If you’re looking for a female-driven show that encompasses humor, cleverness, vintage fashion, and drama in a whole new, invigorating level, look no further. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a genius brainchild of Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was also the creator of the beloved Gilmore Girls. She is known for her trademark rapid-fire dialogue with strong female-centered leads. The show went on to win A Golden Globes for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy this year, and our starring actress Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress in Television Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Midge Maisel, one of the first female stand-up comedians in the 50s of New York City.
Our protagonist is Midge, a 26 year old housewife living in the Upper east side of New York City. In the first episode, her husband Joel Maisel suddenly left her, admitting that he was having an affair with his secretary. That was the moment when Midge’s life fell apart. She did not have a job—her role in the household was to be a good wife and a mother to her children. Parents on both sides of the family were of course, mortified and devastated at the prospect that their “perfect” family was broken in pieces. Midge’s mother even blamed Joel’s affair on Midge in the beginning, saying that she wasn’t behaving seductively enough to draw her husband’s attention.
It was that brokenness and emotional intensity and drove her to be drunk and wasted, storming onto the stage of an underground pub and delivering a hilarious, raunchy monologue that left the audience laughing hysterically, and giving her the most thunderous applause.
Midge tries to regain her feet as she befriends Susie, the manager of the pub, an ill-tempered, emotionally turbulent, and easily-agitated person that could easily pass off as a short, stumpy man. Midge and Susie could not be more different, and the show purposely reflected that sharp contrast between that unlikely friendship. Susie is oftentimes the voice of reason, the person who ridicules Midge when her life seems to over the top.
What is significant about this show is that it shines light on women conforming to their social roles, but also simultaneously providing a counter-narrative to contradict those norms. We see Midge and all the other upper-class women fussing over their outfits, obsessing over their appearances in a quite dramatic manner. Midge and her mother are shown getting up super early and putting on makeup before their husbands wake up and see them. She records her size zero measurements (waist, ankle, calves…etc) neatly in a notebook every night, and goes about her daily routine of getting groceries and fretting over dinner food.
After her marriage and family crisis, Midge’s strong individualistic feminism really shines through. She is not afraid to blurt out filthy sex jokes in front of a live cheering audience, stands up to people condemning her out-of-character manner, and generally strives to shake off the “good housewife” image that was actually stifling and strangling her. When Joel decided that he wants to come back to her and give it another go, Midge almost relents, but reminded him that she has become a new person now and that he might not like the new Midge. This is something that we will find out more in the upcoming Season 2.
I love Midge’s rapid-fire witty comebacks, her sarcasm, optimism and charismatic humor. She carries herself at whatever life throws at her with dignity and confidence, throwing her shoulders back with her chin held high. And did I mention the fashion that had me drooling and turning green with envy? The cocoon coats in a myriad of colors—moss green, cotton-candy pink, creamy beige and deep magenta. The color palette is so charming and romantic…it is difficult not to admire how delicately crafted each outfit is.
The costume designer employed a lot of lilac, lavender, crimson and navy tones for Midges outfits, pairing with high waisted belts, turtlenecks and quirky bows. The brilliant effect was that our attention would be immediately and effortlessly drawn to her amid a crowd.
The intricately woven plot packed with heated drama and lively humor, the vintage romantic setting painted with vibrant colors and retro shades that make us swoon…The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel offers us a unique taste, a visual equivalent of moistening your parched throats with your favorite cool, refreshment. Thank you Midge, for giving us such a marvelous story to laugh and cry along with you, a truly extraordinary, artistic delight that will surely take us a long way.