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What would it have been like to try and make it as a comedienne in the late 1950s? It’s a question that forms the basis for Amazon’s award-winning series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Starring Rachel Brosnahan as the eponymous Miriam “Midge” Maisel, the series tells the story of a housewife living in New York’s Upper West Side who, after her life is upended, pursues a career in stand-up comedy.
The show comes from the mind of writer, producer and director Amy Sherman-Palladino, who, with her husband (and fellow writer, director and producer) Dan Palladino, also created the hit series “Gilmore Girls.”
Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal visited the Palladinos while they were filming the show’s third season in New York. You can read an excerpt of their conversation below, and listen to the full interview using the media player above.
Interested in learning more about how “Maisel” is brought to life? Check out our conversation with the woman who creates the costumes for the show.
Kai Ryssdal: How did this show come to be? Have you been carrying this woman around in your brain for years and years?
Amy Sherman-Palladino: My father was a stand-up, and it was a world that was always talked about in my house; the world of Catskills, and Greenwich Village, and my dad was from the Bronx. And I always thought that would be a delightful, entertaining place to live for a while, to place a show. I just thought that the story would be more interesting with a chick. I just thought it would be a more interesting battle. So my father was turned into Rachel Brosnahan.
Ryssdal: Is your dad still around? How does he feel about that?
Sherman-Palladino: He is not. I would hope he would take it in the spirit that it’s intended, which is an homage with a tinier waist. And more skirts. But it just felt like a fun world, a colorful world. You know, “Gilmore” was wonderful, delicious…
Ryssdal: “Gilmore Girls,” we should say. The prior creation.
Sherman-Palladino: “Gilmore Girls” was a wonderful, delicious creative experience, but we were in the backlot in Burbank and we basically walked two girls in a circle for six years, and we wanted a bigger palette.
Ryssdal: So, to that point, Dan, this is ambitious. This is unbelievably ambitious.
Sherman-Palladino: Yes. Or mentally unbalanced.
Ryssdal: ‘Cause you’re setting an era. The show has a visual style that is unbelievable. We’re going to talk to Donna, the costume designer, in a bit. All of it’s intentional. All of it clearly is of a vision from you two. How closely do you have to guard that vision?
Dan Palladino: Well, the trick to having a vision like that is having people who have the skills, and to know how to bring about that vision.
Sherman-Palladino: And it’s important you don’t have anybody around that has, like, you never hear the words here like, “Eh, close enough. Eh, good enough.” Which you would hear a lot, on other shows, and then you’d panic, and you’d be like, “No, it’s not! Not close enough! Not good enough!” You know, nobody here does that. You can’t ever say, like, “Well, I mean, is anyone really going to see that?” because someone will kill you, they will just throw something at you. Because, everybody here, it’s very important to them that the costumes are perfect, that the sets are perfect, everything is perfect. And when you work with people like that, then the bar just always stays very high.