Review: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ revives ’50s feminism

Back in April of 2017, Amazon launched a string of pilots for its Prime members to vote on to choose Amazon’s next original series. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was chosen from five original pilots to be picked up for a full season, and in November 2017 Amazon released season one of this hilarious new show.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” takes place in 1958 Manhattan when Jewish housewife Midge’s (Rachel Brosnaham) perfect life takes a turn for the worse when her husband Joel (Michael Zegan) leaves her for his secretary. In her quest to deal with the situation, she discovers a new talent: stand-up comedy. With the help of her friend and manager Susie Myerson (Alex Brostin) they work together to turn Midge’s new-found hobby into something more.

The writer and creator of the show is none other than Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also penned the beloved series “Gilmore Girls” back in the early 2000s. She is back and better than ever writing another truly woman-empowering show. The witty and comedic banter between all the characters is well-written. Whether it is between Midge and her parents or Midge and her friend, Susie, they are all equally incredible.

However, what is arguably the best writing on the show is Midge’s stand-ups. What makes them great is that they speak the truth of what it is like to be a woman. The ‘50s can be a tricky time period to write about, but Sherman-Palladino does it flawlessly. She adds era-appropriate references, even adding Lenny Bruce, a real ground-breaking comedian in the late 50s, as a character. The writing is unlike that of “Gilmore Girls” in that each episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” does not just end abruptly like “Gilmore Girls,” but ends just right with just enough intrigue to keep audiences watching until the end.

The delivery of a joke is just as important as the joke itself, and Rachel Brosnaham does a phenomenal job as the perfect ‘50s housewife, Midge Maisel. If Brosnaham looks familiar, that is because she previously had a small part in Netflix’s “House of Cards.” Alex Borstein as Susie adds a sarcastic undertone to the show which helps to balance with Midge’s less satirical humor. Two of the surprises of the show was Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle as Midge’s parents, Abe and Rose Weissman. Hinkle and Shalhoub portrayed wise and humorous Jewish parents who provided several laughs throughout the season.

If the show’s writing and the incredible cast does not convince you to watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” then perhaps the show’s critical acclaim will. Besides being chosen out of five pilots last year, Amazon Prime members have given it five out of five stars and Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 96%. Still skeptical? Earlier this year at the Golden Globes, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won Best Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical as well as Best Comedy or Musical. At the Critics’ Choice TV Awards, it took home the trophy for Best Comedy, beating out comedy giants such as “The Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family” and “Black-ish.”

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a brilliant show with genuine characters, an amazing story and witty dialogue. Episodes one through eight are available to stream through Amazon Prime, and the streaming platform has already renewed the show for a second season.

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