Critics’ Corner

TV Review: TV Review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel



Katie D'Angelo, Junior, Staff Reporter

Amazon Prime Video’s award-winning show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is back for another season. The tone this time around is not about dreaming anymore, but how to live the dream itself. The beloved Midge Maisel, brought to life by the dynamic Rachel Brosnahan, is no longer a housewife struggling to pursue her secret dream of stand-up comedy. Now, she’s on tour and discovering that the ladder upwards comes with new hassles and hurdles.

It’s the ‘60s and Midge is now openly working as a comic. The season begins with her performing before a rowdy crowd of soldiers during a USO tour while opening for singer Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain). Her talent manager is still as tough as nails. Susie (Alex Borstein), who manages to get Midge on an even wider tour in support of Baldwin. Behind the scenes, life is still chaotic, as Midge deals with a pending divorce from her ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) and her unemployed father Abe (Tony Shalhoub), who, inspired to get back in touch with his radical ideals, turns the family home into a hubbub for leftist activists. Susie also faces new opportunities when she gets the chance to represent a major actress, while vowing to remain loyal to Midge. But as Midge begins to tour she realizes that her newfound prestige brings its own pressures and even a bit of loneliness.

Throughout this season, Midge has not taken money for granted. During episode seven, for example, she hustles from radio spot to radio spot purely for the sake of collecting paltry fees or payment in the form of pancake syrup. At the same time, she continues to take a certain lifestyle for granted. While on tour in Miami, she stays at the swanky Fontainebleau hotel. She still has enough chic, fit-and-flare dresses to be able to change ensembles multiple times in a day. Most egregiously, given the financial problems her parents have faced, Midge is still adamant that her son, Ethan, needs to attend private school in Manhattan in a neighborhood where her family no longer lives, because going to public school in Queens will basically ruin the kid’s life. Joel points out that they may not have the means to stick to their private-school plan, and that it might not be practical either. Midge doesn’t care.

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband and creative partner Daniel Palladino seem determined to shield their charming heroine from conflict whenever possible. This makes the tour sequences upbeat, particularly whenever the great Sterling K. Brown turns up as Shy’s imposing manager Reggie, but dramatically inert. Midge briefly runs into trouble when her first casino gig opening for Shy bombs, and almost immediately figures out how to do better.

In the end, season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel falls a bit flat compared to the other two seasons. While the show provided some excellent performances from its main and guest cast, they were not enough to get the show to its expected level of comedy.