Back in December 2017, a reader suggested to me that I should check out a new show on Amazon called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I hadn't heard of it, but once I read its creator was Amy Sherman-Palladino (who is the brilliant mind behind The Gilmore Girls) I knew I had to give it a shot.
It took me only one episode to fall in love with Midge Maisel, the show's title character. Played by Rachel Brosnahan, Midge finds unexpected success as a stand-up comedian. In fact, her sets are my favorite part of every episode and have been since season one.
In this new season, the show's third, Midge heads out on tour with singer Shy Baldwin. Their first stop: Las Vegas. The writers did an amazing job capturing how people feel their first time in Sin City. There's a hysterical scene where Midge and her manager Susie are playing slots and with every lever pull they shout, "Blueberry, Lemon, Cherry - that should be something!"
Eventually the tour travels to Miami and I couldn't wait to see where they filmed. In the show, they stay at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, a hotel that has always been known for its glamour.
There's a scene shot on the beach, right next to the lighthouse in Bill Baggs Park on Key Biscayne and I squealed when I saw it because I just walked there with my mom over Thanksgiving! To think the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stood where I stood - it's just too much!
Being on the road provided the show's writers with ample new material. Last season, they sent the family to Paris to chase Rose (Midge's mother), which felt random and irritating. In this season, the tour provides the tension in all the relationships, which keeps it interesting.
In these new episodes, Midge and Susie find themselves sparring over Susie's new client, Sophie Lennon (played by Jane Lynch). Both women want Susie's undivided attention. While I could have done without the Sophie Lennon / Broadway play story line, I have to admit, Lynch is fantastic in this role. There's one scene where she's barking orders into the phone while in her claw foot tub surrounded by maids that is so over top I actually laughed out loud.
I was happy to see Midge's ex-husband Joel get a compelling story line this season. He finds romance with his new landlord, Mei Lin, at his club in Chinatown. Their chemistry is undeniable and her outfits are fabulous.
My fondness for Abe, Midge's father, has grown with every season. In season one, I found him insufferable, but in season three he's passionate and interesting, ultimately getting a byline published in The New York Times.
The third season also benefits from exceptional guest stars. Sterling K. Brown plays Reggie, Shy Baldwin's manager. There is an episode where he is pressured to get on stage and sing and as he was belting it out, I thought to myself, "Is there anything this man can't do?" Liza Weil also joins as Shy's base player. She will always be Paris Geller to me. In the Miami episodes, Abe's long lost friend is played by the legendary Jason Alexander. I would recognize the sound of his voice anywhere.
In the final episode, Midge and Susie are thrown a major curve ball that leaves the door open for a bunch of different possibilities in season four. I'm already counting down to the next premiere!
All weekend I was thinking about what makes this show so special and I came up with three things:
(1) The stand up. Not only are you getting to watch an incredible comedy about love, family and career, but every hour you get to hear at least one brilliant set of jokes.
(2) The costumes! Donna Zakowska is the show's costume designer and she deserves every award. The dresses, the suits, the hats! The hats are a thing of beauty, especially the ones worn by Rose, Midge's mother.
(3) This show is shot like a Broadway show, not a traditional television sitcom. Every conversation has great energy, the costumes and sets are magnificent and really transport you to another world, and the way the music is woven in is truly brilliant.