Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Bingeable: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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When? 2017-present

What's it rated? TV-MA

Where's it available? Streaming on Amazon

It feels like we're in a new golden age of television, with streaming services like Amazon giving the people what they want—new, entertaining, and original content.

MARVELOUS When Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is left by her husband for another woman; it spirals into the start of a stand up comedy venture in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Amazon
  • MARVELOUS When Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is left by her husband for another woman; it spirals into the start of a stand up comedy venture in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Last year, as part of the sites' pilot program, the streaming service gave some cash to show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) to make a pilot of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The premise: It's 1956 in New York and our protagonist Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards) has it all: supportive parents, a doting husband, adorable children, and the rabbi is even coming to their house for Yom Kippur. And it's all swiftly taken away when it's revealed that her husband Joel Maisel (Michael Zegen, Boardwalk Empire) is leaving her for another woman. Midge's personal tragedy turns into a venture in stand-up comedy when she drunkenly stumbles into a club and delivers a hilarious rant that the audience mistakes for a planned set.

Well the Amazon gods gifted us with not only seven more episodes of this delightfully whimsical show, but they've even signed Sherman-Palladino on to make another three seasons. Mazel tov!

Visually the show is lovely. While Gilmore Girls was a cult classic, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the first time we've seen Sherman-Palladino be able to carry out her vision without a restrictive budget. Period shows are notoriously pricy, particularly outside shots, which is why Mad Men was shot nearly entirely indoors, but Maisel has shot after shot of the New York City skyline, vintage cars whizzing by, and entire blocks of the city featuring era appropriate delis or clothing stores.

And since the show is set in 1956, that means Sherman-Palladino is limited in the amount of pop culture references she can weave into the dialogue, which only strengthens the script. While I hold it near and dear to my heart, parts of Gilmore Girls were often inundated with music, movie, and political mentions.

Getting down to the meat of the script and plot allows the actors to truly shine in this world. Tony Shalhoub (Monk) as Midge's dad, Abe Weissman, is so endearing as a protective father who also plays his part like he could burst out into song at any minute. Alex Borstein (Gilmore Girls, Family Guy) as Susie Myerson, Midge's manager, is perhaps Sherman-Palladino's first foray into creating a character that is gender fluid. Borstein's Susie has a tough exterior, but a gradual peeling reveals an inner softness as the show goes on. In typical Sherman-Palladino fashion, Joel is an annoyingly weak man, but more nuanced than past male leads we've seen from the show creator. As the story unfolds, Joel seems to realize more and more that it is Midge, not he, who is the star in their life. But can he make peace with that?

Brosnahan as Midge is fierce. She is a capable, charming, and talented woman who takes no shit and goes after what she wants. While most things do seem to come a tad too easy for our leading lady, she is also real and vulnerable. Most interestingly, Sherman-Palladino puts Midge in a post having-it-all world and asks, "Now what?" (eight 50-minute episodes.) Δ

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