Producer(s): Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dhana Gilbert, Daniel Palladino
Director(s): Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino
Writer(s): Amy Sherman-Palladino, Kate Fodor
Composer: Eric Gorfain, Sam Phillips
Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Zegen, Marin Hikle, Akex Borstein, Kevin Pollak, Caroline Aaron.
Distributor: Amazon Video
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Set in the late 1950’s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an American television comedy series which has quickly become one of the best television shows currently available on any streaming service to date. With such critical reception and exclusivity, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has allowed Amazon Video to become a major contributor and competitor in the ever-growing market of subscription video services. Created by Amy Sherman-Pallandino (who was inspired by her upbringing as a child of a New York City stand up comedian and her appreciation for the early groundbreaking female stand up comics such as Joan Rivers), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel premiered on Amazon Video on March 17, 2017. The pilot episode was met with such critical acclaim, it was picked up not for just one, but two seasons.
The first full eight episode season was released on November 29, 2017 to extraordinary critic and audience reviews. The series went on to win the Golden Globe for “Best Television Series Musical or Comedy” and “Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy”. The first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel also went on to win an impressive five Primetime Emmy Awards including “Outstanding Comedy Series,” “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” for Rachel Brosnahan, “Outstanding Supporting Actress” for Alex Borstein, “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series,” and ”Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for Amy Sherman-Palladino. There was no surprise The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was quickly renewed for an anticipated third season. The second season was released on December 5, 2018.
Spiritual Content: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel centers around a Jewish family from New York, so there are many references to the practice of Judaism and the traditions of their religion.
Violence: Some fists fights occur throughout the series.
Language/Crude Humor: Midge is a stand up comedian who uses foul language and sexual themes in her set. There is extensive use of F**k, B***h, A*s, and many others.
Sexual Content: There is one instance of female topless nudity throughout the entirety of the season.
Drug/ Alcohol Use: Much of the settings of the show take place in night clubs, so alcohol, drug use, and the smoking of cigarettes are littered throughout the series.
Other Negative Themes: Adultery, divorce, and drunkenness are some of the negative subjects the series tackles.
Positive Themes: Midge finds her self at the forefront of the women’s liberation movement as she fights for equality and fair treatment in her industry.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows Miriam Maisel, an affluent and charming Jewish housewife who lives in New York City in the 1950’s. Midge (as her friends and family call her) prides herself as a successful mother, home maker, and supportive wife to her husband Joel whose dream is to become the next great stand-up comedian. After Joel bombs during one of his sets, Midge finds herself losing it all. Joel, distraught by his failure, confesses to an affair with his secretary and leaves his wife. With no husband, homeless, and living with her children in her overbearing and nurotic parents’ (Abe and Rose Weissman, played by Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle) home, Midge looks for the only solace she can find at the bottom of a bottle. In only her night gown, she stumbles into the night club where her husband bombed. Midge finds herself on stage as she confesses her circumstances with brilliant humor and wit to a room of complete strangers who explode in applause after being whisked away by the police. Midge’s impromptu “set” catches the attention of the club’s manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) and inspires her to convince Midge to become a professional stand-up comedian. Susie offers to be Midge’s manager while they pursue success in an unfamiliar territory as females in a predominantly male and chauvinistic industry.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an absolute treat to watch. The art and production design succeeds at submerging the viewer into its world. The bright dynamic colors of the sets and wardrobe allows us to capture the atmosphere of New York City in the late 1950’s. Every shot is a pleasure to watch as my eyes navigate through the scenes in order to capture every subtle and attractive detail. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a visual masterpiece.
There is a saying in Hollywood: “Writers are the true heroes.” Nothing can be truer than in the case of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The writing in this show is some of the best in current memory. There is no surprise Amy Sherman-Palladino took home Emmy gold for writing. The dialogue is fast paced, witty, and punchy. The scenes where Midge performs her comedy act are a highlight of every episode they are featured in. These sets could hold up as stand-up specials on Comedy Central. With an understanding of context and where her material comes from, it makes these sequences even more enjoyable and hilarious as she finds humor in her everyday tragedies. Combined with excellent directing from Palladino and the perfect timing of delivery by the cast, Mrs. Maisel stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Comedy is 50% delivery and 50% timing, and the entire cast excels in these skills. The supporting cast of Mrs. Maisel is a murders row of comic legends. With comic greats such as Tony Shalhoub and Kevin Pollak, the cast delivers hilarity from everyday family situations and extraordinary circumstances. The only thing more impressive than the performances of the cast is the outstanding performance of the show’s lead. Rachel Brosnahan eloquently breathes life into the lovable Miriam “Midge” Maisel. Brosnahan deservingly was given multiple awards for the portrayal of the charming Jewish housewife. Brosnahan perfectly balances confidence yet vulnerability as she uses her intelligence, charm, wit, and sexuality to make Miriam Maisel a layered, multi-dimensional character.
Stunning and hysterical. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel lives up to the hype. Amazon Video has made a statement with Mrs. Maisel saying they intend to be a major presence in the streaming world. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel exceeds in every facet of storytelling. By combining superb writing and exceptional directing with excellent performances, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel eclipses most other streaming and network shows. Toward the middle episodes, there’s a slower pace which tends to drag. I feel this is due in part to the anticipation of the excellent stand-up sets performed by Midge. Aside from the slow pace in the middle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a stand out and deserving of the awards it received and should be on everyone’s must-watch list.
The Bottom Line
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a fun, witty, fast-paced journey into 1950's New York. You will fall absolutely in love with the lead heroine. You will laugh and cry alongside her while she discovers her new identity as a stand-up comic and fights against sexism in a male-dominated industry where women are believed to not be funny.