“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” returned to Amazon Prime for a second season just two weeks ago. With only 10 episodes out, the show was able to bring home a total of 7 major awards: two Golden Globes and five Emmys. Telling by the number of accolades the show has collected, Season 2 was set to exceed standards and continue the story about a woman making her career in the late 1950s.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” follows a young married woman, Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), who lives in the finer part of Manhattan and has everything she could ever need: a nice apartment, two healthy children and an understanding husband who adores her. One night, after her husband, Joel (Michael Zegen), performs a mediocre-at-best comedy skit at a small club, he decides to leave her.
Frustrated and confused, Midge returns back to that small club and creates an act of her own. After her first performance, she gets recognized by an up-and-coming manager, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein). The pair become inseparable as they both navigate the world of comedy. Along the way, they bump into more comedians, Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) and Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch). While Midge is trying to create a name for herself, she relies on her parents, Rose (Marin Hinkle) and Abe (Tony Shalhoub), to look after her children. Everybody who’s anybody seems to know who Mrs. Maisel is, but no one ones that Mrs. Maisel is really Midge.
As you can tell, the first season introduced many characters and set up quite the story for a woman in 1950s New York City. A nearly divorced woman with two children who wants to become a comedian may not seem like a big deal now, but back then it was quite the task.
Executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino wanted to create a story that took place in the 1950s but is relevant in the 2010s. Setting up a woman whose husband left her as the heroine was a bold move, but it seemed to have worked in their favor.
Critics raved about the show, saying that the passionate energy, along with the series’ hilarious moments, made for an outstanding combination. Fans have admired the strength that Maisel showed to move on with her life, because only a very few women made a name for themselves during that time period.
In the first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” viewers were excited for Maisel, eager to see what she would accomplish next and what the next joke was. But during the last few episodes, her efforts were more focused on rekindling her relationship with her husband rather than working on new material. The first season ended with Maisel opening for Bruce’s comedy show. During Maisel’s act, Joel walks in, only to hear about his humorous failures at being a husband. He leaves the club immediately, confused yet proud.
Maisel’s effort to win Joel back continued on in Season 2; she longed for Joel, but he told her off sweetly after hearing her skit. Within the first episode, the conflict between Maisel and Joel is resolved. He tells Maisel that he wants to be with her, but she can’t continue comedy with him as the center of the jokes. Even though Joel loves her, he lets her go, knowing that she will be something big.
Most of Season 2 follows Maisel trying figure out life without Joel. She starts by trying to find a new man, dealing with her parents, and of course, focusing on her performances. The better Maisel gets better at comedy, the higher the chance that her two worlds collide. The only person who knows both sides of Maisel is Joel, yet somehow, they find a way to not be with each other.
As a kind of a hopeless romantic, watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was kind of like watching an extended romantic comedy. Granted it’s cheesy at times, but you can’t help but keep watching. Not only do the jokes hit every time, but the production and costume design have been nothing less than dazzling. Early on in Season 2, some scenes took place in Paris; other times, the show transports you to 1950s New York City and makes you want to head over to the Gaslight Cafe and catch Maisel’s late-night performance.
The second season adds new locations, but also introduces a new character, Dr. Benjamin Ettenberg (Zachary Levi), Maisel’s new love interest. This season we also got to see Imogene (Bailey De Young), Maisel’s best friend and Moishe Maisel (Kevin Pollak), Maisel’s father-in-law, as their story lines play a heavy role in Maisel’s relationship with Joel.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is brilliant in all aspects: sets, costumes, script and acting — even the music is a delight. Brosnahan excludes only confidence as Mrs. Maisel; it’s no wonder that she won a Golden Globe for best actress. The characters are all very likable, yet they have quirks that make the show unique, especially Maisel’s parents, Rose and Abe.
It’s a shame that there are only 20 episodes, but I have a strong feeling that the show will quickly become an iconic time-period series. It’s highly binge-able, easy to get invested in, makes being fearless look easy and shows that love really takes really work.