After being fired as Shy Baldwin’s warm-up act at the close of Season 3, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is thinking big in the much-anticipated fourth round of the Amazon comedy.
As the new season opens Friday, its 1960 and Upper East Side housewife-turned-stand-up comic Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is done with being an opening act and tells manager Susie (Alex Borstein) to get her a gig with total creative freedom. The only trouble is, the one they find might not go over so well with her family.
Meanwhile, Midge invites parents Abe and Rose (Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle) to move in with her but the parent/child dynamic soon rears its head. And business booms for ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) at the Button Club but his turbulent relationship with girlfriend Mei (Stephanie Hsu) and his mom Shirley’s (Caroline Aaron) matchmaking give him agita.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having pushed production back, the Amy Sherman-Palladino/Dan Palladino-produced series returns more than two years after the Season 3 drop. And Zegen, himself a fan of the series, could not wait to get back with his castmates.
He gives particularly high marks to Brosnahan, his TV ex-wife, for not only for being a total professional on set but also for thriving in what he calls the “hardest job on the show.”
“She’s practically in every scene,” Zegen said, “and she has so many lines to learn. And with this show, there’s no improvisation. You have to know your lines to a tee. You’ve got to know if you say ‘that’ instead of ‘the.’ It’s very specific and I guess it’s just the rhythm of the dialogue and the flow of it.
“You know, Amy and Dan don’t give us a script until they feel like it’s 100% ready,” he continued. “That’s why there’s very little rewrites after we get a script. Yeah, this isn’t one of those shows where you get the gist of the scene and you come in and you kind of make up your own stuff. They do not like that.”
But, he says, the writing of Team Palladino allows for each character to shine, something for which Zegen is grateful.
“Everybody’s a comedian,” he said, “whether they’re actually doing stand-up like Kevin Pollak (who plays Joel’s father, Moishe) or not. You know, everybody’s just so funny, everybody’s so quick, and we really enjoy our time together.
“I’m doing a play right now,” he continued, “and a whole bunch of the cast came to see it and we had dinner afterwards. And I was just kind of reveling in it and thinking to myself how lucky I am to work with these people on a daily basis.”