View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV
5 December 2017

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is a riotous delight – with an irresistible star

The new Amazon show from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is full of period charm.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, the new show from the Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, introduces us to the charmed life of Miriam “Midge” Maisel. It’s 1958 and the chirpy, whip-smart, doe-eyed Midge is married to the likeable (if less impressive) Joel Maisel, an amateur stand-up comedian. They have two children – a boy and a girl – and they live in an enormous Upper East Side apartment decorated to perfection, in the same building as Midge’s parents.

Midge is stick-thin and gorgeous, diligently removing her make-up and taking her measurements each night, but only after her husband has fallen asleep, so as not to shatter the illusion. She’s the architect of her own good fortune, with a picture-perfect cosmopolitan Jewish family: she even gets the rabbi to come to her Yom Kippur breakfast. But by the end of episode one, her husband has left her. Her dream life has slipped through her fingers. Midge suddenly finds herself onstage at the Gaslight Café, drunk, telling the whole, embarrassing story – and a comedy star is born. She becomes a regular, sneaks into Red Skelton shows at the Copacabana and rubs shoulders with Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby).

It’s a riotous delight, tethered by an irresistible lead performance from Rachel Brosnahan. Midge is privileged enough for the stakes to remain low, while the Fifties setting ensures that although this is a show about scandalous comedy, the humour never feels edgy to a modern audience. Instead, it’s full of charms similar to those of Sherman-Palladino’s other work: an infuriating but witty brunette in the lead role, delivering impossibly fast monologues. Add a period soundtrack, costumes and sets as sumptuous as Todd Haynes’s Carol, and that makes perfect winter watching. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure

This article appears in the 29 Nov 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The most powerful man in the world

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU