Joey Moser considers the early awards chances of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And professes his love in the process.
Sometimes when you love a new show, it’s hard to separate your feelings when awards season comes around. But it’s even more gratifying when said new show garners awards attention. Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel debuted after Thanksgiving to rapturous notices from both critics and fans on social media. I admit to being responsible for my share of noise on Twitter. Does the Amy Sherman-Palladino period comedy have the gumption to go all the way this season? Or will Midge’s awards hope get dashed as abruptly as her separation from her husband?
Enter the Ingenue
Sherman-Palladino struck gold when she cast Rachel Brosnahan as her title character. As Midge Maisel, Brosnahan sparkles as the perfect 1950’s housewife, but the destruction of her marriage to aspiring comedian Joel (played by Michael Zegen) is even more enthralling to watch. A role like Midge requires an unbelievable amount of confidence and verve, and Brosnahan never makes her pathetic or pitiful. Even though she repeatedly stumbles, Midge knows how to apply her gumption into almost each problem that comes her way.
Whenever Brosnahan is on screen — which is almost every scene — the whole thing lights up. The colors of the costumes and the period set legitimately seem bolder. Whenever Midge steps onto the stage of the Gaslight to perform a set (whether she’s drunk or not), you can almost feel the anticipation in the room. Brosnahan has such a firm handle on Sherman-Palladino’s language and rhythm that they strengthen and enhance the show as a whole.
You may have noticed Brosnahan on Netflix’s House of Cards or WGN’s Manhattan. This is her breakthrough. There is no doubt that the Hollywood Foreign Press will nominate her. Since Transparent feels like it’s on its way out this season (the sexual allegations against Jeffrey Tambor aside, this latest fourth season was not as well received), Amazon can focus on nabbing some Golden Globe nominations for the show and its star. The HFPA loves to award new talent, and Maisel and Brosnahan are bound to gain nominations next week. The show will have to appeal to be considered in the comedy categories at the Emmys, but the subject matter will hopefully help it prevail on those decisions.
Justice for Palladino?
Fans of Sherman-Palladino seem to have a signature favorite work. Sure, she’s most known for creating the beloved Gilmore Girls, but Bunheads also has its devoted fans. It should also be noted that she was a writer for a few episodes of Veronica’s Closet. Yes, I am still not over the fact that she wrote for the Kirstie Alley lingerie network show!
Gilmore Girls is known for its language and rapid-fire delivery, but Sherman-Palladino has only been nominated for an Emmy once. It wasn’t even for one of the shows she created. She was nominated for her work on an episode of Roseanne in 1992.
The Golden Globe don’t have writing categories, but maybe Sherman-Palladino can make the cut at the Emmys. The pilot is one of the strongest episodes of the season and comedy is all about delivery, writing, and language.
Midge & Susie
While the jumping off point of Maisel is the beginning of the end of Midge and Joel, the best relationship is between her and her manager, Susie. Alex Borstein should be on everyone’s year-end notices, because this is her best role to date. Over the years, Borstein has been featured prominently on television in Getting On and MADtv, and her list of voiceover credits is longer the supposed length of any guy’s johnson. All right, we can’t all write comedy.
Getting nominated for a comedy performance and winning at the Golden Globes is harder than getting a good slot at the Gaslight without bribing Susie with a brisket. Borstein has only been nominated for 2 Emmy Awards (both came out of Family Guy).
Midge and Susie grow with each other because they need one another. They are both learning along the way and they show an unshakable confidence to the world. They spar with each other almost nonstop, and it feels like it’s only making Midge’s act sharper and funnier. Susie is unwittingly (or wittingly) keeping Midge on her toes. When they are down, they need each other more than they know, and the burgeoning friendship between them is one of the most beautiful and well-rounded aspects of the first season.
What Women Are “Supposed” To Do
The three big winners at the Emmys this last season (Veep, Big Little Lies, and The Handmaid’s Tale) were all female-driven stories. Since Maisel is a period piece, we get to see how women were treated in 1958, but we must remember that this was only almost 60 years ago.
When Midge tells her parents that Joel left her, her mother immediately responds, “Why? What did you do?” In her traditional Jewish family, it is not acceptable for her to think about divorce. Midge is supposed to get dolled up and show Joel what he’s missing.
When she steps out onto the stage to perform, it feels dangerous. Midge can reveal her true feelings about her marriage, her kids, and her parent’s expectations of her without abandon. Her talent and wit shine through and earn laughter in a time when joking about family and being disappointed is taboo. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is entertaining, funny, and thoughtful, but it is also vital and alive.
Rachel Brosnahan, Lead Actress in a Comedy Television Series
Tony Shalhoub, Supporting Actor in a Comedy Television Series
Rachel Brosnahan, Lead Actress Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub, Supporting Actor Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, Supporting Actress Comedy Series