Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke called “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” “the gift that keeps on giving” during her opening remarks at the Television Critics Association press tour Saturday. Given its 14 nominations for the 2018 Emmys, it’s hard not to see her point.
During a panel with creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, executive producer Dan Palladino, and stars Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein, Tony Shalhoub, and Marin Hinkle, not much was revealed about what we might expect Season 2 to cover, except that the repercussions from the implosion of the Maisel marriage and Midge’s discovery of stand-up comedy will continue to spread through the lives of those around her.
“Season 2 is big — sorry, Jen,” Sherman-Palladino joked, noting that “in general, we feel like we got, for the first time in our career, the support from the brass and the actors we needed to go big.”
Sherman-Palladino credited the quality of the show’s production, from the sets to the costumes to the hair and makeup, with the fact that they began working on the show very soon after the cancellation of the HBO/Martin Scorsese series “Vinyl.” As she joked, “We walked down the street and everyone who looked upset wearing a ‘Vinyl’ sweatshirt, we grabbed.”
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That production value was seen in a dazzling long clip from Season 2 that Amazon played before the panel, as we see Midge’s current state of employment — as a switchboard operator at the department store she started working at in Season 1. The new gig is a demotion for her, but as she zooms her chair around the other switchboard operators, it’s clear she once again has found her groove.
Midge’s path to success won’t likely be an easy one, though: As Brosnahan noted, at the end of the first season “we left Midge in a pretty triumphant moment — she had finally arrived as a comedian… Good things can’t last long.”
One thing Sherman-Palladino didn’t want to promise was a great deal of diversity, simply due to the nature of the time period being depicted in the show. “It’s a tricky thing, because as writers we want the diversity as well,” she said. “[But] doing the show in 1959, you find out how divided things were… It’s interesting to try to find that balance and represent a 1959 that is true to what 1959 is, because you don’t want to pretend that there were no problems and that these issues didn’t exist.”
When asked about the pressure that comes with following up the success of Season 1, Sherman-Palladino noted that the expectations she was facing had nothing to do with awards — it had everything to do with the caliber of talent they’d enlisted. “When we got into bed with the people we got into bed with, the pressure was there,” she said.