EMILIE MACLEOD/THE VARSITY

Overlooked is a new feature in the Arts section where a contributor makes the case for a piece of pop culture they feel doesn’t get the acknowledgement it deserves. It can be anything — an album, a book, a film. Have something in mind? Email arts@thevarsity.ca to argue for your pick.

For a show that has received widespread critical acclaim and numerous accolades, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is still something of a tough sell. Sure, ‘It’s a show about a Jewish Upper West Side housewife in the 1950s whose husband leaves her, so she pursues a career in stand-up comedy’ doesn’t exactly sound like prestige television, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching.




Despite winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and lead actress Rachel Brosnahan snagging the award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, it seems like the show has remained under the radar in terms of popular success.

On one hand, this is unsurprising, as it mirrors the mediocre popularity level of Mozart in the Jungle, another Amazon Video series that received the same number of Golden Globes two years prior yet has not found a wider audience. On the other hand, it’s disappointing since, to be frank, Maisel is absolutely astonishing.

It’s thoughtful and inspiring, showcasing a significant aspect of Manhattan culture that is often unexplored in media. The show is actually a period drama that places an emphasis on creativity, activism, and creating a dynamic cast of characters. Brosnahan as Midge, Marin Hinkle as her mother, and Tony Shalhoub as her father do a wonderful job playing off each other, creating a vivid family dynamic that hasn’t been seen since creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Gilmore Girls.

Maybe Maisel is such a hard sell because it’s relatively niche. The show adopts a brand of understated feminism that works well in its 1958 setting but that wouldn’t be as resonant today. Its premise isn’t necessarily exciting or riveting, though the show itself is. Its humour is of that distinct Sherman-Palladino style of fast-talking, pop culture references, and peculiar characters — the traits responsible for both Gilmore Girls’ cult following and the disdain and mockery it received from some viewers.

If you were to ask me whether or not I would recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to everyone I know, the answer would be no. It’s not for everyone, and I would definitely understand if someone disliked it. However, for those who would love the type of female-driven quirky comedy that it provides, the show is magical. You can decide for yourself, as the first episode is free to watch on YouTube. Hopefully, you’ll fall in love with this show as deeply as I did.

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