Laced with wit and sass, set in a mid-century dream of upscale New York, and starring an actress who could easily pass for a third Gilmore girl, this winning comedy is a delight. At a time when women were supposed to be demure little housewives, confining their interests and passions to producing perfect dinners and obedient children, Midge is a firecracker -- albeit one who's doing her level best to fit into an Upper East Side mold. "Who gives a toast at her own wedding?" she asks the camera in her first words of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She does -- because despite a mother (Marin Hinkle) who's always criticizing her, and a husband who doesn't appreciate her, Midge knows her own worth. She knows she's funny, and she knows that when she gets on a stage in front of a microphone, people laugh -- and that doesn't happen for everybody.
It helps -- Midge's career, and our entertainment -- that she's starting off in an era in which comedy was big, and getting bigger; when comedy albums sold, and a chance to sit on Carson's couch could launch a funny person into stardom. Lenny Bruce makes an appearance, as does the Friar's Club, pot-smoking beatniks, grimy Greenwich Village clubs, and any number of other vintage delights. Best of all is Alex Borstein as Midge's determined manager, a women who sees something amazing in Midge, a star quality she herself lacks. "I've accepted that I'll always be alone," she tells Midge in her authentically miniscule, moldy Village apartment from atop her Murphy bed, her eyes burning fiercely. "But I don't want to be insignificant." A whole world of misfits will see themselves in Susie and Midge, two women who are underrated by everyone -- but themselves.