Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's wit and charm is unparalleled, but you can thank Joan Rivers and other powerful female stand-ups for it
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returns for season 2 on December 5 so you can expect it to be even better than the first and just imagine the number of awards it will rake in next year!
On December 5, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' is returning for a second helping of marvelousness and it's the only natural course for the groundbreaking Amazon Prime series after bagging a Golden Globe win for Best Comedy Series and the Emmy Award for the same. Ever since it premiered on March 2017, the hour-long dramedy, claimed critical acclaim, so much so that even Steven Spielberg is a fan of this genre-bending series. Fans across the world have come to love the effervescent Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam 'Midge' Maisel but the question that still remains unanswered is if the show is based off a true story.
The story takes place in 1958's New York as Miriam "Midge" Maisel, an upper-middle-class Jewish housewife living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is abandoned by her husband, only to discover that she is a naturally a gifted comic, much better than her husband can ever dream to be. While in the '50s and '60s not many female comedians could be considered an inspiration, Mrs. Maisel is an amalgamation of all the leading ladies of the comedy world and beyond.
Penned by the creator of 'Gilmore Girls' Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show takes a lot of inspiration from her own childhood. On accepting the awards at the Emmys for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Sherman-Palladino revealed that she "had to turn a six-foot-two Bronx Jew into Rachel Brosnahan," clearly indicating that major influence for her character also came from her father, comedian Don Sherman. However, in various interviews, the 52-year-old writer clearly stated that the life of late Joan Rivers, who rose to fame in the 1960s for her bold comedy routines, acted as a sort of crux for the series.
Arguably the most well-known female standup at the time, Rivers definitely shaped Midge Maisel's sense of humor and style. In her interview with Vanity Fair, Sherman-Palladino stated about honoring Rivers' legacy on the show saying: "She had that wonderful mix, that battle of wanting to be accepted on a feminine level — [but] you can’t have that many balls and be accepted on a feminine level... Going forward, that’s how we’re looking at Midge’s humor."
Season 2 is arriving soon now and as the reviews go, you can expect it to be even better than the first, so imagine the number of awards the show is going to sweep next year! Despite having tough competition from HBO's worldwide hit 'Game of Thrones,' and other sensational thrillers and dystopian dramas, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' has managed to win hearts by being a simple witty dramedy that exists to warm hearts and empower women.
There's a reason why so many women adore and identify with Mrs. Maisel. While Rivers is certainly a major inspiration behind the creation of the character, a lot of other strong women make up Mrs. Maisel, including Brosnahan's own grandmother, as she says in an interview with InStyle; "[Midge and Rivers are] very different, but something about their drive is similar, I think. Also, my grandmother and Midge shared a lot of traits. My grandmother is a fabulous, fabulous woman I’ve been researching a lot about actors and actresses during this time. She’s a young Jewish woman, so I’ve been brushing up on my Jewish history all the way leading up to the ‘50s and ‘60s."
"Joan Rivers, certainly. I think a lot of Midge's sense of humor is very similar to Joan's – the kinds of taboo subject matter that they explore. But the comedy comes from a very different place. Obviously, Midge's comes from the fact that her whole life has fallen apart, and Joan Rivers' came from the fact that she felt like she never fit in – she felt like an ugly duckling. Midge, meanwhile, fit in better than everyone else. So they arrive at similar subject matter from very different places," Brosnahan tells NPR.
The other influential female comedians who make up the astounding Mrs. Maisel also includes Phyllis Diller and Totie Fields. "They're the pioneers. They are extraordinary women of comedy. But I also looked to a woman named Jean Carroll, who is a little bit lesser known, as well, but one of the first female stand-ups," Brosnahan adds in the same interview.
Diller was a housewife persona in the 50s and the 60s, best known for her eccentricity, her self-deprecating humor, her wild hair and attire, and her exaggerated, cackling laugh. Fields, another mention, was known as the female "Borsht Belt comedian," and was named as an inspiration by Sherman-Palladino according to the interview with the New York Times, while Carroll personally inspired Brosnahan because of her sunny persona and feminine style.
In the second season, Midge will carry on as 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' with her signature sense of humor, and as we celebrate powerful pioneers of Midge in the upcoming season, we cannot wait to be enthralled and empowered.