The star of Amazon’s period piece set in the ‘50s New York comedy scene also talks season 2.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is all about the trials and tribulations of Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a wife abandoned by her adulterous husband Joel (Michael Zegen) who decides to radically transform her personal and professional life. It’s also about a slew of strong supporting characters played by the likes of Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhouband Alex Borstein.
And through it all, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel manages to remain one of the fastest shows on television. It’s almost as if co-creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino purposefully wanted to keep their performers on their toes, but the cast doesn’t seem to mind – especially Brosnahan.
“Our prep time was often short between shooting episodes,” she tells Metro, “so learning that volume of dialogue as quickly as was necessary was definitely the biggest ongoing challenge for us.”
Even so, like Borstein, the Emmy Award-winning actress is up for the challenge. After all, despite the forgivable assumption that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 would slow down a tad following its rapid first outing, nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Things didn’t feel like they slowed down to us,” says Brosnahan. “Midge is still her same fast talkin’, fast walkin’ self. She’s spinning so many plates at once while trying to keep her comedic alter-ego a secret from her family.” As a result, she notes, filming for season 2 actually “felt faster than ever from the inside.”
Throughout the first season, Midge spent her nights refining her natural comedic abilities with the help of her fellow comic and manager, Susie (Borstein), while juggling a day job and two children. Season 2 is much of the same, which makes sense as it services the story Sherman-Palladino and Palladino want to tell. But it’s the show’s attention to historical detail, albeit with a few dramatized flourishes, that has caught the attention of comedy aficionados.
The co-creators are known for their detail-oriented writing style. What’s more, the new season’s writer’s room included two playwrights and two comedians, the latter group consisting of Jen Kirkman and Noah Gardenswartz. Their inclusion is especially felt whenever Midge or another comedian character is performing onstage, but Brosnahan and company also appreciated their involvement for another reason: realism.
Television shows about stand-up comedians are a dime a dozen. This is as true for “Peak TV” as it was for the advent of the modern sitcom. Yet the details in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are remarkable. Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) recurs throughout both seasons, as does the Phyllis Diller-esque Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch). Even the black evening gown, matching gloves and pearls Midge wears in her final performance of season 1 is reminiscent of Joan Rivers.
All of this, and more, helps the program stand apart, and Brosnahan couldn’t be more relieved for it.
“I’m so relieved that most of them don’t hate us,” she says. “It’s been encouraging to hear from quite a few comedians that, despite usually hating depictions of stand-up in film and on television, Midge’s journey resonates with them.”
She concludes “the process of honing material, vying for prime slots and even losing a grip on one’s societal filters apparently seems familiar to them.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.