By Lauren D’Ambra
Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been dazzling audiences around the globe since its premiere back in 2017. Since then, the show has gone on to win several awards, including awards from the Screen Actor Guild and the Emmys, and has produced four incredible seasons, the most recent of which just ended last Friday. Season four ended with a surprising cliff hanger and now that season five, the final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has been officially confirmed, we’re wondering where this one of a kind series is headed next.
For those who have not seen this fantastic series, the show follows a woman named Midge Maisel, an idealistic 1950’s housewife living in New York City, whose life is completely upended when her husband announces he’s having an affair and leaves her (with her suitcase!). Midge then goes on to discover that she has an uncanny knack for standup comedy and works to use her newfound skill to rebuild her life in her vision. Midge spends four seasons learning the tricky ups and downs of show business. She celebrates her wins, suffers through several losses, and learns some hard real life lessons along the way. The show is perfectly paced and eloquently shows the messy parts of theater and show business. It also places a big emphasis on describing what it’s like to be a woman in an industry dominated by men.
Season four has easily been the most detailed season to date. The season opens with Midge left in a precarious position: she has just been unceremoniously fired from her secure, high-paying gig opening for singer Shy Baldwin. Left without a paycheck or a place to go, Midge and her manager Susie retreat to the safety of their favorite club and begin to make plans. Midge has been blacklisted from clubs before, but ticking off one of the greatest singers in the world makes getting her any kind of gig a major difficulty. In a surprising turn of events, Midge and Susie find themselves at a strip club whose emcee is retiring. Midge jumps at the opportunity, because for this gig she’ll be allowed to say whatever she wants, and takes the job. In true Mrs. Maisel fashion, her presence helps improve the lives of the women around her. However, by the end of season four, she’s realized that this tradeoff comes at a cost and that she has unintentionally stagnated her comedy career.
The show is great for many reasons. Obviously, Midge’s quick wit and sharp tongue just about steals the show in just about every episode. However, the show also hosts an impressive array of other memorable characters. Susie Myerson, Midge’s fearless manager, has made her presence known several times this season. Alex Borstein has put her heart and soul into Susie’s character this season with inspiring speeches, her down-to-Earth personality, and even a surprisingly heartfelt eulogy to her friend and roommate Jackie. Other surprisingly notable characters include Midge’s best friend Imogene, who has transformed herself from stagnant housewife to working mother; Midge’s mother Rose, who just like her daughter, has taken the shards of her destroyed life and worked to build something new from them; Midge’s father Abe, who is finally learning to speak his mind, and Midge’s sworn adversary Sophie Lennon, who has certainly made her presence known this season.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has more to offer than just great characters. It’s hard to expect anything less from a show about a stand up comedian, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is genuinely hilarious whether the scene is focused on Midge or if it’s focused on her in-laws. Sure, there are some more raunchy and lewd jokes, but at its heart, the show focuses on the humor found in the relationships between people. The sets are incredibly detailed and they definitely show off the amount of work and dedication that goes into show business. The costumes for the series are also gorgeous; everything from Midge’s dresses to Lenny Bruce’s suits are expertly handmade and really help complete the look and feel of the show (And the black, pink, and blue dress Midge wore in the finale? That might just be her best dress yet!).
Overall, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel works so well because of the tenacity and fearlessness of the main character Midge. Midge’s life is constantly and continuously destroyed by the people around her and with every new challenge she is able to pick herself back up and keep going. In doing so, she also manages to build up the lives of those around her, whether this is supporting her friends’ adventurous schemes or waking her parents up to the fast changing world. Midge also spends a bit of time focused on making herself better too, something that other female led TV shows sometimes miss the mark on. This unique pairing makes for a fascinating series and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel really explores this concept well. We’re so sad that season four had to end, but we can’t wait to see what season five will bring, and we can’t wait to see what Midge’s next big gig will be!