In January 2018, I flew through the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. I absolutely loved it and cheered loudly from my couch when lead actress Rachel Brosnahan won both the Golden Globe and the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy.
Though there were only 12 months between season one and season two, the waiting felt like an eternity! I longed for Midge's quick wit, her fantastic outfits (the hats!) and dreamy scenes of 1950s Manhattan.
On December 5, I got my wish when season two premiered. I was in Reno, NV for work (don't ask), so didn't get to start watching until the weekend.
*SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you don't want to know anything about the plot of season two.*
When we rejoin the Weissmans and the Maisels, Midge's father has come to the shocking realization that his wife has gone missing. It turns out, she went to Paris. If you thought the show does a beautiful job celebrating the magic of New York, just wait until its lens hits the City of Light.
There are some hysterical scenes in the Paris episodes, including many failed attempts by Abe and Midge to convince Rose to come home. My favorite scene however, is when Midge ventures out on her own and winds up taking the stage after a drag show and doing stand up with an impromptu translator.
Eventually the Weissmans head back to New York and Midge resumes her day job at B. Altman (she's been banished to the basement to answer phones) while also pursuing comedy at night. Her manager, Susie, gets significantly more screen time in season two. Personally, I'm not a fan of the character, but I'm clearly in the minority, as actress Alex Borstein won an Emmy for the role back in September.
In episodes four, five and six, the Weissmans and the Maisels escape the city for a summer in the Catskills. Remember Kellermans in Dirty Dancing? Picture all the amazingness of that movie, plus this wickedly funny cast of characters.
In the Catskills, Midge gets a new love interest, Benjamin, played by Zachary Levi. He's a doctor, shares her sharp sense of humor and finds her to be truly dazzling. It was fun to see her flirt with someone other than Joel.
In the second half of the season, Susie and Midge go on their first road trip for a string of stand up gigs. The venues are crappy, the hotels are horrific and they're driving from place to place in a car Susie stole from her elderly mother. Despite the less than ideal conditions, at the end of the tour, Susie gets Midge onto a telethon broadcast and she crushes it. She has everyone in the studio audience, the control room and at home laughing so hard they can't breathe. You are acutely aware you are watching her big break.
Without spoiling it, I thought the season finale was brilliant. It left you with so many questions and things to look forward to in season three.
The entire time I was watching these ten episodes, I couldn't stop thinking about how the writers not only create these complex relationships between these beloved characters, but they also pen all of the stand up! They write the jokes and advise on the delivery and timing, which is a difficult task in of itself.
I want to close with a few additional observations:
- In season one, I found the character of Abe Weissman completely insufferable. He was over-the-top eccentric in a way that didn't feel real. This season I thought he was much more endearing, and he had some of the best lines!
- Am I the only one who didn't remember Midge had a brother?
- Tell me how it is possible that women are throwing themselves at Joel when he's basically unemployed, living in his dad's factory and not even legally divorced yet?
If you've already binged season two, I am dying to hear your thoughts!