THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL (Season 5) -- Laughter and Tears Abound As Midge Takes Her Final Bow
Review by Tatiana Miranda
In 2017, writer-producer duo and couple Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino released the first season of the Prime Video original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Over the following five years, Mrs. Maisel went on to win 20 Emmys, including the first win from a streaming series for best comedy. Centered around a 1950s housewife who decides to become a stand-up comic after divorcing her husband, Mrs. Maisel is full of Sherman-Palladino’s signature quick dialogue and thought-out set design and costuming that is accurate to the time period.
The series quickly found its fanbase in both fans of period dramas and those familiar with the Palladinos’ previous comedy series, Gilmore Girls. Starring real-life historical figures, such as the infamous comic Lenny Bruce, and original characters full of personality and humor, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a show that only improves season after season, reaching its climax in the fifth and final season.
From the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village to a resort in Miami, the titular Midge Maisel has traveled far and wide in search of her “big break” as a stand-up comic. After her husband, Joel, leaves her in season 1, she begins her new life as a comic with the help of her friend and manager, Susie Myerson. In the final season, Midge is more determined than ever to make it big as she reflects on a confrontation with her romantic interest and mentor, Lenny Bruce, that occurred at the end of season 4. While still continuing her gig as an emcee at a strip club from the previous season, Midge embarks on a new journey that might finally give her the extra push she’s been needing.
Like Mrs. Maisel’s previous seasons, season 5 has no shortage of hilarious exchanges of dialogue and stand-up routines. Many beloved characters also return in the final season and even more are introduced. Recurring characters from season 4 make more major appearances this season, including the television show host, Gordon Ford, and the show’s booker, Mike Carr.
Unlike its previous seasons, though, there is a sense of finality that goes beyond just the series nearing its end. As is revealed in the first episode of the new season, Midge has reached a mindset of “now or nothing.” Meaning that Susie must work harder than ever to get Midge’s big break before their time runs out.
Season 5 also takes a unique and new direction in terms of storytelling. Whether it be to fit in Midge’s entire story within the confines of the nine-episode season or to quell any fears about her future, this season of Mrs. Maisel regularly has opening scenes and, in one case, an entire episode that flashes forward in time. Although it’s disorienting at first to see these characters in a new time period, the change makes sense structurally and allows the audience to feel content as the series concludes.
Like Midge herself, season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is visually stunning and full of laughs. This season takes its chances, and they pay off, making it probably the most conclusive and heartfelt final season of a show to come out in recent years.
The first three episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 5 begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video on April 14. All nine episodes reviewed.
4/16/2023 11:27:13 am
I have loved this series, but I found the first three episodes disappointing. The laughs are intermittent, many of the jokes fall flat, and the "fast forward" scenes in the future are infuriating because they rob the series of the friction that is critical to drama and comedy. Throughout this series, we have wondered whether her talent will overcome her penchant for accumulating self-inflicted wounds. Now that we know the answer this early, none of mishaps that befall her have any dramatic weight. Will she get fired from her job as a TV comedy writer? It doesn't matter because we know that in the end, she's going to end up a superstar (and, from the vignettes we've seen, a rather obnoxious one). So far, that "fast forward" choice has made each episode much less compelling. If it weren't for the immensely talented cast, I'd be bored.
5/25/2023 09:30:15 pm
I was so disappointed with season 5 I thought they could have done a better job. And the way they ended it, it made me so mad. They could have done a much better job than what they did. I found they did the same thing to Gilmore Girls a year in the life. Seems they tank when they're ending a series.
5/25/2023 11:57:36 pm
So much of this series was rich and funny (especially if one is Jewish, we love to make fun of ourselves) so it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Mrs. Maisel but carry an even heavier burden, that the finale which could have been fantastic was anything but that. I don’t care what the writer or show runner thinks about their agenda—it’s the audience you should be thinking about and what they want. If I want to see aging beauties, and non beauties I don’t need cable. If I wanted to be reminded of the heartbreak of Lenny Bruce I can google him. If I wanted unhappiness and confusion and people who talk to ashtrays or worse yet wind up in one, I can turn on CNN. No Palladinos. You turned your back on the audience and like a skunk lifted your tails and sprayed.
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