De­ci­sions in Season 2 of ‘The Mar­velous Mrs. Maisel’

Star-Telegram (Sunday) - - TV STAR PLUS - By Ge­orge Dickie

It’s one thing to tell jokes and get laughs. It’s quite an­other to make them at the ex­pense of a very pow­er­ful per­son who can crush your ca­reer, as neo­phyte stand-up comic Midge Maisel finds out at the out­set of Season 2 of “The Mar­velous Mrs. Maisel” this week.

Drop­ping Wed­nes­day, Dec. 5, on Ama­zon, the new season finds ‘50s Up­perWest Side house­wife-turned-fun­ny­woman Midge (Golden Globe and Emmy win­ner Rachel Bros­na­han) com- ing to the grad­ual re­al­iza­tion that she’s ticked off the wrong per­son, So­phie Lennon (Jane Lynch, who earned an Emmy nod for the role), fol­low­ing her pub­lic take­down of the com­edy icon at the end of Season 1. This is a de­vel­op­ment not lost on her wor­ried man­ager/side­kick Susie (Emmy win­ner Alex Borstein).

As the grind of do­ing standup wears on Midge, the pres­sure to tell her par­ents Abe and Rose (Tony Shal­houb, Marin Hin­kle) about her new life in the wake of her sep­a­ra­tion from hus­band Joel (Michael Ze­gen) mounts and her de­ci­sions have a rip­ple ef­fect on all concerned.

“You’ll see some of the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of those choices that are made,” Borstein of­fers. “The show re­ally is this woman Midge Maisel knock­ing down domi­noes con­stantly and you watch it spread like wild­fire and you see the ram­i­fi­ca­tions and that’s one of them. That’s one domino she knocked down that we have to then deal with. And how can we deal with it?”

“Susie, I think is ter­ri­bly concerned be­cause she knows what it means,” adds Bros­na­han of the po­ten­tial war brew­ing with So­phie. “Midge, be­ing so new to this world and that par­tic­u­lar brand of enemy, doesn’t yet know by the time we leave her in Season 1 what that could mean. And cer­tainly she will learn more about that in Season 2.”

With a re­sume that in­cludes a lot of drama (“Man­hat­tan,” “House of Cards,” “The Black- list”) but lit­tle com­edy, Bros­na­han found her­self wad­ing into un­fa­mil­iar wa­ters to play Midge. She says the ex­pe­ri­ence of do­ing a comedic role has been “si­mul­ta­ne­ously hor­ri­fy­ing and ex­tremely re­ward­ing — both equally, at the same time” but adds, “It’s a dream I didn’t know I had, to work on a show like this, to play a char­ac­ter like this.

“In so many ways, not just to be able to stretch in this brand new di­rec­tion and stretch some comedic mus­cles that I wasn’t sure I had,” she adds with a laugh, “but also to play such a fully three-di­men­sional, com­pli­cated woman, which shouldn’t be some­thing that is novel but is in a lot of ways.”

And she gets to walk in the shoes of a stand-up comic, which is some­thing she says she avoided when prepar­ing for the role.

“I just was so afraid that if I tried and likely, in­evitably fell flat on my face, I’d be so trau­ma­tized that I wouldn’t be able to go down this jour­ney with this char­ac­ter who’s fall­ing in love with stand-up,” Bros­na­han ex­plains. “And for­tu­nately the writ­ing is so bril­liant that I didn’t think it was a nec­es­sary part of prepa­ra­tion.

“Midge is a woman ... who doesn’t start out a stand-up. She’s not a stand-up,” she con­tin­ues. “She’s just a whip-smart, hi­lar­i­ous house­wife and so we’ve had this re­ally lovely par­al­lel jour­ney. We’ve got­ten to learn to­gether.”

Rachel Bros­na­han (left) and Alex Borstein star in “The Mar­velous Mrs. Maisel,” which be­gins stream­ing its sec­ond season Wed­nes­day on Ama­zon.

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