The Marvelous Mrs Maisel could be the new Mad Men. Here’s why

As Amazon Prime’s drama about a housewife turned stand-up enters its third series, our TV critic examines its merits

By Evie Prosser

Season Three of the Amazon Original The Marvelous Mrs Maisel dropped a few weeks ago, and aficionados of alternative comedy-drama rubbed their hands together with glee.

    It’s more of a comedy than the other series mentioned here, with several laugh-out-loud moments (not least Mrs Maisel’s stand-up routines,...  

Since launching in 2017 the show has garnered a loyal following among lovers of creatively exciting, artsy boxed sets. If you enjoyed shows like Mad Men, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad for their deft storytelling and intelligent staging, there’s a high chance you’ll be similarly enthused by The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

The fundamental difference between Maisel and these other shows is the lack of a deep-seated misanthropy. The Sopranos and Breaking Bad were both extremely violent, with regular bloodletting and scenes from which even the strongest-stomached viewer recoiled.

Mad Men wasn’t so obviously violent, but it nonetheless had an innate darkness. Remember when Don Draper/Dick Whitman’s half-brother Adam hanged himself in Season One? Or Lane Pryce’s suicide in Season Five? These are just two moments where the basic sorrow at the heart of the series comes to the fore.

Mrs Maisel, meanwhile, is essentially a happy show. It’s more of a comedy than the other series mentioned here, with several laugh-out-loud moments (not least Mrs Maisel’s stand-up routines, which are genuinely very funny). The staging often resembles a good old-fashioned farce, with exits and entrances managed to brilliant effect, and the performances delivered with pitch-perfect timing.

A standout performer is Monk star Tony Shalhoub. Playing the protagonist’s father, Abe (an eccentric mathematics professor, which suits Shalhoub perfectly), he embodies the very essence of the show: funny, clever and extraordinarily slick. You could almost imagine that you’re watching Maisel live at the theatre rather than on your flat-screen TV at home.

Here’s the basic premise: Miriam (“Midge”) Maisel is a housewife whose businessman husband wants to make it as a stand-up. It’s obvious from the get-go that he’s not good enough, and after bombing at a downtown New York comedy club he announces in a temper that he wants to escape his humdrum life. He leaves her for his secretary.

Midge responds to the breakdown of her marriage by accidentally launching her own stand-up career, first in a series of drunken rambles when she takes to the stage in a local club, and then in a more focused manner with the guidance of wannabe agent, Susie.

Where the show gets really interesting, and where the comparison with Mad Men and its ilk seems most justified, is in the development of other characters. All of the main characters get their own arc, and the subplots are every bit as compelling as the central narrative. Witness Abe’s transition from college professor to beatnik in Season Three, or his wife Rose’s brilliantly played rediscovery of her youth in Paris in Season Two, as two prime cases in point.

    Mrs Maisel shows every sign of shaping up to be the next small-screen icon (it’s already won 16 Emmys).  

It’s the same in Mad Men. While Don Draper is our hero, the one whose destiny we're meant to most care about, we’re just as interested in the fortunes of Roger Sterling, Betty Draper/Francis and Peggy Olson. Heck, by the end of the series we’re even invested in the wellbeing of Don’s arch-rival Ted Chaough.

If the mark of a brilliant long-running TV drama is that it manages to be both the story of one person and an effective ensemble piece, Mrs Maisel shows every sign of shaping up to be the next small-screen icon (it’s already won 16 Emmys). It’s been getting stronger and more confident with each new season as the writers show greater willingness to play with form and innovate in their storytelling.

Then there’s the added magic, the X-factor that Mad Men had in spades, where even the unintended stuff becomes invested with meaning. Just look at the weird and whacky Mad Men fan theories to have emerged about the show since it first aired in 2007.

Perhaps that’s when the creators of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel will know they’ve truly achieved television immortality: when the internet is full of rumours and conspiracy theories about the series. It’ll need to run for a few more seasons before that happens. But with news that Season Four has been booked, there’s every reason to think the show has what it takes.

And until then, we can enjoy watching a programme that’s already at the very top of its game.

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 6 January 2020

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Every one of David Bowie’s studio albums rated

You may also enjoy: Five reasons why The Good Fight is the smartest thing on TV right now

Jobs currently available

New job
Sector: Creative Arts and Design
Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 per annum
Location: Kelvedon
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909686
About the role

Are you an experienced Designer looking for your next opportunity?

Are you proficient on a MAC?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Kelvedon.

Your duties will include:

  • Producing good, eye-catching design concepts
  • Striving for creative output that is to the highest standards in execution and application
  • Upholding best practice ideas and aiming to consistently deliver the best design output
  • Good problem-solving and contribution towards concept idea generation
  • Proficient Mac operating and creative software skills
  • Strong design and visualisation ability
  • Contributing to creative team development with inspiration, insight and design trends found in the wider creative industry
  • Good communication skills and able to articulate work and ideas to the Creative and Client Services teams
  • Supporting the delivery of pitches and presentations
  • Well-rounded contribution to all design projects

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday 09.00 – 17.30.

If you are interested then apply today!

Read more
New job
Small Plant Engineer / Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £20,000 - £26,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909734
About the role

Just Recruitment is seeking a Small Plant Maintenance Engineer to join a company on the outskirts of Halstead, Essex.

  • Due to the company’s location, you must be able to drive to be considered for this position.
  • Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am-4.30pm - Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.
  • Working as part of a maintenance team, primarily in the workshop, to ensure all site equipment (handheld and small tools) remain serviceable, safe and functioning correctly. (Knowledge and experience of two-stroke engines will be a distinct advantage as would welding/fabricating experience.)
  • Assisting with preventative and reactive maintenance when required on all machinery and production-related equipment.
  • Carrying out other tasks and duties as reasonably directed by your Foreman and Line Manager.

Key skills and experience required:

  • Experienced mechanic with a good all-round knowledge of mechanical and electrical principles.

The company will consider a graduate/college leaver with a genuine interest in Mechanics / Engineering, as they can offer in-house training and guidance.

A competitive salary is on offer with a wide range of additional benefits.

Performance-based yearly bonus scheme, with 50% paid in December and 50% in March.

23 days paid holiday plus the statutory Bank holidays.

Health insurance policy that contributes towards dentist/optician costs, physiotherapy etc. Recently-refurbished canteen serving subsidised healthy meals produced by our experienced chef.

Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am–4.30pm – Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.

Read more
New job
Mechanical, Electrical & Trim (MET) Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Competitive depending on experience
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909711
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an experienced Mechanical, Electrical and Trim (MET) Technician on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Sudbury.

You will be keen to get involved with all aspects of the Bodyshop.


  • To strip and fit damaged panels, interior trim and mechanical/electrical parts
  • To perform all work assigned in a timely manner, economically and to company and manufacturers standards
  • Assess faults
  • Job cards and assessment reports
  • Accessing and removing mechanical and electrical components
  • Removing and fitting non-structural body panels
  • Removing and re-installing mechanical and electrical systems
  • Vehicle valeting
  • To operate equipment and carry out all duties in a safe manner
  • To maintain equipment, protective clothing and work areas in a clean, tidy and safe condition
  • To maintain a high level of competence for the work to be undertaken by undergoing on-site training, attending courses at suppliers and manufacturers and reading technical bulletins as required


  • ATA or NVQ is essential

Personal qualities:

  • Reliable friendly and willing to continue gaining training to keep up with the latest technology
Read more
New job
Semi-Experienced Estimator
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909869
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Semi-Experienced Estimator on behalf of a company based in Earls Colne, Essex.

Your main responsibilities:

  • To contact the clients, architects and engineers either by phone or email to obtain accurate information about their precast concrete flooring and/or stair requirement.
  • To produce accurate quotations that reflect the clients’ requirements.
  • To liaise with colleagues within the Sales and Estimating department regarding the project in order to increase the likelihood of securing the project.

Candidate requirements:

  • 1-2 years of experience within an Estimator position essential.
  • A good understanding of the Construction industry.
  • Additional knowledge of software such as Bluebeam and CAD software such as Autodesk is desirable although full training can be provided if necessary.
  • Outstanding time management skills with the ability to prioritise accordingly.
  • A confident and professional telephone manner is essential.

Working Monday - Friday, 40 hour week.

Free parking is available.

23 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Read more
New job
HR Administrator - FTC
Sector: Recruitment and HR
Salary: £20,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Witham
Role: Part Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 909861
About the role

Are you an experienced HR Administrator looking for your next role?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an HR Administrator to join a company on a part-time basis (20-25 hours per week) to cover maternity.

Your duties will include:

  • Assist with the recruitment process, including advertising job vacancies and arranging candidate interviews.
  • Draft and send offer letters and contracts (new starter induction packs).
  • Provide the first point of contact and excellent customer service.
  • Resolve absence, holiday queries and first level benefits queries.
  • Process leaver information ensuring all relevant information is prepared, processed and issued on time.
  • Assist/distribute company announcements and ensure communication across the group.
  • Manage department e-mail inbox.
  • Assist with payroll queries.
  • Maintain and establish accurate e-filing and storage systems in line with GDPR legislation.
  • Respond to specific requests for information from internal and external clients at all levels.
  • Managing employee data such as maintain the staff database to include the input of new starters, leavers, holidays and sickness records, probation reviews.
  • Managing internal employee recognition scheme.
  • Attend and participate in the Staff and Works Committee meetings.
  • Organise employee training.
  • Maintain Temporary worker onboarding process.
  • Review company Suggestion Boxes.
  • Maintain organisational charts.
  • Assist the HR Manager with other duties in line with candidate’s skills and experience.

You will have experience in working with confidential information and in an HR environment, as well as have good analytical skills.

This is a part-time, contract position working 20-25 hours per week.

Interested? Apply today!

Read more