tek's rating: ½

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, on Amazon
A.V. Club; IMDb; TV.com; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

Caution: Spoilers.

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The whole show is very amusing, and it has a great regular cast as well as some great guest stars. The main characters are quite well-drawn, the relationships are interesting, the dramatic aspects are reasonably compelling. The historical details are very well done. And the series has been very well received by critics.

Season One
In 1958, Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is a Jewish housewife who is supportive of her husband, Joel's efforts to perform stand-up comedy at The Gaslight Cafe. He has an office job in a plastics company, and Midge is unaware that Joel is doing comedy as anything more than a hobby, that he wants to make a career of it. When Joel realizes she doesn't take it as seriously as he does, he leaves her, and eventually moves in with his secretary, Penny Pann. (It's unclear to me whether or not Joel had been having an affair with Penny before he left Midge, but it's a distinct possibility.) Midge ends up getting drunk and forcing her way onstage at the Gaslight to rant about her problems, and her rants are actually very funny. (In fact, throughout the episode it seemed quite clear that Midge is a very funny person just in everyday life, I mean the kind of funny that people generally aren't unless they happen to be a character on a sitcom with very good writers.) Anyway... her extemporaneous performance ends when she exposes her breasts and gets taken to jail. There she meets and befriends famous comedian Lenny Bruce, who will appear occasionally throughout the series. Then the talent booker from the Gaslight, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), bails Midge out of jail, and wants to become Midge's manager as a stand-up comic, something she had never considered, but soon becomes passionate about.

Midge moves in with her parents, a math professor named Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) and housewife named Rose. Midge and Joel share custody of their two young children (who are of no particular importance to the plot). And Midge eventually gets a job at a department store called B. Altman. Meanwhile, she works on developing her comedy act, which is based on her own life. But she always uses pseudonyms. Toward the end of the season, Midge meets a famous comedienne named Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), and learns that her stage persona (including a fat suit) is completely fake. Midge later exposes this in her own act, which gets her blackballed in the comedy circuit. Later, Midge and Joel reconnect at their son's birthday party, and end up sleeping together that night. The possibility arises that they may get back together for good, but the season finale leaves that uncertain. However, Susie calls in a favor from Lenny Bruce to get Midge one last chance to perform at the Gaslight. Her routine is very successful, and she finally calls herself "Mrs. Maisel."

Well, I've left out lots of details of plot development, but I think I got all the most important beats. And I very much look forward to watching the second season... whenever I get around to it.


period webseries index
dramedy webseries index