What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

by | Mar 11, 2020 | Collaborative Divorce

It’s not often you get sucked into a TV show set in the 1950s where the main character leaves her husband and children to focus on her own career. But that’s one of the main story lines in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Prime Video’s wildly popular show that premiered March 17, 2017 and recently released its third season.

I like so many things about this show.

First, the quirky main character, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is funny and original. In the way that she’s not so into parenting, I kind of want to dislike her, but I can’t. And then I play tug-of-war with my own emotions about whether I think she should stay with her husband Joel, with whom she continues to have great chemistry and friendship, or leave him and make room for her great new self.

As a family law attorney, I applaud the brazenness of the story, which does not apologize for a 1950s divorce. But as a woman in the middle of my life, I know that was probably unrealistic for the times.

In season two, Midge does experience some backlash at the Catskills resort they always spent summers, when she can no longer lead the swimsuit competition because she’s no longer married. It’s a humiliating, but realistic, situation.

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Rachel Brosnahan | Greg2600 [CC BY-SA]

Still, viewers can’t help but admire her, like her, want to be her. And by the end of season three (SPOILER!), she remains very much alone – reconciling the idea that she might have to be alone in order to fulfill her career dreams.
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Cast of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Peabody Awards [CC BY-SA]

I have a hard time accepting that talented women can’t have both successful relationships and successful careers. But is there a truth lurking beneath this assertion?

What I love most about this show and its commentary on the complicated nature of all marriages, is the fluidity it accepts and demands from a relationship. In season three, we see Midge and Joel in court to finalize their divorce – and they get along so surprisingly well, that the judge does not want to grant it. It’s as if the judge expects a divorce to come from utter hatred and an inability to be civil to one another.

Because I am such a champion of Collaborative Divorce, I know this is not the only way. It’s reassuring to see such a popular show depict divorce in an amicable and, dare I say it, human way.

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