Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan defends Midge's parenting: 'I have a lot to say'
How did The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stars Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein almost end up as shark bait while filming in Miami? Is Midge Maisel a bad mom? How will Abe and Rose navigate life when he finds himself without both of his jobs?
The cast revealed all Wednesday when they stopped by the SiriusXM studios for a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Town Hall, talking everything season 3 — even hats and, interestingly, Jersey Shore.
Ahead of Friday’s launch of the third season of Amazon Prime’s acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series, Brosnahan (Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel), Tony Shalhoub (Abe Weissman), Borstein (Susie Myerson), Marin Hinkle (Rose Weissman), and Michael Zegen (Joel Maisel) joined host Michelle Collins on SiriusXM Stars to share some insight into the beloved show, and EW was in the room to hear all the anecdotes — from the expected to the completely wild.
Here are 8 things we gleaned from the sit-down with the cast to tide you over until the new season drops:
Show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has a room full of hats
“She wears many hats literally and figuratively,” shared Brosnahan. “She wears the most incredible hats — I think she has a whole room for her hats.” According to Zegen, that room is the size of his apartment, while Borstein added that Sherman-Palladino uses real people to model them rather than mannequins. We’re sure at least some of these facts are inaccurate. A bonus fun fact: Sherman-Palladino does not like iguanas.
Rachel Brosnahan is over people mom-shaming Midge
When asked about the onscreen absence of Midge and Joel’s kids, Brosnahan took the opportunity to address a point that often irks her. “I have a lot to say about this,” she began. “There are a lot of people raising these kids. These kids are being raised by a village and it has been so surprising the level of mom-shaming aimed at this fictional character. We were in an interview in Italy and a reporter turned to me and asked me if I thought that Midge loved her children…Midge is someone who is pursuing a brand new dream and she’s sometimes self-centered in that pursuit but Joel, the father, has stepped up in a huge way and a way that’s particularly modern for this time. They have four loving grandparents, they have a Zelda; they have the privilege of having so many different people around to help them raise their children. They’re not perfect.” On that, Shalhoub jumped in to share more on the topic of parenting in general. “Parenting is a losing proposition,” he said. “Now you have people that are mom-shaming, but you also have helicopter parents — that’s the other extreme. What in God’s earth is good parenting?” What, indeed? Luckily, Joel has stepped up even further in season 3, so the haters can pipe down. “You’ll definitely see that Joel is going to become a primary caretaker, which is very progressive for the time,” says Brosnahan. When Zegen mentioned how much Joel has going on this season between work, the club, and looking after the kids, Borstein quipped, “He’s a modern woman!”
Michael Zegen used to be the voice of the Jersey Shore
Ever wondered who would tease you with, “Next Tuesday on the Jersey Shore“? Look no further than Zegen. “I used to do the promos,” he explained. “I did it for five years. You know, like, ‘Snooki gets wasted and The Situation has a situation.'”
Abe and Rose’s relationship unravels this season
After joking that there’s a lot of animosity between himself and Hinkle in real life, which they use as inspiration for their characters’ — at times — tense relationship, Shalhoub went on to explain Midge’s parents’ dynamic and where things are headed for the couple in season 3. “They’re a product of their time and generation,” he said. “There’s a formality to it and they’ve fallen into their expected roles of that, but deep down they’re these really kind of bubbly, angry, frustrated people and they’re just trying to do the best they can to present a somewhat civilized veneer to the world. Season 3 is about their unravelling and it sort of tests the bonds of that marriage. We see how they can support each other hang together, or not.”
Brosnahan refused to do stand-up to prep for the role of Midge
“Amy and Dan [Palladino] briefly proposed the idea before we shot the pilot, which was met with a lot of resistance from me,” explained Brosnahan. “They said they’d write something and I’d get the experience, but I was genuinely so afraid — their writing is brilliant and if you find me/Midge funny it’s because of them. I just think I would’ve been so traumatized; I would never have been able to shoot the show so thank goodness for that. It definitely would’ve messed with me. I would’ve stood in front of an audience and they absolutely would not have laughed and then I would just never be able to do it again.”
Costume fittings are Brosnahan’s favorite thing to do on the show — and Borstein’s least favorite
“Donna [Zakowska, the show’s costume designer] is extraordinary; fittings for every episode is maybe my favorite thing that we do on show,” said Brosnahan. Borstein interjected, “I hate them!” Continued Brosnahan, “Almost all of my clothes are custom-designed…and we have a custom milliner who makes all these beautiful hats, but Donna — just when I think she can’t get any better — just continues to reinvent her own wheel. There are so many new patterns and shapes and insane hats that get introduced this season. She’s a really beautiful storyteller and we’ve all kind of been saying that she teaches us things about our characters through how they express themselves with their clothes.” Despite her adoration for Midge’s wardrobe, the actress did add that the show “makes me so relieved that women are allowed to wear pants all the time and yoga pants are a thing.”
Season 3 takes things to new heights
“The poster for this season is Midge standing in front of an airplane and it’s very fitting,” said Borstein. “Everyone takes flight. For all our characters it’s, we’ll see what happens! It’s a bit like the Wright brothers — there’s some crashes and some burns and everyone’s trying to expand. Everyone is growing. Some people are adding layers. Everyone’s worlds are changing.”
The cast was nearly eaten by sharks
“We almost died in Miami,” is a great way to begin any story and that’s exactly how Borstein began an anecdote about an experience she and Brosnahan shared while on location in the 305. “We’re fair-skinned ladies,” she said. “We work long hours during the day. So in Miami the best time for us to be out was 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. — in the dark hours. So, after work at night, we decide to go on the beach. We’re like, ‘Let’s go on the beach! I’m sure it’s safe! It’s going to be fun!’ As we’re walking on a dark beach at 1 in the morning, [Rachel]’s got the bright light on her phone, Googling whether it’s safe for us to be walking on the beach at night in Miami. She’s like, ‘Well, it’s kinda a crapshoot; there’s some positives, some negatives.’ I’m like, ‘What about sharks?’ ‘No, I don’t think there’s sharks.’ So we get into the shallow end in this little alcove and we’re floating — we’re like, ‘This is heaven! This is the best at night! I love the beach!’ The next day people were like, ‘That’s exactly where [the sharks] feed and that’s exactly the time of night they feed. It’s like 2 a.m. in that alcove is where the sharks are.'” Sounds like we almost had a very different season 3.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Town Hall airs on The Michelle Collins Show on Friday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s Stars channel 109.
Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel premieres Friday on Amazon Prime.
Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a 1950s housewife in New York City who discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy after her husband leaves her.