The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Review

Review by: Amy C.

Rating: 4/5 Hands

An excellent and poignant telling of the struggles of a recently divorced Jewish-American woman trying to make her way in stand up comedy in 1950’s New York City, ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ on the surface sounds like it could be a trite and overly simplified feminist fluff-piece but Amy Sherman-Palladino tackles this story with an utmost gritty elegance, her silver-tongued wit jumping out of the screen reminding us that we have a long way still to go in order to provide a safe, accessible, and welcoming stage for female voices in comedy and beyond.

Sherman-Palladino, whose dialogue style you will immediately recognize from ‘Gilmore Girls’ were you a fan, has not solved all of her problems with representation, however – and the 1950’s NYC setting of ‘Marvelous’ remains nearly as racially white-washed as were all the ‘Gilmore Girls’ settings – from the idyllic Connecticut small town of Stars Hollow to Chilton Prep to Yale. While ‘Gilmore’ had the Korean-American best friend of white-bred Rory as its racial token, all that ‘Marvelous’ has had to offer as race representation was a reefer-smoking jazz band composed of African Americans the protagonist came in contact with in an early episode in a literal ally right before one of her first performances as a comedian.

Relative newcomer Rachel Brosnahan (‘House of Cards,’ ‘Beautiful Creatures’) leads a shining cast as the title character, Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel supported by the charming and prolific Tony Shalhoub (‘Monk,’ ‘Nurse Jackie,’ ‘Spy Kids,’ ‘Galaxy Quest’) as her endearingly obtuse father and Marin Hinkle (‘Castle,’ ‘Madame Secretary,’ ‘Homeland’) as her expertly played practical and cold yet loving mother. The real stand out performance, however, comes from Alex Borstein as the manager (and reluctant friend) of Midge, Susie. Bornstein’s comic chops are not new, as a MADtv alum, you may recognize her voice as that of ‘Family Guy’s’ Lois Griffin but it is on ‘Marvelous’ she is given a chance to drive the story and give a truly stand out comedy performance fueled by rapid-fire riffing back and forth with Brosnahan’s Midge as both of their characters struggle to figure each other out and support one another while trying to find their place and forge their way in the boy’s club of comedy.


About Amy C:

Amy C. is the 5 Wits Buffalo Operations Manager by day, a comedian, writer & performance artist by night, trained as a classical actor before she saw the butt of that joke. She is an avid music lover who needs to dance as often as possible and self-identifies as a killjoy feminist. Recently relocated from New England to Buffalo, she grew up in Providence RI, the cuter (and superior) Boston MA.