Having stacked up eight Emmys, three Golden Globes and five Critics’ Choice Awards, it’s frustrating that people still need to be convinced to watch The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. But here I go again, doing my bit for humanity by promoting the show’s second season.
Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is back with the same complications as last time: funny problems and hubby problems. She’s set on becoming the biggest star in comedy and she’s unwilling to let her vagina hold her back. In poignant portrayals of the era, Maisel tackles the sexism faced by female performers in 1950s America whilst remaining hilarious and beautiful.
Even at home, Midge faces up to society’s expectations. Despite having separated from her husband and father of her children, Joel (Michael Zegen), her relationship with him becomes more complicated because she’s expected to find a new partner. But it’s not so difficult for us, who have the luxury of staring at 6’ 4” hulk of handsomeness Dr Benjamin Ettenberg (Zachary Levi).
Through all these challenges, the shrewd and sassy Susie (Alex Borstein) remains by Midge’s side – even if it means posing as a maintenance worker with a toilet plunger to follow Midge on a high-end holiday. She’s Midge’s manager in all things comedy and her friend in all other matters. This dynamic duo binds The Marvelous Mrs Maisel together.
The eccentricities don’t stop with Susie. Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) is Miriam’s poppa, a skittish academic who wants to teach a computer to sing via his grandson’s nursery rhymes. Miriam’s momma, on the other hand, flees to Paris early in the season to escape her life as a housewife.
The boundless peculiarities of this ensemble marry perfectly with the shows audacious comedy style. By embracing the ridiculous, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is free to imbue her work with the flare and charm of her own personality. The opening scene – an elaborately choreographed single take featuring Midge in her high-functioning glory – is an immediate disclaimer of the fiery ride to follow in the season’s ten episodes.
Rachel Brosnahan has the beauty of a Hellenistic statue. Whereas these works of art belong in a museum, Brosnahan belongs on the screen, for she can pull every facial expression under the sun. It’s rare for an actress best known for dramatic roles to take to comedic material with such stunning results.
Continuing the standards set by the first season, Maisel is a mighty feast. The senses are kept well fed with vibrant cinematography, skilful blocking and a gorgeous soundtrack featuring Barbra Streisand, Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone. Smile and laugh out loud again with the award-winning writing.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’s first two seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime.