TV Series

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Winning over the Audience

By Maleeha Faisal Siddiqui | August 2023

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, known for the popular show “Gilmore Girls.” Sherman-Palladino, globally known for crafting iconic female leads, serves as the show’s director and writer who knows how to write compelling women that live life on their own terms, whether it’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge ingeniously playing the foul-mouthed and liberated Fleabag or Lauren Graham shown as the quick-witted and charming Lorelei Gilmore.

Miriam “Midge” Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is a sharp-witted, devoted housewife living a seemingly perfect life on the Upper West Side of New York City in the 1960s. But her world soon falls apart when her husband confesses to his infidelity. Faced with uncertainty, Midge discovers her talent for stand-up comedy.

With a sharp tongue, a fearless demeanor, and a natural gift for observational humor, she is unafraid to speak her mind and challenge every conventionality. We follow her journey as she transforms from a housewife abiding by all rules of propriety to a daring stand-up comic who takes over the underground nightclub comedy scene in New York, eventually rising to global stardom.

It’s also a story about self-discovery, standing up for yourself, and shattering that glass ceiling in more ways than one. With stand-up comedy sets that are incredibly well-researched and relevant to the sociopolitical dialogue of today, through Midge, Sherman-Palladino gives us some of the most profound and hard-hitting lines.

Whether it’s Midge taking over a female-driven protest and chanting, “If women don’t realize what’s going on in the world, they won’t step in and fix it. Because they will fix it and accessorize it!” or calling out sleazy, sexist men and rightly asking “Am I supposed to find them intimidating?”

Luke Kirby impresses as the legendary Lenny Bruce, serving as Midge’s mentor and friend. At the same time, Tony Shalhoub, as Midge’s genius, socially awkward, and comically orthodox father, Abe Weissman, has masterful comic timing and becomes one of the show’s lovable characters.

Featuring captivating soundtracks and music from renowned artistes, such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong, the music selection is carefully curated to transport one to the vibrant atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s. Music is integral to how this story unfolds, from lively jazz numbers during comedy club scenes to soulful ballads during poignant moments.

The costumes, designed by Donna Zakowska, do full justice to the high fashion of the mid-twentieth century. Tailored silhouettes, exquisite fabrics, eye-catching patterns, and intricate embellishments, including sequins, feathers, and beading, are all well-executed to match the promise of Marvel, as indicated by the show’s name. Where Midge is concerned, costumes play a crucial role. They are always perfectly balanced to befit her upper-class sensibility and her edginess as a bold and occasionally profane stand-up comic.

The show’s real star, however, is the on-screen sisterhood between Midge and her manager, Susie Meyerson, played by Alex Borstein. Borstein brings humor and depth to Susie, garnering recognition and praise. Together these two women are loud and opinionated. They make their way and leave their mark in the male-dominated, misogynistic world of stand-up comedy. The show’s appeal also lies in the whimsical and idiosyncratic supporting characters and comic situations brilliantly juxtaposed with Midge’s struggles.

Whether or not you like dramedies, this show will leave you wanting more. Winning over the audience, it starts strong, never once faltering, and goes out on just as much of a high note with one final epic and hilarious monologue.