The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Cast Close Out Paleyfest at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood 2023!
By Sara Clark
Picture of the cast of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel at Paleyfest 2023.
Dolby Theater, Los Angeles - Day three of Paleyfest continues with the "TheMarvelous Mrs. Maisel," which is coming to a conclusion after five laughter-filled seasons.
For those unfamiliar or without an Amazon Prime membership, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows the story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), whose life in the Manhattan Upper West Side goes from the typical 1950’s housewife routine to stand-up comedy. The push to the stage is ignited when her comedically untalented husband, Joel Maisel (Michael Zegan) leaves her for his secretary after bombing the Gaslight club. Miriam Maisel gets intoxicated after the news and returns to the Gaslight to vent her frustration in a drunken stand-up routine. Even in a nightgown, the manager of the Gaslight, Susie Meyerson (Alex Borstein) knows talent when she sees it. Meyerson knows with a bit of training, Maisel will become a star, and she takes her under her wing. With a witty tongue and fabulous wardrobe, Maisel navigates her new career while facing opposition from established comic Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) and the struggles of balancing her personal life with the comic life.
The series also takes moments to focus on the supporting cast, even showing Joel Maisel’s opening up The Button Club and getting into a relationship with the daughter of his Chinese landlord, Mei Lin (Stephanie Hsu). His relationship with Lin is encouraged by his parents, Moshie Maisel (Kevin Pollack) and Shirley Maisel (Caroline Aaron) who want to see their son married. Midge’s parents, Rose Weissman (Marin Hinkle) and Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) also get the spotlight on them throughout the series. Rose, like Midge, also ventures into the working world by starting a career in matchmaking. Abe meanwhile leaves his comfy position as a mathematics professor and researcher at Bell Labs to pursue his passion as a critic for The Village Voice. All the stories are united by a common theme: pursuit. Despite societal pressures and uphill battles, all the characters in Marvelous Mrs. Maisel still bravely go forth and refuse to let their dreams die in the shadows. Risking reputation and breaking expectations to be truly happy with life with a bit of humor along the way is probably what has kept the show on Amazon’s top list.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has charmed audiences since season one, and with the show’s upcoming season five concluding the series, fans are rooting for Maisel to finally fulfill her dreams. Her setbacks may be more numerous than successes, but now that Maisel’s set her sights on the Gordon Ford Show, fans are hoping that this will propel Maisel to the big leagues.
The panel at Paleyfest was more of a reflection on what the series has accomplished so far, with creator/director/head writer Amy Sherman-Palladino and co-writer/director Daniel Palladino. The creative team mourned the departure of the show, and they weren’t alone. When moderator Stacey Wilson Hunt of The Hollywood Reporter announced that this was the farewell season for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the packed theater collectively groaned. The cast and crew united with the audience in their sadness that such a wonderful show is closing its curtains this coming season.
The reflections started with Amy Sherman-Palladino, who bathed in the afterglow of the experience of making the series. “We learned a lot, probably made a couple of mistakes along the way.” She added that she felt honored to have been a part of Maisel, saying she could “go on for years with how lucky I feel. Daniel Palladino shared her sentiments, especially regarding how they tackled a new challenge whenever they were working,“be brave every day”.
Rachel Brosnahan, who has received constant nominations for her portrayal of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, expressed her gratitude for the chance to play Maisel. The audience loudly applauded her, and for the last season, Brosnahan wants to leave fans with an ending they will love “I hope we landed the plane”. The light and energy Brosnahan brought to Midge was the foundation of the series, and while she is supported by an amazing ensemble, Brosnahan carries the show.
Alex Borstein, almost unrecognizable as her character Susie Meyerson, also received thundering applause from the crowd. In a tight, daring sequin black dress, Borstein admits she hasn’t “processed that it’s over yet”. She does reflect upon her character, who she saw as “misjudged and misfield” but felt that Susie ultimately took her life in her hands and “built a new bookshelf” for her life story.
Tony Shalhoub, another fan favorite, remarks that he believes his character Abe Weissman to be the ‘straight man’ of the show. “Maybe Abe was the audience’s way in. I’m normal.” This led to a debate even among the cast about whose character was the ‘straight man’ in the wacky world of Maisel. Shalhoub does like the journey that Abe goes on, a man who even late in life was inspired by his daughter’s dream and decided to pursue his own. “He’s had to embrace the chaos,” Shalhoub says, and it’s probably that chaos that pushed Abe to chase his real passions.
Michael Zegan, who portrays the cheating husband turned club owner Joel Maisel, knows he had an uphill battle to win over fans. Zegan does point out that the turn of events that occurs in the series is because of Joel lighting the match “He became the catalyst”. Zegan analyzes Joel, and concludes that Joel was “a lost soul” and “it took him a while to find his purpose.” He debates with Shalhoub that Joel is the ‘straight man’ of the series more than Abe.
Caroline Aaron, who portrayed Joel’s mother, Shirley Maisel, tells us that she is often approached by strangers who tell her how much her characters remind them of people in their lives. “She is familiar to a lot of people”. Aaron concludes that Shirely reminds people of “someone they were annoyed with but loved” and laughs with the Paleyfest audience.
Is it bittersweet (mostly bitter) to see The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel comes to an end, as I spoke to people sitting near me, many expressed that they would have loved to see the show span decades. Like the comedy-based Mad Men, where we would follow Maisel’s career into the ’60s, ’70s, and even ’80s. Maybe at some point, Amazon will do a time-skip season, especially with so many loyal fans who adore this show chanting how much they want more. However, if season five is to be the last, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon. I believe the cast and crew have, as Brosnahan said, “landed the plane.”
Photo Credit: Sara Clark