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In the pause: Review—The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I binge-watched the entire first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in one weekend. The only times I’ve ever done that are with House of Cards (which also had Rachel Brosnahan) and Gilmore Girls (which was also created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino). Crackling with rich dialogue and shining with heartfelt performances, it’s reminiscent of everything I love about Gilmore Girls. Mrs. Maisel pulled me into a time and a place that I never wanted to leave. I felt the thrill of looking into the long-lost private diaries of a set of characters whom I felt like I’d known forever. It is genius writing.

It’s mostly set on the Upper West Side, my home neighborhood that I deeply love, and it explores the rich landscape of family dynamics, Jewish culture and religion, women’s rights, political activism, racism, socioeconomic disparity, and the coming of age of people, society, and our world. And all of this is framed in the context of what it means to be a comedian, performer, and writer in the gritty Village of New York City in the 1950s.

I found myself rooting for all of the main characters at different points in their journeys. They are all seriously flawed and insanely lovable, champions in their own ways, trying to do the best they can with what they have. Rachel Brosnahan as Midge is certainly our next unsinkable television heroine. Her journey from doting house wife to stage star, complete with her constant note taking and the best wardrobe I could imagine, is one we all want to reach its full potential. Michael Zegen plays Midge’s husband, Joel. In the beginning, I saw him as whiny, needy, and unappreciative. By the end of the season, I completely understood why Midge loved him. And I loved him, too. Tony Shalhoub is the quintessential Jewish father, and is masterfully paired with Marin Hinkle as his alternately reserved and infuriated wife. Alex Borstein rounds out the main cast as Susie, Midge’s scrappy manager. I loved Alex’s characters on Gilmore Girls, and I’m happy to see her stepping into and owning her spotlight in this show.

At the end of the last episode, Midge finally embraces her own identity on stage, Susie acknowledges just how right she was about Midge’s talent, and Joel recognizes his wife’s unstoppable talent. Midge’s parents are still in the dark about their daughter’s budding ambitions. (This secret certainly sets the stage for some explosive moments in Season Two.) And as for me, I was on the edge of my seat wishing the whole thing would never end. Luckily, the show will be filming again in a few short months less than 10 miles from where I live. Let’s hope Amazon gets it to us as fast as Prime shipping.

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