While other students crammed and studied for finals, two of my friends and I were busy watching season three of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I regret nothing. In a small study room in Ruth Williams, we cried, we laughed, we kvetched.
This season is the third in a series that follows Miriam (Midge) Maisel, a Jewish housewife turned stand-up comedian. She first discovers her talent in season one during a drunken club performance on the night Joel, her ex-husband, leaves her. There, she meets Susie, who later becomes her manager. With Susie’s encouragement, Midge begins to pursue comedy professionally. In season two, she and her family vacation to the Catskills, a popular Jewish local eat the time. While vacationing, she meets the handsome doctor Benjamin, who proposes and wins her father’s approval at the end of season two.
The first episode of season three picks up where season two left off, in the midst of heartbreak and betrayal as Midgere turns to her cheating scumbag of an ex- husband. My Jewish heart broke when she abandoned Benjamin.
In season three, Midge’s mother, Rose, tries to repair the damage done to both Benjamin’s heart and mine by acting as a matchmaker for him.This eventually backfires because Benjamin thinks that Midge is involved in this matchmaking. My friend Rachel and I could not stand it when he confronts Midge in a deli and leaves her life for good. After watching that scene, Rachel and I carry the pain of disappointment Jewish mothers across the country carry everyday.
Fortunately, Midge is reunited with Lenny Bruce, a fellow comedian, while she is on tour. They shared a lovely afternoon together that ended too soon and left us with more heart- break. In addition to Midge’s love life, other things did happen during season three. Her father, Abe, gets swept up in a young liberal movement that attempts to teach viewers about the complexities of politics during the mid-20th century. Abe’s unemployment forces him and his wife to move in with Joel’s parents, Moishe and Shirley. Considering they spawned Joel, you can imagine what living with Moishe and Shirley is like. This sets off a plot line as Rose, specifically, struggles to cope.
During this time, Susie is juggling trying to manage both Midge and Sophie Lennon, Midge’s nemesis. Susie claims she needs the extra cash, but actually has a gambling addiction. This puts a strain on her relationship with Midge, leaving viewers tense. At one point, Joel opens a club, but that is not important. Meanwhile, Midge is on tour with Shy Baldwin, an African-American gay singer. She opens each of his performances with a short stand-up routine that lacks some of the Jewish spirit we saw in season one. Through her charm and ruach, she befriends Shy’s band. Eventually she must learn about the rac- ism and homophobia that pervaded the mid-20th century. She struggles to understand this due to her privileged upbringing in New York City.
The show does a good job of presenting an overview of the bigotry in the mid-20th century, but fails to dive deeply into the issue. Midge’s naivety and just a little too much chutzpah is her downfall at the end of season three when she makes a move that upsets Shy and his manager, Reggie, while performing in Shy’s home- town. Although it was not as good as seasons one and two, season three still had us on the edge of our seats, schvitzing. I am excited to see what season four, which will be released in late 2020, will bring us. It will likely leave us asking, as all the seasons have done, “Where are her kids?!”