A married woman discovers her husband has been fooling around with his secretary. She does what every wronged wife does: gets drunk and takes the stage of a comedy club and KILLS. She has the audience laughing at her woes. By the end of her routine she is dragged off to jail for indecency. Cussing and showing your breasts will have that result, especially in 1958. Amazon’s new series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is a gorgeous, fun and clever series, giving us two female characters who are funny, vulnerable and likable.
Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is living a fine life in 1950’s New York City. She lives in a gorgeous apartment with her husband Joel (Michael Zegen) and two kids. Upstairs are her parents Abe and Rose Weissman, played by Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle. Midge’s life includes dinner with her parents and Joel’s parents (Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron) or going to comedy clubs where Joel gets up for open mic performances. She and Joel seem to be the perfect couple. Then Midge discovers two things: Joel is stealing routines from other comedians and he is having an affair with his secretary. This leads to her impromptu performance on stage. The club manager, Susie (Alex Borstein), sees a real talent in Midge’s ability to get laughs and urges Midge to take comedy seriously.
The first season of eight episodes on Amazon is fun to watch. Producer Amy Sherman-Palladino, who’s brought us other fast-talking protagonists in Gilmore Girls, gives us a set of great characters. Both Midge, Susie and Joel get lots of chances to shine, but the supporting cast also has their moments. Shalhoub’s demanding father makes a good foil to his daughter’s headstrong attitudes.
Watching Midge try to build a new life without Joel, while also stepping inside the world of comedy, is entertaining. Brosnahan and Borstein make an interesting pairing as Midge and Susie have to come to terms with each other’s outlooks on careers and comedy. The sets and costumes really help give us a sense of time and place, letting the costumes and setting change with the characters.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a delightful binge watch. Nominated for two Golden Globes for series and Brosnahan’s performance, this series is worth catching.