Mr. Maisel: Not everyone's rooting for Joel & Midge marriage
UPI News Service, 12/05/2018
Whether Michael Zegen's Marvelous Mrs. Maisel character Joel is likable and should win back his estranged wife Midge depends on who you ask.
"He was a jerk and he did some things he shouldn't have done, so I understand why people wouldn't be rooting for them," Zegen, 39, told UPI in a recent phone interview.
Set in 1950s New York, the Emmy-winning comedy wrapped up its first season on Amazon with Joel discovering Rachel Brosnahan's Midge -- the polished and pampered wife he left for another woman -- has become the successful stand-up comedian he always wanted to be.
Season 2 debuts Wednesday and finds Joel unemployed and living back home with his parents Shirley and Moishe, played by Caroline Aaron and Kevin Pollak.
"The audience caught Joel at the worst moment of his life," Zegen said. "Now, he's just trying to find something that makes him happy."
While Team Midge fans aren't wishing Joel well just yet, other viewers are connecting to his flawed humanity.
"I have friends who are my age who, actually, still don't know what they want to do. They're going from job to job and trying to find something that brings them some sort of satisfaction," the Boardwalk Empire and Rescue Me alum said, adding he feels lucky to have known since he was a child that he wanted to be an actor.
In addition to trying to be a good dad to his toddlers and figuring out a career that suits him, Joel is also trying to cope with Midge's fame, which has been achieved by mining her personal life
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-- their personal lives -- for laughs.
Joel can't support Midge's work, but also cares enough about her not to ask her to give it up for him.
"I don't think it will ever be settled," Zegen said. "There's always going to be love between them and they have kids together, so they're always going to be in each other's lives."
The fallout from Joel's disastrous and short-lived affair impacts everyone around him to varying effect.
"It's like the good news, bad news. His marriage blew up, but then he moved home. So, that was really fun. I liked having him home again," Aaron said in a separate interview. "Anything that happens to Joel happens to Shirley; not from his point of view, but from mine."
The 66-year-old actress recalled a discussion she once had with the show's creator Amy Sherman-Palladino about why Joel threw away his seemingly perfect marriage after his own attempt at stand-up comedy stalled.
"It's because Midge saw him fail and he can't be seen that way and, out of that pain, he makes a very stupid choice," Aaron quoted Sherman-Palladino as saying.
The Sleepless in Seattle and Primary Colors actress said one of the things that makes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel like "lightning in a bottle" is how well it depicts family dynamics.
"We all come from a family and we're either embracing that or rejecting that. But the show has blown up, even in foreign countries," she said. "Why would people respond to it? I think it's because that's everyone's origin, their original group and we all respond to that in some way."
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