Miriam (“Midge”) Maisel wouldn’t accept capital to drive if not for a brace of blush active gloves. “Everything with Midge starts with an accessory,” her mother says in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”‘s second-ever episode. And she’s actually right: Through accessories, Midge transforms herself. While her best of necklaces, hats, brooches and scarves are as era-appropriate as they are accommodating altogether with her dresses and pants (see: very), they additionally acquaint us who she is and area she wants to go. Or added specifically, area she’s activity aback she abandons those baubles altogether.
Which is arguable aback you anticipate about who Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge Maisel is aback we aboriginal accommodated her. A 1950s housewife and mother who lives in a sprawling Upper West Side apartment, she defines herself by her abode alongside her bedmate Joel, played by Michael Zegen. (Who, by the way, is a man added than a few of us accept met in absolute life. Woof.)
An ambitious comic, Joel prioritizes his dreams and bureau aloft anybody else’s. He expects Midge to baker the brisket they’ll use to allurement the buyer of the Gaslight Café to ensure a appropriate set time. He relies on Midge’s all-encompassing addendum on his act (which turns out to be baseborn from Bob Newhart). And then, afterwards bombing at the Gaslight and panicking about not active the activity he foresaw for himself, he leaves Midge for his secretary. This becomes the agitator for Midge abiding to the arena of the abomination in a drunken, sad accompaniment to accomplish her own improvised actor set. There, she meets Alex Borstein’s Susie Meyer (who bound becomes her manager) and curtains into a allotment of herself she didn’t apperceive existed.
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But let’s fast advanced a bit. Afore abiding to the Gaslight date in the Amazon series’s aboriginal division finale, we see Midge, now single, blooper her bells rings aback on. Of course, this affairs for two reasons: First, because it signals her absorbed to accumulate with her conflicting bedmate Joel. (Who, like, don’t alike get me started on.) And second, because we never see her abrasion it again.
In anniversary of her boastful comedic comeback, she advisers long, atramentous glassy gloves to go with her atramentous glassy dress. And admitting her date name (Mrs. Maisel) actuality hinged on her conjugal status, her gloves burrow the ring. Instead, the alone accessories we see are the chaplet recommended by her mother.
Midge’s vulnerability can be abstinent not alone by the cardinal of accessories she puts on, but the ones she chooses. During her wedding, she advisers a white clothes with a gold bracelet, gold earrings and a gold watch (to go with her gold rings) which, arguably, serve as a blazon of armor. She’d assuredly becoming her badge (or, uh, metals) and acclimated accessories to draw absorption to that coveted gold ring.
Later that aforementioned episode, she accompanies Joel city cutting those pieces of jewelry, but now, with a bandage in her hair. It’s actuality that she begins her transformation from her commonly mid-century, Upper West Side artful to a attending about aloof for the apparel administration of a Fellini film. (This, too, is allegory her mother makes aback over-analyzing what led Midge bottomward the alley of burst marriages.)
In fact, for the absoluteness of the pilot, Midge is buried in accessories: She wears a hat while abyssal the cafeteria (she agency business), a hat aback allurement Lenny Bruce whether he loves actor (she agency business, aloof differently), a bandage aback she roams the Village afterwards actuality arrested and while advertent a approaching in ball (she’s a chargeless spirit who belongs amidst her kind). The alone time she’s accessory-less is aback aflame the admirers during her aboriginal actor set. Vulnerability, thy name is on-stage nudity.
Like abounding of us, accessories serve as a aals amid ourselves and cold, adamantine reality. In Midge’s case, it took the end of her alliance to re-establish her accord with the way she presents herself. Aback Joel leaves, she retreats to the Gaslight afterwards bubbler wine in the rain, abandoning her anorak mid-set; the aing day, she opens up about the absoluteness of her bearings with her best acquaintance Imogene, and wears alone her conditioning clothes and simple earrings while at the gym. Finally, in her admission as Mrs. Maisel, the comedian, she’s draped in atramentous and cutting her mother’s appropriate pearls, bringing her accomplished into her present, but after the aegis of a arresting bells ring, scarf, hat, brooch or hat. To reinvent, she reinvents, aesthetically.
“I consistently dress accurately for important meetings,” she tells her advocate in the additional season’s third episode, decked out in no beneath than one actor pieces, acquisitive to argue him to represent her. To accommodated with her advocate and afresh eventually to arise in court, she’s gone all-out, micromanaging her angel by donning as abounding pieces as possible.
After all, in court, we’re not meant to accommodated the absolute Midge — aloof like we’re not meant to accommodated the absolute Midge at the administration abundance area she works. During her shifts, she’s dressed up, clad in brooches, necklaces and intricate dresses with colossal bows. Afterwards, she’s aloof as anxiously put together, befitting her new accompany at arm’s breadth by alms annihilation actual about herself — and signaling as abundant with her shimmery shrugs and belts.
As Midge branches out in the workforce, she’s aggravating to amount out what she wants and who she is alfresco of actuality a wife, a mom and addition who grew up actuality told to accept by a specific set of gender-based norms. She’s aggravating to amount herself out as a performer, and aggravating to amount out the blazon of articulation she feels adequate all-embracing professionally and personally. And in the way anyone would adhere to the familiar, she clings to her accessories.
Because while it may accept seemed scariest to bear a set in one’s nightgown (before aflame the room), to arise in cloister in advanced of a ist adjudicator or to be confronted by one’s conflicting husband’s bedmate while alive the attic of the administration store, it’s scariest still to accept to your mom, to present yourself as-is and to do it all beneath your own name. Especially back in the end, that’s all any of us have.
Homepage photo: Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video via EPK.TV
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