Rating 5/5 – I’m not surprised that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 was good, I have to be honest, I’m surprised the 2nd season was better than the first. Yes, I know every TV show is supposed to suffer some sort of sophomore slump, but I don’t believe in that. Many shows have a great 2nd season and this show it one of them. I had high praise for the first season, which you can read here. The first season was original and funny.
As I said in my review of the first season, I admit my bias for the show because the central theme is stand-up comedy. Last season we experience how Mr.s Maisel began to walk her road to being a stand-up. This season Miriam and Susie continue their road to making Mrs. Maisel famous. It’s both a fun ride to watch how Midge handles all situation thrown at her and a real look at a hard road.
The show handles relationships, sexism, life on the road and family with fun and depth not seen on many shows. I especially like Susie and her debt problems and how they used it to show the differences between classes. The show never forgets the central focus nd themes by drifting off to being too dark. The characters stay consistent and all of them get moments of growth that never takes away from what the show built up from the beginning. This is a must watch Amazon Prime show and one of the reasons why subscription channels are kicking much ass.
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 is Bigger and Better
So how can a series about a young Jewish woman who loses her husband to a younger secretary and becomes a stand-up comedian in the mid to late 1950s be “bigger?” Because of the characters. We got a metric ton of character development, from Susie to Marin, to Abe, to Moishe each character gets more story and depths. Rachel Brosnahan deserves a ton of credit having to play lead against veteran comic actors like Tony Shalhoub and Kevin Pollak. But this is Mrs. Maisel’s show, everything about the world, the themes and the storyline rests completely on her shoulders. She earned every award she got for playing Midge because she’s just that good and has come a long way from her role as prostitute turned victim in House of Cards.
However my favorite character will also be Susie Myerson, the blue-collar hard-boiled manager determined to make Mrs. Maisel a household name. I liked the parent last season and even more this season and am glad both parents got more story in this season.
Mrs. Maisel and Lenny
However, the real stand-out performance is Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce. By the time I became a teenager, and this was during the flashpoint rise of stand-up, Lenny Bruce was a legend. Dustin Hoffman played in the movie, but Luke Kirby got Lenny Bruce down. Lenny Bruce passed before I could walk but from all the video footage Luke Kirby feels like Lenny Bruce. Of course, this is a fictionalized version of his life, if someone like Midge Maisel existed we would know her name, but just the way Luke Kirby handles the mundane off the stage parts of Lenny Bruce feels so authentic. How this man has not been nominated for a best-supporting actor for this role is a damn crime.
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Dialogue
The best thing about this show is the dialogue. It’s machine gun fast paced and works. I cannot imagine the kind of rehearsals these actors have to go through to do these lines as written. This show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino who also created Gilmore Girls and was a main writer for the old Rosanne show. (Yeah, Rosanne’s a piece of shit, but that old show as funny.) The way the actors do their lines feels so natural and authentic, despite they often talk over each other or finish each other’s sentences. You feel like these characters have known each other forever and are used to everything they all do.
Mrs. Maisel Happy Days
What do I know about the 1950’s? Well, when I was a kid Happy Days was a new show. A lot of black rock was stolen and repurposed by white bands who get more credit for them. That’s about it. I do know that in New York the bohemian artist scene began in the 1950s and comedians like Lenny Bruce helped usher that in. So when we see Susie Myerson in her comedy club struggling to pay bills and eat, apparently that’s how it was. When Midge goes from her mid-town apartment to the what looks like The Village, it looks authentic to me. If feels like the beginning of those times we only read about in history books or see in movies.
I couldn’t tell you how authentic this actually is, but it all feels right to me. Then again, what do I know, I was born in the 1960s and didn’t become truely aware of my New York until the 1970s.
This is just one of those shows you absolutely have to see. After a fantastic first season, we get an AWESOME second season. The characters are great, the story flows despite places where it could have felt interrupted, and Midge Maisel’s slow rise as a comedian in fun to watch in some places, but heartbreaking in others.
If you never heard a Lenny Bruce routine, do yourself a favor and YouTube that shit right now. This will help you appreciate Luke Kirby’s excellent portrayal. (And yes, they literally arrested Lenny Bruce for saying “fuck” on stage.) It cannot be overstated how excellent Rachel Brosnahan is in this show. Come in for the comedy and stay for the performances. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is everything it’s hyped up to be and much, much more.