Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Created by: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub, Luke Kirby
Running Time: 57 minutes
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Summary: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an excellent new series from Amazon. I breezed through the eight-episode season from creator Amy Sherman-Palladino in no time. There’s just so much to enjoy in it from its superb supporting cast and carried by an exceptional performance from Rachel Brosnahan as Mrs. Maisel.
The Marvervoulous Mrs. Maisel takes place in New York in 1958. We meet Mirriam on her wedding day, giving a charming and funny speech to the crowded room about how all her dreams came true. She is a beautiful young Jewish woman living in a swanky uptown home, married to the love of her life, Joel, and their two children. It’s a perfect life for them.
Joel (Michael Zegen) works a day job but dreams of being a standup comedian, and Miriam is happy to help him pursue his goals, going with him to clubs, sweet talking the bookers into letting Joel snag a spot for the night’s talent and taking notes carefully during his act. He’s not very good, and Miriam knows it, but she wants him to improve and keep going for it. He adjusts his gig slightly, but after a disastrous set piece, they return home in a fight where Joel admits that he needs a life change and that he’s leaving Miriam for his secretary Penny.
Frustrated and broken, Miriam quickly picks herself back up and eventually moves her and the children back into her parents home. Miriam’s parents played by the great Tony Shalhoub, and Marin Hinkle are a more than welcome addition. Her mother is uptight and very proper, her father firm, traditional and very set in his ways. They’re a close-knit Jewish family, and the separation is unacceptable to both of them. They plead for Miriam to win back Joel by any means necessary but she stands her ground against the idea.
One drunken evening out at the local dive bar that she & Joel frequented for his stand up nights. Miriam takes to the stage and grabs the mic. She rants and raves about her life, about Joel leaving her stuck with their children for his secretary. It’s stream of conscious comedy, Miriam is crude for 1958 but has the crowd roaring with laughter before pulling her breast out and getting whisked away by the police waiting for comedians to cross the line of decency. It’s after Miriam’s arrested that she meets another cuffed comic, Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) recognized now as that times boundary-pushing George Carlin.
By the next morning after posting bail, the two have an instant connection. Susie, played by the hysterical Alex Borstein, is the talent booker at the bar and Miriams ride home. She’s seen every comic come and go in the city, from the bad to the terrible and she noticed something unique in Miriam when she took over that stage.
Susie believes in Miriam and takes her under her wing, knowing full and well Miriams a bit rough around the edges, and her act needs some work. But Susie knows there’s something in Miriam, a natural star, and talent meant for the big leagues.
Miriam and Susie play off one another so well, Miriam is the outgoing, happy go lucky type while Susie is introverted, the world’s shit type of woman.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel isn’t just about comedy. Miriam gets a day job at the makeup counter of a department store which her parents don’t handle well. She makes friends with her co-workers and has a seemingly happy life when not spending long nights at the bar with Susie working the room.
She makes a small name for herself and with Susie helps gets a gig opening with the most famous female comedian in town. Susie is ecstatic that she was able to get this deal together for Miriam. Susie has some business cards printed up and finally gets a personal phone line, the high of finally finding someone who was on her way up. They work hard together on her act, changing lines or words based on the previous nights’ audience response.
One night some from the press are in the audience as she lets loose on a crude diatribe against Americas most loved and famous female comedian she had met the day before and was scheduled to open for. This unfortunate event ends up with both Miriam and Susie blackballed from the comedy scene. The two of them can’t even get her a gig at the shittiest of strip clubs in town. They fight, Susie mad that Miriam went off her usual routine and in the process threw Susie under the bus. They part ways that night.
Eventually, Miriam goes back to a life without comedy included at the end of the night. This leads her to one of her child’s birthdays. There she reconnects with Joel, and the two spend the night together, rekindling their romance for one night as if they were back in love, married again.
Conflicted, Miriam now things she should maybe try things again with Joel. Joel is just as happy and confident that things will work out. Miriam just wants to be in love and married to a husband. She wants to believes she loves Joel. Not everything works out the way you think it will in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Miriam knows she’d be sacrificing her comedy and life she’s been living. Joel, in a heated moment, admits to still seeing Penny as his back up. Miriam is decisively over Joel. She wants a divorce now.
Mirriams ready for comedy to become her life again, she begs Susie to come back. Susie says she’ll get back on if Miriam is serious and will listen to Susie if she has advice. Miriam agrees, and they go back to work. Susie struggles to find a gig still until she reaches out to an old regular from the underground clubs who now’s a semi-famous edgy mainstream comedian for help.
Lenny agrees to help out an old comic and friend by opening and play a small set at a bar which is a little below his fame. Susie’s done it finally getting Miriam what will be a packed house that night and a significant turning point in her comedy career.
It’s the biggest night of Miriams’ new life. The bar is alive more than it has ever been in the bar. Lenny is ready to go on stage. Miriam prepared, though still contemplating her entire life as well. Joel’s there somehow drunk, watching Lenny, Susie, and Miriam go further than he could with his dreams.
More gorgeous than usual, she takes the stage once Lenny gives her a cheering welcome. She takes the stage by storm and has the crowd going when she gets heckled by some men in the audience. They’re booed out and quickly leaves after she mocks and humiliates the man.
Outside, Joel is doing something in defense of Miriam to a man that heckled her. She keeps on with her routing killing it without having seen Joel or aware of what was happening outside. We as the viewer will have to figure out where this goes. I really can’t see them getting back together because Joel is so stern and competitive that it would hurt Miriam’s career.
Final Word: At eight episodes it’s probably the right length, but it leaves you excited for more of this pleasant, charming show. Rachel Brosnahan is perfect in the role of Miriam, and she lights up the television screen every time she’s on it. She is a real discovery even though she has been in some minor roles in other things. Alex Borstein is the second star of the show as her manager Susie and whenever Borstein can get in front of the camera rather than stuck doing voices for ‘Family Guy,’ It’s a real treat. Tony Shalhoub steals every scene he’s in as her father.
Check out the Trailer Below: