Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, season 4

Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, season 4, proves that some series do improve with age. The fourth season of this comedy sees Midge make some decisions about her career and begin to face some of her mistakes. It may be the funniest season yet. There’s a season 5 promised.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel features mostly the same cast as always with a few of additions I’ll mention in a bit. Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is out of a job when the season begins because she outed her boss Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain) while on tour with him. She never really admits the consequences of what she did, even when she has a chance to apologize (not very well) to him.

Midge decides she’s never going to open for anybody else again. She’ll only do headliner acts where she can say whatever she wants to say. She tells her manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) to only give her gigs where she’s the headliner.

Midge takes a job as the emcee at a strip club. She berates the manager Boise (Santino Fontana) into treating the women better, improving safety, and getting a better coffee pot. She’s so funny that women start showing up for her shows. The manager wants to throw her out because the audience is supposed to be men, but the big bosses realize Midge is making them money and they insist on keeping her.

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The only problem with being the headliner in a strip joint is Susie can’t bring anyone who might book her there to show off her act. The whole place is illegal.

Midge isn’t the only one getting funny bits in season 4. Susie finds office space (via some mobsters who seem to always hang around). She hires a secretary, Dinah (Alfie Fuller). She starts managing a magician named Aflie (Gideon Glick), who is pretty amazing. The things that happen in that office are nutso and funny.

Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Midge manages to buy her old apartment back and lets her parents, Rose Weissman (Marin Hinkle) and Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) move in with her. The things that happen in this family are nutso and funny.

Abe is working at the Village Voice and Rose opens a matchmaking business. Her rival matchmakers are hilarious, by the way. She inadvertently creates a matchmakers war.

Michael Zegen and Stephanie Hsu in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Midge’s ex, Joel (Michael Zegen), runs a club in Chinatown. He’s living with Mei (Stephanie Hsu), a Chinese woman he’s afraid to tell his parents about. You guessed it, nutso and funny.

Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) and Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) are back in a big way in season 4. Midge loves Lenny and hates Sophie.

In one episode, Midge notices Suzie never seems to be in a relationship. Midge decides to take Susie to a lesbian bar. She gets advice on where to find one from a guy sitting on a park bench (John Waters). Susie really doesn’t want help with her nonexistent love life.

Speaking of park benches, Midge meets a handsome guy (Milo Ventimiglia) in the park and has a brief moment with him. When she turned the encounter into a comedy routine she made Jackie Kennedy cry. Yes, that Jackie Kennedy. Will she eventually learn that some jokes hurt people? I hope so, but if she didn’t learn anything from the Shy Baldwin episode can we really expect it?

Overall, the season is about Midge becoming more in control of her own work and coming to terms with how to make it as a comic. The season ends on a cliffhanger.

This cast is simply top notch at fast-paced comedy and the situations and dialog created for them are brilliant. The costumes, the music, it all works.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino who frequently directs as well. You can see all 4 seasons on Prime Video.

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7 responses to “Review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, season 4”

  1. If we cast our minds back a couple years we can remember when the creator of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” carefully explained how the show had a defined story arc: three seasons and done, she said. But as usually happens, money has won over art. It will be for someone else to judge when this show hits it’s best before date. I won’t be watching.

  2. My partner (who is a black man btw) loves this show. (He appreciates the nostalgia.) We both found it amusing; I found it funny the way Mrs Maisel tried to forgive, but couldn’t. She behaved more like her family than in previous seasons–content to keep her world small. What some have perceived Mrs Maisel as being a “Karen”–and the show as accepting it–I felt as the season progressed, Mrs Maisel works more and more against her own self-interest. I want to see her grow.

    • this Black man loves this show too. i was a child of the 60s so its partly the fashion and music, partly the city. . .but mostly i enjoy that these people – nutso and funny – are truly human. each knows when they are making a mistake but still do, in the ways we all do. i cant get enough of this show.

  3. I have enjoyed this series since the beginning. I couldn’t get through the first episode of Season 4. Susie losing Midge’s money with the deal breaker for me.

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