Let’s be honest, every single one of us wanted to be Marilyn Monroe at some point during our lives. And if not that, we’ve spent hours fantasizing, about what it would've been like to be alive during the 1950s. An era of significant upheaval in the United States. A period that gave birth to TV dinners, drive-in movies, luxurious gas-guzzling vehicles in every garage, and suave fashion. What a time to be alive!
In a bid to boost your fantasies, Amazon Prime Video provided the world with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, a comedy/drama series that first aired in early 2017. Commercial success followed its previous three seasons, and a fourth installment was released in late February 2022.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a tale of one Miriam "Midge" Maisel who is living a rather elegant American dream. A housewife with the perfect family and a comfortable home in upper New York. Sounds rather fancy, until her life takes a 180-degree turn when she discovers a talent she didn’t know she harbored - stand-up comedy. The events that set the entire plot in motion take place when Midge’s husband Joel, cheats on Midge with his secretary.
Joel occasionally performs mediocre stand-up acts at The Gaslight Café, a place where Midge initially discovers her ability to perform stand-up. After she hears about her husband’s encounter with the secretary, a drunken Midge goes to The Gaslight Café where she makes the audience aware of her rather embarrassing situation, only it’s delivered in a bawdy manner that captivates her audience.
This disclosure tunes elegance and comfort down to zero as Mrs. Maisel goes on to make a name for herself in the city’s cafes and nightclubs as she pursues this uncharted talent.
The series itself is a slap in patriarchy’s face. Through Mrs. Maisel’s jokes and a sexist audience, the show was able to portray the harassment and abuse that women in entertainment faced during that particular era and up to this day.
The show can also be described as a guide to smashing the patriarchy in a black dress, some pearls, and high heels. A complex female character that is Midge is the series’ unique selling point. Not a lot of production houses have been able to capture the commanding presence that Midge has, many have tried and failed, the only other alternative that comes close can be Maeve Wiley’s character from Netflix’s hit series, “Sex Education”.
A Fashion Statement
Other than its plot, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel series has certain elements that keep the series true to the 1950s. The fashion. During the day Midge plays the role of a well-intentioned ‘50s housewife. Covered head to toe, and by night she’s a hysterically funny comedian dressed as if she were attending a ball in “Pride and Prejudice”.
The housewife attire is everything you would imagine an ideal woman would wear during the ‘50s. It revolves around matching patterned dresses, and even though Midge leaves her husband during the early episodes of season 1, her housewife outfit is a permanent part of her wardrobe. That is what made the audience resonate with the character to a great extent.
Her onstage presence is what really spices things up in the series for everyone. Her go-to is a classic black dress often accessorized with bows or fringes. The black dress stays for a notable period in the series however her onstage wardrobe does come with a pink exception during the final episode of season 3.
From a viewer’s perspective, watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does not at all feel like a waste. It is all about the feeling of self-actualization that comes with finding your voice, while simultaneously providing yourself with a medium or an outlet, to share one’s experience.
A lot like sitcoms such as 'Friends' or 'Schitt’s Creek', The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a show that could go on forever. The show grows on you and you grow with it, which is why Mrs. Maisel’s audience needs to soak up every episode of season 4 and the season after it, as Amazon has officially confirmed that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will end with a fifth and final season. Much to the disappointment of many!