After sweeping this year’s Emmy Awards, Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” debuts its long-awaited second season this week, continuing the adventures of 1950s mother and housewife Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) as she picks herself up after being dumped by her cheating husband and discovers an unexpected new career in standup comedy.
ET Canada spoke with three stars of the show about the new season, with Tony Shalhoub (Abe Weissman), Marin Hinkle (Rose Weissman) and Michael Zegan (Joel Maisel) sharing their impressions of season 2.
For example, the new season will give viewers new insight into the characters of all three actors — which is particularly true for Rose when she makes the bold move of leaving her family and moving to Paris.
“I think for Rose, clearly the combustion of the first season had that ripple effect that you see by her going to Paris, and up and leaving all that she was comfortable with, but at this point is not working the way she wants,” says Hinkle of her character.
“She doesn’t have a relationship with her daughter that is making her feel good, nor her relationship with her husband,” she adds. “Everything about Rose has been sort of turned upside down. I saw a side of her that I never imagined when I signed onto the show. And I guess what’s extraordinary about that and interesting for me as an actor is like, we all have that, we all have these surprising things that happen to us. It allows us to have the joy of discovery each day, which is similar to the joy of getting the new episodes.”
Rose’s decision, notes Shalhoub, leads Abe to have an epiphany of his own. “Abe has gotten a little too comfortable in his life, and lost sight of how much he really values his wife and his family,” he explains. “And in a way, as difficult as Midge’s breakup with her husband has been, it’s forced Abe to re-evaluate and take stock in trying to figure out where his marriage is now, where his relationships with his children are now.”
As Hinkle points out, Rose’s decision to restart her life in Paris isn’t all that different from Midge launching her fledgling comedy career.
“I think Rose has this part of her that is why the apple didn’t fall that far from the tree in terms of Miriam,” Hinkle tells ET Canada. “I think that there’s a bit of Miriam in Rose, and there’s part of Rose that does feel like she did let go of a much more interesting way of developing than purely being a mother and wife. I think she put some of her independent streak aside as she got older, as many of the women in the 1950s during that time did.”
She adds: “It is kind of incredible, that the way she dealt with it wasn’t just to say, ‘I’m mad at you all,’ and sort of huff and puff, but that she literally took her clothes and went overseas. But I loved how unconventional that was, and how much it shakes everything up. Her marriage was really struggling, and certainly her anger was pretty severe. I think it’s great that she did such a bold move.”
For Hinkle, the experience of filming in Paris was every bit as magical as it will appear to viewers who watch those scenes. “It was like, honestly, ever corner we turned, we were just astounded by the beauty,” she admits. “I was in love with every moment of it. It would be hard for me to tell you about one place we shot where I didn’t want to say, ‘Can I live here?’”
Although it as Joel Maisel’s affair with his secretary that resulted in Midge discovering her gift for comedy, Zegen says that when we see the characters in season two, it’s Midge who’s forging ahead with newfound confidence while Joel is the one who seems lost.
“He’s growing up. He was acting like a little child in the first season, cheating on her obviously, and he’s a character who’s still trying to find his voice,” says Zegen, “whereas Midge has already found this new voice of hers and this clear career path. He’s still trying to find his.”
While Joel was positioned as something of a villain in the first season, viewers shouldn’t be surprised to discover their opinions of Midge’s philandering ex may soften. “We’re always finding out new things about our characters,” says Zegen. “The first season was only eight episodes, and really focused on Midge’s journey in her standup career. Without giving too much away,” he adds, the new season will also show viewers “just how much Joel loves and respects Midge.”
For fans of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — which comes from “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel Palladino — the quirky characters hearken back to the eccentric townsfolk who populated Stars Hollow.
Yet in a show populated by quirky characters, Abe is definitely among the quirkiest — and that’s how Shalhoub likes it. “So often when you get into a TV series, you quite often can get painted into a corner in a way. You serve a function in the larger story, and series characters tend to only get a chance to play one or two colours, and it’s somewhat limiting,” says the former “Monk” star.
“I don’t think there is a character in this show that isn’t quirky and weird,” he adds. “Even Miriam is kind of an oddball, and she’s a perfect kind of product of the quirkiness of Rose and Abe. Even Joel, to a certain degree, and Joel’s parents, certainly are kind of out of the ordinary. I love the fact that being the case, Dan and Amy have created a little universe that is populated by weirdos.”
The second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” debuts on Wednesday, Dec. 5.