“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” just wrapped the eagerly-anticipated debut of its staggered fourth season following what seemed like an exceedingly long 26-month hiatus due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was also behind The WB’s insanely popular “Gilmore Girls,” the Amazon Prime series chronicles the life and hilarious times of impeccably-dressed 1950s/1960s-era divorcée housewife-turned-comedian Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). The latest season sees our heroine right where we left her at the end of season three – licking her wounds after being abruptly – and deservingly – left on an airport tarmac by former employer Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain).
Featuring razor-sharp, lightning-speed dialogue, a slew of lovable (albeit flawed) characters and arresting production design, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been dazzling audiences and critics alike since its premiere in 2017. (Don’t even get me started on the series’ tailored-to-perfection fashions, which are so sensational, costume designer Donna Zakowska just published a coffee table book on the subject!) As noted by The New York Times, “One of the charms of ‘Mrs. Maisel’ is the way it whooshes viewers back to a dream of 1950s New York — a city of flair and sass. The colors sing; the interiors gleam.” Indeed, the show is like a technicolor Big Apple dream come to life onscreen.
Unfortunately, the series left quite a bit to be desired with its most recent eight-episode offering, though, leading the Decider website to boldly assert that “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is “no longer marvelous.” Following Midge’s firing, the storyline comes full circle with Maisel (who remains wholly remorseless despite her unceremonious onstage outing of Shy) pounding the pavement looking for a place to perform her unique brand of comedy, ultimately landing in an illegal “jiggle joint” named The Wolford. The once-beloved leading lady has turned mean and vengeful in the process, shedding her typically upbeat, kind-hearted attitude for a hardened, entitled and incredibly snarky persona. Even the costumes have proved lackluster this time around, with the hats growing ever-taller and more ridiculous with each passing episode.
At least a couple of the show’s familiar locales make repeat performances. Morningside Heights’ handsome The Strathmore, with its grand canopied entrance, once again pops up as the Upper West Side building where Midge lives in a “classic six” with her parents and children. Artie’s Delicatessen, the beloved Broadway diner that closed in 2017, continues to masquerade as the Stage Deli, Susie Myerson’s (Alex Borstein) regular hangout. And La Bonbonniere, the West Village greasy spoon that serves as Midge and ex-husband Joel Maisel’s (Michael Zegen) go-to spot for serious conversations, returns, as well.