The Reel Review
Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) on tour with crooner Shy Baldwin and his band as economic hardship forces her parents to move in with their former inlaws in Queens, her ex-husband starts a nightclub, and her manager Susie (Alex Borstein) adds Midge’s rival, Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), as a client.
Brosnahan continues to inject her winsome, quick-witted, infectious charm into the role, with the writing still as rapid-fire and clever as ever and its eye-popping period visuals transporting viewers into early 1960s America like no other show currently on television. But creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s nostalgia-filled story hits a bit of a slump, compared to the prior two stellar seasons. There just isn’t much of a conflict to be resolved in the main story, and many of its sub-plots (in particular those involving Midge’s privileged parents and her manager Susie) are contrived, ridiculously out of character compared to prior seasons and frankly, really annoying. And Mrs. Maisel’s continued snobbishness (especially after seeing the real world) is off-putting. The schtick is stale.
That said, whenever we see Brosnahan’s Mrs. Maisel, the show soars, and after several throwaway episodes mid-season, Season 3 does pick up by its finale. Brosnahan’s scenes with Luke Kirby’s Lenny Bruce are terrific and the addition of Wanda Sykes in the finale is fun. Next season, please, give us an edgier, less safe story with a lot more Brosnahan, and Mrs. Maisel gaining a much needed dose of self-awareness and introspection.
• The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the first TV series on a streaming platform to the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series
• Rachel Brosnahan picked up inspiration and advice for her role from close friend, writer-comedienne Jasmine Pierce, who made the journey from ‘open mic’ stand-up to writing for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
• Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, who appeared as Cosma in two episodes, won 2018 Tony awards for their performances in the Broadway musical The Band’s Visit.