Maybe you have the same problem I have. You settle in and look for something new to watch. You start scrolling through your various cable and streaming options. And you keep scrolling. And scrolling. It’s not that there’s nothing to watch (there’s plenty), it’s that everything worth watching is so… heavy. The dramas are one thing, your Handmaid’s Tales and The Americans-es and such, but even comedies get heavy now. Atlanta is a mindtrip, Barry is funny but dark as midnight, and BoJack Horseman will sucker punch you once or twice a season and leave you devastated. It can all be bit much, honestly. That’s why I appreciate The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel so much.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, in broad strokes, goes something like this…
In season one, Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) learns two things about her husband, Joel (Michael Zegen): He is cheating on her with his flighty young secretary and the stand-up comedy routine he’s been developing was actually stolen from Bob Newhart. The first revelation sends her back to her parents’ spacious apartment — and into the teeth of the scandal that a broken marriage is in the show’s 1950s setting — and the second, after some drinks and a mini-breakdown, sends her onto the stage herself, where she proves to be a truth-telling natural.
Things proceed from there. You should watch it if you haven’t. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) fills the show with bright colors and lightning-fast dialogue and jokes. Jokes on jokes on jokes. Midge’s parents, Abe (Tony Shalhoub) and Rose (Marin Hinkle), operate almost like a comedy duo, with her frantically trying to keep up appearances and him being inconvenienced by it all and very cranky about it. The whole thing is kind of like Mad Men (setting, themes) meets 30 Rock (speed) meets Parks and Recreation (one superwoman succeeding through charisma and will), but without a single Gentile in sight.
Season two picks up right about where season one left off, with Midge slowly making headway in her (still secret) stand-up career with the help of her manager, Suzy (Alex Bornstein). Joel is somewhat less of a doofus. Midge’s parents remain a delight. Everything settles right back its groove, which is refreshing. Also, we are traveling. In the first five episodes released for review, various circumstances take Midge and her parents to Paris and to the Catskills, and Tony Shalhoub goes all-in with both excursions. Berets, rompers, cocktails, etc. The man is a damn treasure.