Every new television season, new shows premiere hoping to be the next big thing in their respective genres. With every new show, the production team set out, advertising their creative abilities and storytelling to audiences, hoping enough of them love the show enough to keep watching for them to stay on the air for multiple seasons. Even for experienced show creators like Amy Sherman-Palladino whose track record includes Gilmore Girls, the release of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a roll of the dice.
Will the audience find the show funny enough? Will they love the characters? Will enough people love it enough to justify the huge budget outlay? In a world where the life of a show is determined by the whims of internet users, especially shows on streaming platforms, it is a legitimate worry for even the most hardened creators. Thankfully, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the phenomenon its creator hoped it would be. The period comedy-drama was quickly taken to and it became one of the most talked about shows in television circles after its release in 2017.
The show not only enjoyed audience acceptance and love, but it was also highly praised by critics who possess the ability to destroy years of planning and execution with the stroke of the ‘publish’ button. The critics’ love was followed by various award recognitions including the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes.
Set in the 50s, the show stars Miriam “Midge” Maisel as she grows into becoming an independent strong woman after her marriage ended abruptly. The show’s production began in 2016 after Amazon bought and ordered the production of the show pitched by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was inspired by Joan Rivers growth as a comedian and childhood memories of her father as a stand-up comedian in New York.
Filming began on the 27th of September, 2016, in New York City. The show was released a year later on the 13th of November, 2017.
There is no denying that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel benefits from a strong cast of talented actors and brilliant writing but the key element of the show’s success has been its plot. Although set in the late 50s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tells a modern story of feminism and gender equality.
The show is about Miriam Maisel, an upper-middle-class Jewish housewife who is happy to play second fiddle to her husband and cater to his every need, which happen to include a desire to be a stand-up comedian.
After one unsuccessful performance on stage as a stand-up comedian, her husband, Joel Maisel abandons the marriage after confessing to cheating on her with his office secretary. The devastation of losing her husband after dedicating her entire life to being the perfect wife drives her to drink and eventually end up at the Gaslight Café where her husband performs.
She inadvertently ends up on stage, drunk and narrates her ordeal in a way that leaves the audience hysterical with laughter. She ends up getting arrested and thrown in jail for indecent exposure while she was on stage. While she was in jail, she met Lenny Bruce, a stand-up comedian who would later become her friend and mentor.
After her inadvertent performance on stage, she realizes her talent and desire to be a stand-up comedian. Together with Susie Myerson, an employee of the Gaslight Café who becomes her manager, they set out to build her career as a stand-up comedian.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Season 2 Cast Members
The show benefits strongly from a talented group of actors and actresses who are perfect fits for the characters they are meant to portray, both physically and personality-wise.
Here is a look at some of the main cast members on the show and their various characters.
Rachel Brosnahan – Miriam “Midge” Maisel
Rachel Brosnahan was certainly not an unknown to television watchers when she began to star in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She had appeared on another streaming platform’s show, Netflix’s House of Cards as Rachel Posner, for which she got nominated for an Emmy and SAG award. She also appeared as Abby Isaacs in Manhattan but it is her work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that has propelled her as a beloved actor to mainstream audience.
Her portrayal of Miriam Maisel has earned her some of the most coveted awards on the television scene like the Golden Globe Best Actress for a Television Series in a Musical or Comedy and Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Although she plays a standup comedian on the show, she has no standup comedy background which further lends credence to her excellence on the show.
Alex Borstein – Susie Myerson
Midge Maisel’s first fan and her manager is played by Alex Borstein, who unlike the lead actress is an actual comedian. She has been the voice of Lois Griffin on Family Guy since 1999 and has appeared in numerous films like Good Night, and Good luck, Catwoman, and A Million Ways to Die in the West.
She was originally cast in Amy Sherman-Palladino’s former show, Gilmore Girls and appeared in a couple episodes of the show.
Alex Borstein is also a writer who has written several episodes of Family Guy. Like Rachel Brosnahan, her performance on the show earned her award recognition. She was nominated for the Critics Choice Television Awards as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, winning the latter.
Michael Zegen – Joel Maisel
Michael Zegen plays the undesired role of the show’s villain, Joel Maisel, a man whose wife, Midge, catered for at every turn, who ultimately ends up cheating on her. He would also resent his wife for finding success in a profession he failed at. Although as the show progressed, he was placed in a journey of progression, his character arc in the first season of the show made him the man to hate by the end of the season.
Like his character on the show, Michael Zegen is also a Jewish man. Michael began his career as an actor in 2002 and has since starred in films like Assassination of a High School President, Brooklyn, The Seagull, amongst a few others.
Marin Hinkle – Rose Weissman
As mentioned earlier, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel benefits from a talented roster of impressive cast members. One of them is Marin Hinkle, who plays Midge Maisel’s mother, Rose Weissman.
She had an extensive list of films and television shows in her filmography but before playing what is bound to be an iconic role as Rose Weissman, she was the neurotic wife of Alan Harper in popular CBS show, Two and a Half Men.
She was born to American parents in Tanzania and has gone on to appear in over 60 film and television projects. Other than Two and a Half Men, her other notable roles include Madam Secretary, ER, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Homeland, Castle.
Tony Shalhoub – Abe Weissman
Tony Shalhoub’s characterization of Abe Weissman is a beautiful expression of the line between eccentricity and idiosyncrasy. It is also a perfect example of when an actor plays a role so well that it becomes difficult to see another actor playing the role.
Those who see him in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel might think of Tony Shalhoub as an unknown actor, but he has been in the industry since 1981, headlining Golden Globe-nominated TV shows like Monk, and Tony Award-nominated stage performances like Conversations with My Father, Golden Boy and Act One. He has also been nominated for a Primetime Emmy award for his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Outside of acting, he is also a producer, having produced 125 episodes of Monk and a few short films.
Kevin Pollak – Moishe Maisel
When Kevin Pollak and Tony Shalhoub interact onscreen in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it can be described as a volcanic eruption of brilliance and laughter.
Kevin is a man of many trades; he is a professional comedian, impressionist, podcast host, director, writer and actor with a diversified portfolio across the filmmaking process. He is also an avid poker player, ranking 134th in the World Series of Poker in 2012.
He stars on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as the father in law of Midge Maisel who owns a clothing manufacturing business.
Other notable cast members include Luke Kirby who plays Lenny Bruce, Midge Maisel’s mentor, Will Brill who plays Noah Weissman, Midge’s brother and Zachary Levi as Dr. Benjamin and love interest of Midge Maisel.
While it can certainly be frustrating to finish a season of the show and have to wait a year for a new season, the show benefits from shorter seasons, allowing for tightly written stories and great jokes.
So far, the show has 18 episodes that ran at an average of 50 minutes per episode. The first episode of the show is titled Pilot and was released on the 17th of March, 2017. The first season has 8 episodes, with the last episode titled “Thank You and Good Night”.
The second season, which was released on December 5, 2018, started with an episode titled Simone and ended with an episode titled All Alone. The second season has 10 episodes, two episodes more than the first season.
The show was renewed for a third season on the 20th of May, 2018 before the second season premiered, signaling strong confidence in the show and its runners by Amazon studio executives.
The showrunner, Amy Sherman-Palladino has mentioned the story is expected to be completed in five seasons.
As for news about Season 3, other than a confirmation of its existence, nothing has been announced but as we draw closer to the season’s release date, we can expect more information to be released.