TV-series review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – season 2 (Amazon Prime, 2018)
At the end of the first season, after having visited the esteemed actor and comedian, Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), and found her to be utterly ridiculous, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) really rips into her on stage. Season two is about what happens when you piss off a national treasure who has way more money and clout than you could even dream of. Hint: it doesn’t go well.
Midge’s manager, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), struggles to find her protegé gigs, because she’s now persona non grata pretty much everywhere she turns. Doesn’t stop her from trying her best, and we love her for it.
Joel (Michael Zegen) and Midge patch up their relationship a bit to the point where they are on speaking terms. Joel spends the season doing … Joel things. He quit his job in season one, and has gone to manage things at the clothing factory his dad owns. Or something. It’s Joel, I don’t really care, to be honest.
In her personal life Midge’s mum Rose (Marin Hinkle) has done a runner to Paris, because her daughter and husband (Tony Shalhoub) don’t appreciate her any more. Which is fair, seeing as how Abe doesn’t even notice she’s left him until Midge prods him for details. They go after her. I like this bit, because it shows Rose in a different light than before, and makes her more three-dimensional.
Once back in the US, they all go on their annual trip to the Catskills, and here is where things get interesting. “Oh, this is just like Kellerman’s!” I thought, having spent the last 30 years completely unaware that perhaps the surnames in Dirty Dancing were a clue. Because yes, the mountain resort the Weissmans go to is very much like the ones the Housemans go to, and it was fun to get a better idea of what that’s all about. (Swedes generally go camping or skiing when holidaying within Sweden, so the concept here is a bit alien to us.)
The main thing here, though, is that Rose teams up with a Mrs Ettenberg to get their single kids together. Rose’s daughter is of course a divorcée, and Mrs Ettenberg’s son is a surgeon and the most eligible bachelor in the Catskills – he has so far resisted marriage, wanting to find someone who’s not just your average housewife, but a bit “weird”. “Weird, eh? I know JUST the woman for him!” says Rose and tries to set Midge up with Dr Benjamin (Zachary Levi, who, funnily enough with that name, is not Jewish). Despite some initial tension, this turns out to work surprisingly well.
And the thing is … he’s MILES better than Joel. MILES. And I’m not saying that just because of the actor playing him (okay, yes, partly that, but it’s only a small part, honest) but because he’s supportive of her! She wants to do comedy? Cool, go for it. He’s not jealous or intimidated by her, and he likes her for her sense of humour. They’re absolutely PERFECT together as a couple, which is why the season closer really has us all scratching our heads, because wtf, Midge!
Oh yeah, and quite by accident Abe finds out his daughter is a stand-up comedian, so that cat’s now out of the bag … and Midge does her first TV appearance. Could this be where her career finally takes off?
All in all, season two has really made the show find its feet, and even if Benjamin was played by someone else, he would still be perfect. Other highlights include Susie going undercover as a resort employee and Susie confronting Sophie Lennon – because I haven’t mentioned how much I love Susie so far, and those really are some stand-out bits. It’s also funny to see Jane Lynch doing her thing, as I now mostly think of her as the gym teacher from Glee.
Susie and Midge go on a little tour of their own, and there’s a bit where Midge is taken off-stage because she has the audacity to mention lady parts, and it was like “hey, I was watching that! I want to hear the rest of that!” and I guess that’s what I find a little bit annoying at times – that you don’t get more of her comedy routine. On the other hand, they’re not the important bits, strictly speaking, so it’s understandable, realistically.
Luckily for me I finished this just a couple of weeks or so before season three dropped, so I didn’t have long to wait before picking up the story again, and that is always the biggest problem with shows you really enjoy – now you have to wait forEVER for the next season! And if that’s your biggest issue with a show, then they’re certainly doing something right.
5 out of 5 clothing racks.