For five seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we have come to know the men in Miriam “Midge” Maisel’s life as she navigated the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy from the backdrop of the late 50s and early 60s.
Her professor father, Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub), confused ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen), and garment-maker father-in-law Moishe Maisel (Kevin Pollak), were not often in her corner when it came to her outlandish career choice for an Upper West Side New York housewife and mother of two.
Frankly, they didn’t get it, despite her expert comic timing; when the roller coaster took a downturn, her father and father-in-law often urged her to call it quits.
It is time for the fifth and final season of this aspirational show that inspired and nudged us to be a little more like Midge Maisel and pursue our dreams.
Each character goes through a tremendous evolution by the end of season 5, and while at first resisting Midge’s extremely difficult career choice, some of them actually embrace it.
Along this “glorious ride,” they support her guts and gumption to break glass ceilings and permeate the so-called “boys club.” And she does it on her own terms – with major support from her crusty manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) and the legendary comic, Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby), after being knocked down many times along the way.
Around the globe, from Manhattan to Bombe, the viewers are having difficulty saying farewell to the magic created by the husband-and-wife duo Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Dan Palladino.
This is also true for the cast and crew, who gathered at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, April 14, to celebrate the final season by ringing the opening bell.
Everyone there expressed immense appreciation for a special show that they called “lightning in a bottle” and tearful regret about saying farewell.
Sherman-Palladino, who created Mrs. Maisel and Gilmore Girls, said she is thrilled to live in New York City, “where the greatest cast, crews, and smartest people are the center of my universe. I love you cast. Every day I see you is wonderful and also horrifying because it is one less day that I know I will see you.”
She added that she is still processing having to say goodbye with “therapy and deep breathing. We made the decision to end the show in the 5th season, and we all jumped on board. We are very proud of our cast and crew who came through with gang-busters.”
Her husband, writer, director, and producer Daniel Palladino said, “Everyone involved in the show is sad to say goodbye and reluctant to leave, which is very touching and gratifying.”
Daniel Palladino said they are extremely proud that their funny and entertaining show also inspired people far and wide to make their mark on the world, despite the obstacles.
“A message that Amy and I have always put out there on our projects is that young people, especially young women, should not be afraid to be considered nerdy or an oddball,” he said. “It is a message sort of hidden in the entertainment and jokes in Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but it is definitely there.”
Read on for more lively banter from The Men of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the journeys their memorable characters have taken over the years, how they will stay in close contact, and the exciting projects that await them.
Monsters and Critics: Saying goodbye to something you love is so difficult. What will you miss most about your characters and the show?
Michael Zegen: I miss these two guys every day. [He said, pointing to Tony and Kevin]
Tony Shalhoub: The shoes. [He joked]. The clothes, the props, the whole thing, the environments that we worked in, the sets, the crew. We miss every piece of it.
Kevin Pollak: I miss Tony as Abe. He makes me laugh really hard.
Michael Zegen: And I miss Tony’s mustache.
Kevin Pollak: Yeah, RIP.
M&C: What has it been like saying goodbye? You said goodbye in November, and now you’re together again for the premiere and press interviews, but you are soon parting again.
Kevin Pollak: We knew from the beginning, at least we were told by our fearless leader, if we’re lucky, this is a five-season show. Every time we would win more Emmys, I would ask, “Are you sure just five?” But then, when we started shooting in January, we definitely knew. So, we had January to November to sort of make peace with it. For me personally, it was great working and celebrating everyday processes. There was no bitterness or sadness. The final goodbye and hugs and stuff, maybe. But what a joy-filled ride.
Michael Zegen: We have been seeing each other through all of the events that we’ve done afterward, even after we ended filming. So, it doesn’t really feel like it’s over quite yet. It’s coming, but it hasn’t, or it won’t feel over because I feel like we’re going to come back again to these characters at some point.
M&C: What have you heard?
Michael Zegen: I’ve heard absolutely nothing, but everything gets rebooted.
Kevin Pollak: We have a text thread as the Maisel Family; in fact, that’s the name of the text thread. We keep in contact all throughout our non-working days, and we have for several years. I think that’s one of the reasons that it doesn’t really end. We love each other!
M&C: Are you happy with the last episode?
Kevin Pollak: I am thrilled. Again, I say this heavily. I think they do ‘stick the landing;’ I really do. I think there’s so much pressure. I also think that there are parts of it that will be polarizing in terms of creative choices on how to ‘stick the landing.’ Can Amy and Dan do wrong at this point?
Tony Shalhoub: No, they can’t, they can’t. The scripts were fantastic. They seem to keep outdoing themselves every year. The fifth season is, from what I’ve seen, the best we’ve done. It’s really, really strong.
Michael Zegen: As both of you said, the scripts were phenomenal. We also did things a little bit differently this year. There are a lot of new twists. But, yeah, I think they stuck the landing, and I was happy to see Joel’s ending.
Kevin Pollak: It was great. It was really great.
M&C: Talk about the evolution, how Abe, Moishe, and Joel evolved from the first to the last season. What things that you picked up on? There was a lot of growth. Abe goes from being a professor to working at The Village Voice.
Tony Shalhoub: Oh, yeah, the arc, I think of all of the characters, is really, really broad. For my character, I think Abe kind of had to go reinvent himself a number of times in just five short seasons. Just on a career level, that was one thing, but on a personal level as a husband, as a father, as a man of his time, really, really a point in the middle there where he’s humbled, truly humbled. And then a point where he really is completely transformed by the end of the fifth season.
Kevin Pollak: Yes, I would say that is true about Abe, as well, having watched all the episodes in the final season. Abe may have evolved in terms of position personally and professionally, but also emotionally regarding Midge. He’s probably come further than anyone.
M&C: I love the fact that Moishe and Shirley and so many people in Midge’s life tell her, “You won’t be able to do it.” The naysayers are filling her with doubts. Then despite all of that, with Susie, Lenny, and Joel in her corner, she just goes for it.
Kevin Pollak: Yes, this is a great inspiration for everyone. Quite frankly, there’s no better investment than the one you make in yourself and in your own path and beliefs, and goals.
Tony Shalhoub: Certainly, in terms of being in the entertainment industry, there are so many roadblocks that are thrown up, and there’s so much negativity. There are so many people, as you mentioned, saying it’s too hard, you can’t do it. Yes, anyone but you. And then to see this character who’s so centered and just so indefatigable, to see her rise as she does is super gratifying.
Kevin Pollak: Yes, and then add that she’s a woman from 1959 through the mid-1960s. The chances are even slimmer in terms of her succeeding.
Tony Shalhoub: Penetrating the Boys Club of Comedy.
Kevin Pollak: Yes. I think that speaks to that throughout the series and certainly in the fifth season, what she’s actually up against.
M&C: I know you’re doing a Monk movie for Peacock next. How exciting is that?
Tony Shalhoub: It’s pretty great. It’s been a long hiatus of 14 years. What’s that great line of The Eagles? “We never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation.” That’s kind of how I feel.
Michael Zegen: See? I’m telling you, everything gets rebooted.
M&C: What’s next for you?
Kevin Pollak: Mikey’s got a new series.
Michael Zegen: I’m doing this new series for HBO based on The Penguin character from the most recent Batman movie. Colin Farrell is incredible. It’s very different from Maisel. It’s almost uncomfortably different, but it’s wonderful nonetheless.
Kevin Pollak: I’m working on a movie with Michael Keaton and Mila Kunis called Goodrich right now and a couple of other things that I can’t talk about. But, yes, we’re workers; we work.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 5 is streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes on Fridays and the final episode airing on Friday, May 26. Seasons 1-4 stream on Prime Video.