The hit Amazon Prime original television series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” confirmed it will be returning for a fourth series after nearly two years. Season 3 was released on the streaming platform in December 2019 and consisted of eight simultaneously released episodes. The third season followed the title character, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, portrayed by actress Rachel Brosnahan, as she embarked on her first-ever comedy tour, accompanying fictional singer Shy Baldwin, played by Leroy McClain. The side plots of Season 3 involved Midge’s ex-husband Joel opening a nightclub and Midge’s ongoing conflict with both her manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) and rival comedian Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch).
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” first aired in March 2017. That same year, the remaining episodes of Season 1 were released to Amazon Prime in November. The first season starts with Midge Maisel discovering that her husband of four years has betrayed her. She copes with her justified anger by hosting an impromptu stand-up comedy performance at the club where her husband regularly performs. This makes her decide to embark on a comedy career. However, she faces a major obstacle the show tackles head-on: Women did not have such opportunities in the 1950s.
The show does a surprisingly great job in providing a mostly accurate portrayal of what being a woman was like in 1950s America. The road to becoming a successful comedian is not easy for Midge, as she must overcome several gender-based obstacles, the biggest one being the struggle of raising two young kids on her own. Being a stay-at-home mother was common during this time, and Midge chose this lifestyle prior to her husband’s betrayal. After her husband leaves her, Midge and her two children are forced to move back in with Midge’s parents, Rose and Abe Weissman, portrayed by Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub, respectively. Later in the first series, Midge insists on taking a job in a department store to avoid being entirely dependent on her parents.
The show also succeeds in portraying women’s struggle for independence in the 1950s when so few options were available to them. But “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” does an even better job of showing the challenges associated with being successful in the entertainment business. In the first season alone, Midge must deal with competition from an established male as well as reputation management after one of her performances centers entirely around criticizing Sophie Lennon.
Midge doesn’t become a recognized comedian until Season 2. But even then, she still faces challenges. The biggest obstacle of all involves continuing to hide her comedy career from her parents, which becomes increasingly difficult as she makes more and more headlines. Then there is the added factor of the Weissman family vacation, which takes up the majority of the second series. Susie sees this as an obstacle to Midge’s blossoming comedy career, so Susie poses as a hotel staff member in order to book Midge some gigs in the area. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, all that will be said is that this becomes a major turning point for Midge’s relationship with her father.
Most importantly, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is so iconic because it provides a voice for Jewish Americans. Jewish people lack representation in television and film, and “Mrs. Maisel” provides a solution to this by incorporating Jewish culture into the show. The pilot episode depicts a traditional Jewish wedding, and throughout the series the Weissman and Maisel families are shown celebrating Jewish holidays.
Additionally, the writers of the show are educated on these traditions and depict them in a respectful way rather than basing everything on stereotypes. The representation comes from Midge’s character being a depiction of what it meant to be a Jewish American woman in the 1950s. Part of the reason the show is set in New York is that it’s a city known for its large Jewish population.
What stands out the most about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is that it presents the female lead in a position of power and independence in a time when women received very few opportunities outside the home. Although there is no confirmed start date for the fourth season, fans of the show still have every reason to be excited, as filming began on Jan. 20. and concluded at the beginning of July. The earliest estimated release date is some time in December. However, it’s more likely that Season 4 will reach Amazon Prime in early 2022.
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