The marvelous ladies of Mrs. Maisel are back for another turn in the spotlight, but season three may be their most trying yet.
In the latest chapter of Amazon Prime Video’s original comedy series, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie (Alex Borstein) hit the road with singer Shy Baldwin (guest star Leroy McClain) where they quickly discover that life on tour with Shy is glamorous but humbling. Soon, they learn a lesson about show business they’ll never forget. Meanwhile, Midge’s estranged husband, Joel (Michael Zegen), struggles to support Midge while pursuing his own dreams following their surprising season two finale hookup.
“We’re really stoked. We had a really good time shooting this season,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel herself, Brosnahan, tells ET’s Keltie Knight. “Although, it feels like a blur. We can’t really remember what happened!”
“It was growing pains in some ways, both for us and the characters, but those are usually the best experiences,” Borstein says, elaborating further about Midge and Susie’s collective journey this season. “Susie and Midge have to do a lot of growing together and apart in this season.”
“We were thrown into a lot of new situations this season,” Brosnahan echoes. “A lot of new places and new audiences from different places, and that was true for us and the characters.”
Since Mrs. Maisel first debuted in 2017, it has captured everyone’s hearts right from the get-go, earning critical acclaim, fan love and a slew of awards — including three Golden Globes and 17 Primetime Emmys. What is it about this particular show, set in the late 1950s, that’s struck a chord — its “secret sauce,” if you will — with audiences in America and abroad?
“Honestly, at the end of the day, we talk a lot about how we’re here in this moment when there’s so much good TV. And what’s cool about being on this show is that there’s so many different ways in for different people — now all I’m thinking about is secret sauce!” Brosnahan says with a laugh.
“I think the chemistry between a lot of the characters is what’s special,” Borstein says. “You’ve got it with Rachel and Tony [Shalhoub], and you’ve got it with Tony and Marin [Hinkle], and Rachel and I, and there’s interesting plus-minuses with everyone which makes sparks fly.”
“I love hearing from different people what their ways in have been,” Brosnahan adds. “You know, there’s people who relate to Tony and Marin’s characters — the parents. And there’s people who relate to Midge. People are so frustrated by Midge but they love watching her. People who feel more like a Susie. People who feel like Michael Zegen, who feel like a Joel.”
“Well, most people all agree on hating Joel,” Borstein quips, prompting her co-star to agree with a laugh, “That’s true. Poor Joel! He is [more redeemable this season. He’s pursuing his own dream, but people do forget that he blew up everyone’s lives [in season one]. People talk about how Midge blew up everyone’s lives but really, we have to remember it was Joel at the end of the day.”
Brosnahan notes that the sophomore season of Mrs. Maisel was a reality check for Midge and Susie, who embarked on the road on their own for the first time. But, as the actress hints, this experience for the two women is on another level.
“These guys went through a lot of growing pains last season, Midge and Susie. They went on the mini road for the first time and they got to know each other really well in a short period of time and that involves its own kind of growing pains,” the Emmy-winning actress says. “It’s a different ball game that they’re playing. Being on tour with Shy is huge and is a huge stepping stone, and both of them also have other things going on in their lives — in their personal and professional lives. And those things will be at odds with each other at times.”
“And they’re both hungry,” Borstein notes, “and like, ‘I want more. I want more. I want more.’ But can they handle more?”
While it appeared Midge would be moving on with her new love, Manhattan doctor Benjamin Ettenberg (Zachary Levi), after getting engaged, that didn’t quite pan out that way. In an impulsive move, Midge seemingly chose Joel in the end right before heading out on tour — though how long their reconciliation lasts remains a major season three query. When asked if Midge gets closer to figuring out a balance between finding love and being successful, Brosnahan shared her insightful take.
“It’s one of the big questions, you know? And I think people in a lot of different careers, but certainly in show business, are faced with. And Midge has made a decision at the end of season two that she feels like you can’t. That’s what she says. ‘I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life. I’m deciding to take that path. I realize that now, that’s the only way to have the kind of career I want to have,'” she says.
“She learned through the course of season two that your personal life suffers and that that’s always going to be the sacrifice that she has to make. I don’t know if I believe that that’s true,” Brosnahan observes, “but there is, and we’ve talked about this a lot, there’s no such thing as balance, really.”
“I think the cruel thing that the world does, that society does, is present that expectation to women. That like, you know, that’s one of your questions: Is is she going to be able to have a love life, too? And it’s like, is that key? Is that important?” Borstein asks. “Who cares? What does that mean? Can you be fulfilled romantically in other ways? Can you find romance in your career? Can you — the feeling you get on stage can be better than any intimate relationship. It is an intimate relationship, it’s just sometimes with 3,000 people in a room. But yeah, I think sometimes the question’s a disservice to women in particular — that you might even need that.”
“Yeah, that you might need to be pursuing ‘having it all,'” Brosnahan agrees. “Maybe that’s an illusion and maybe that’s OK.”
The new season of Mrs. Maisel also features returning stars Kevin Pollak, Caroline Aaron and Jane Lynch, while This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown makes his debut as Reggie, Shy’s manager, after Brosnahan personally requested he appear on the series. Other notable stars playing new characters are Liza Weil as Carole Keen, Paul Adelstein as a member of Midge’s family Oscar Lehman, Cary Elwes as a theater vet Gavin Hawk and Stephanie Hsu as Mei. For more on Brown’s character, watch ET’s interview below.
The third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel streams Friday, Dec. 6 on Amazon Prime Video.
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