The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon’s latest critical darling and the first streaming series to win the best comedy Emmy, is back. All 10 episodes of Season Two debut Wednesday, but before you pop the brisket in the oven and settle in for a long-haul binge, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
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Season One’s storyline ended victoriously…
The first season of Maisel followed the magnetic and neurotic Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, as she transformed from a supportive—the most supportive?—wife and mother into a single woman and a buzzy stand-up comedian. There were many hiccups along the way, not to mention a few tough gigs, but by the time Season One Episode 10 wraps, it does so with Midge, arms flung to the sky in euphoria, rapturous audience in front of her as she fully nails a performance for a packed house.
…and it cleaned up at awards shows.
As noted, Maisel became the first streaming series to win an Emmy for Best Comedy—but that’s hardly the only hardware it took home last awards’ season. It also won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy; a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Comedy; and another Emmy, for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. Brosnahan was awarded an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a TCA Award for her performance, while Alex Brostein, who plays her manager Susie, won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
A plot point to remember: Midge doesn’t know Joel saw her latest show.
When Season Two opens, viewers might be struck by the drastic shift in tone. There’s a real sadness to the early stages of the plot. A lot of that has to do with the developments between Midge and Joel, her husband. They broke up and made up, but then Joel caught the marvelous Mrs. Maisel being marvelously funny and bounced. How Midge grapples with that will certainly inform the second season as its not clear that if comedy stays, Joel goes. (And then what becomes of Mrs. Maisel?)
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Also, Jane Lynch’s Sophie Lennon is likely pissed off.
For all the winningness we felt when Midge landed her final set, it’s important to remember that another woman lost: Sophie Lennon, the crass, A-list comedienne played deftly by Jane Lynch. When Lennon invited Midge to her house, she let Midge into her secret existence. She’s not really a stressed out, beat down, lower class woman from Queens—she has a full staff! She doesn’t eat food at lunch! (Literally.) She wears a ballgown in the house! The house is f*cking massive! Midge exposed the lie during one very brazen set, and there’ll be hell to pay. As Lynch revealed to ET: “Midge, in the last [season], bad-mouthed my character to the entire city of New York, so she exacts her revenge, Sophie does, in the last two episodes of this season.”
It’s not just Joel and Sophie Lennon she’s on the outs with.
When the curtain drops on Season One, Midge is on sensitive grounds with a number of her immediate cohorts. Susie, for one, is upset that she’d go after Lennon, knowing that Lennon’s manager will put the kibosh on her getting bookings in New York City. (She is assuaged, some, by Midge’s triumphant finale set, though not completely.) Her mother, Rose, is scandalized, certainly, by the demise of her daughter’s marriage and it feels as if for as long as Midge and Joel are on the outs, she’ll have the disapproval of her mother. As for Abe, well, he at-large disapproves of where Midge’s life has left her, but that tends to be his opinion of everyone’s lives. He’s certainly no fan of Joel, nor his parents, and he hates how loudly Midge’s friend speaks when he’s trying to read. Of course, he is also entirely dismissive of his wife.
And a plot shift to expect: More storylines.
Season One focused almost completely on Midge, her marriage, and her comedy. We never even saw her grapple with single motherhood, really. (Child care is no problem for her, it would seem.) But Season Two promises to widen its scope. In an interview with IndieWire, Brosnahan said that the new episodes would delve into her “three very distinctly different worlds” of being a mother, a daughter, and “a wife…ish.” The expanded scope involves more than just Midge’s many goings-ons. In fact, the drama of Episode One is a result of problems in Abe and Rose Weissman’s—Midge’s parents—marriage.
And more locations!
We went two places in Season One of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: the Upper East Side, and “downtown” to the comedy club. Both were beautifully depicted—who could forget the twinkle of the counters at Midge’s department store job?—but Season Two is heading places, most notable Paris (where Rose is hiding from her marriage) and the Catskills (where the Weissmans summer).