetic attempt to renew her recognition. This new show is beautifully done and,  dare I say it, outdoes Gilmore Girls with its complex lens of feminism from the standpoint of possibly one of the least “woke” times in American history.

The show begins as Mrs. Miriam Maisel, “Midge,” finds out that her husband, Joel, has had an affair with his “teenage secretary.” Joel is a bit of a dud whose riches have be handed to him; however, he’s not completely unlikeable because he is sweet, apologetic, and insecure. Before the affair, Joel pursued his passion in comedy by performing at the Gaslight, a local performance cafe, but he is cringingly bad. Meanwhile, Midge bolsters Joel’s ego by complimenting him and writing him new jokes herself.

Upon finding out her husband has had an affair, she gets wasted, retreats to the Gaslight, performs an impeccable, unrehearsed stand up set, flashes the crowd, gets arrested, and then proceeds to hide the affair from her Upper West Side family and friends (for the entire season!). Suzy, the Gaslight’s hardened butch owner, sees Midge’s natural talent and decides that Midge will be the next great American comic. Between sexism, class discrimination, and family disapproval, Midge carries on a dual life as both a soon to be divorcé and a budding comedian. Of course, drama ensues.

Miriam Maisel (played by Rachel Broshanan) performing the impromptu stand up set that inadvertently launches her career. Image Courtesy of Amazon

Miriam Maisel (played by Rachel Broshanan) performing the impromptu stand up set that inadvertently launches her career. Image Courtesy of Amazon

Rachel Broshanan, who you may recognize from House of Cards, stands at a mere 5 foot 1, but who says a mouse can’t bite? Her strong performance as Midge will knock you off your feet (as it did the Golden Globes judges). The rest of the expertly chosen cast screams Amy Sherman Paladino with its eclectic mix of personalities ranging from neurotic to psychotic. Aside from the pure talent of the cast which would be quite enough to drive the plot, it seems that Amazon’s budget for the whole affair must have been quite extravagant. Fashion lovers, get ready to melt. From Chanel suits to intricate corsets, the nostalgic wardrobe and set design will make you crave the “good ol’ days.”

I will save you from my overzealous and overwhelming praise. What is important is that you locate a friend willing to share their Amazon Prime password this instant so you can watch it.

 

Steven Norwalk