First Impressions: The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel makes a triumphant return to Amazon Prime

Walking away from both the Primetime Emmys and the Golden Globes with awards galore, including accolades for lead Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been a runaway hit for creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and streaming service Amazon Prime. Set in the late 1950’s, Brosnahan stars as Upper West Side housewife Midge Maisel, who discovers she has quite the knack for stand-up comedy. Capitalising on the Gilmore Girls creator’s penchant for snappy back and forths and embracing a delightfully era appropriate screwball comedy feel, the show was renewed for a third season back in May.

With Season Two’s premiere just around the corner, The AU Review were given a sneak peek at the upcoming series and we’re excited to share our first impressions with you!

But where exactly did we leave Midge Maisel at the end of season one? Well, with the help of manager Susie (Alex Borstein) and fellow comedian Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby), she’d escaped the blacklist she’d found herself on after the hilarious but ill-advised takedown of comedy icon Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), and had established herself firmly as – at long last – the eponymous Mrs. Maisel. But at home things weren’t quite so sweet, with estranged husband Joel (Michael Zegen) finding out about her comedy career and her mother Rose (Marin Hinkle) trying desperately to connect with Midge, her husband Abe (Tony Shalhoub) or… anyone really.

Season Two’s Simone kicks off soon after Midge’s brilliant opener for Bruce at the Gaslight bar. Though she’s been demoted from the shop floor to the switchboards at her department store job, the comedy bookings are starting to come in and it seems that Mrs. Maisel’s star is on the rise. But when Rose suddenly packs her bags and heads to Paris, Midge and Abe rush after her, leaving Susie to deal with the aftermath of Midge’s rise to success alone in the Rockaways, with two hapless but rather charming thugs sent by Lennon’s disgruntled agent.

It’s more of the same from Sherman-Palladino and co, with quick fire banter and heightened characterisation firmly at the fore, and it remains a delight to watch it all unfold in this lush and gorgeously costumed 1950’s world. After much stepping around the issue in season one, there’s finally consequences for the choices Midge has made; choices that might burst at the seams with girl power and feminism but in the context of the 1950’s have a real-life impact on Midge and her family. The jokes are still there (Borstein’s Susie might actually be even funnier than before), but they’re couched in a little more awareness and it bodes rather well for the rest of the season.

Rose, in particular, has an absolute ball with this relatively new found conscience. For the duration of the episode, we see her happily finding herself in Paris with the scruffy sausage dog after which the episode is named, and finally putting Midge in her place – after all, why should Midge be able to walk away from her marriage and follow her dreams, but Rose must go home to inattentive old Abe?

That being said, it’s a strong opener only in the context of knowing what came before. Newcomers will certainly get the laughs they’ve signed up for, but it’s definitely worth heading back and discovering the drama behind the jokes. Moments like the phone call between Joel and Midge that ends the episode might cut a little deeper that way.

And, hey, if The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is indicative of the standard we can expect from Amazon Prime originals, it might just be time to add another monthly subscription to the list anyway!

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Season Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be streaming on Amazon Prime from December 5th. Season One is available to stream in its entirety now.

Jodie Sloan

Rogue academic, philosophical sloven, and earnest scribbler. Likes: Stiff drinks, good books, and the musical stylings of Frank Sinatra. Also likes: Pop culture, feminism, and excessive use of CAPSLOCK.