The central conflict in season two of 'The Marvelous Mrs Maisel' maybe internal but its energy and quirkiness mirrors its star Rachel Brosnahan's outlook, which is about marching through life on a "really high note", says creator Amy Sherman-Palladino.
The show's fast but rhythmic pace is also informed by Sherman-Palladino's past as a dancer and the way she and husband Daniel Palladino, co-showrunner, view New York City: with a lot of affection.
"I was a dancer and I think that my direction style comes from my sense of dance and the energy and motion. I grew up in California, which was a cruel cosmic joke. New York and me, we shouldn't have been paired at all.
"When I went to New York, I live there now, that's what I felt, this rush of energy, motion and movement. I think the show reflects that," Sherman-Palladino told PTI in a telephonic interview from Milan.
She is full of praise for the show's lead, whose personality, she believes, has also impacted their heroine, Mirium 'Midge' Maisel's characterisation.
"We have this unbelievable girl who has this energetic, confident march through life. Midge marches through life the way Rachel marches through life. On a really high note, which is shocking. We are embracing the energy and musicality of the piece," she said.
Daniel said they did not want to create a 1950s New York the way it has been done in many other shows and films, which makes it feel like the city is wrapped in a time capsule. Their version pulsates with life, he added.
"Sometimes when people make shows and movies about past, they sort of give it a look that gives it a distant era look. It is like a time capsule that we are watching from afar.
"We wanted people to feel like they are in New York in 1959 so we tried to make colourful. It is sort of heightened but that's also how Midge's character sees her world. In a way, the visuals in the show reflect the characters' outlook. That's how she sees her world. There is a change when she is in Susie's world, which is a bit darker. It's downtown New York," he said.
The first season of the show, about a 1950s a New York housewife who stumbles into stand-up comedy after learning about her husband's infidelity, became a runaway success when it bowed on Amazon Prime Video last year and went on to win awards at the Golden Globes and Emmys.
The sophomore season has already earned critical acclaim and is on its way to award season triumph with three nominations at Globes 2019. The showrunners say as flattering as it was to be told that it would be impossible to follow-up the "perfect" first season, they drowned out all the noise and kept their noses to the ground.
"It was flattering for people to say that you can't possibly follow up what you have done earlier. But Amy and I are not new to the business. We have been doing this for a while now. We just keep our noses to the ground. It is up to other people to judge whether it is good, better or not. We just needed to keep going," Palladino said.
Sherman-Palladino, who was also the brain behind the superhit "Gilmore Girls", joked that she has "no other skill" other than working on the show.
"We only do this and as much as we would love to do one season and walk away, there literally would have nothing else to do, so we have to keep going," she said.
Amy, who grew up watching her father perform as a stand-up comic, said she wanted to create something around that world in the 1950s period but with a woman as a protagonist.
"I was enamoured with the idea of setting something in that time period because it is such a fun, fascinating and visual time period. I thought the journey of stand-up comedy would be a little more interesting with a woman than my father... I hope he would be okay with the fact that I turned him into Rachel.
"It is normal for females to be a part of comedy today but comedy in the '50s was really hard. And on top of it, for a woman who was not indoctrinated in that world. She had her world. She was a wife and mother and the queen of six blocks of the Upper West Side," she said.
Alex Borstein, who plays the role of Susie Myerson, Midge's manager, was someone that Sherman-Palladino always wanted to work with, while Brosnahan, who has a number of intense roles to her credit, including her breakout performance in "House of Cards", was a complete surprise.
"Alex was in front of us for a long time. She was my original Sookie in 'Gilmore Girls'. She could not do the show because she had a contract at that time. We just needed to work with her.
"Rachel is this amazing, accomplished young actress, who came in, never
having done comedy before, and basically mopped the floor. It was a mic drop when she walked out of the room after the audition. The lucky thing is that when you put them together, there is this instant chemistry and camaraderie. That's the kind of thing that no matter how good the script is, you can't create. We got very, very lucky there," Sherman-Palladino said.
The second season also brings characters such as Midge's father and mother, played by Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle, into the spotlight even as she struggles between new love and old ties as her career as a stand-up comedian starts to pick up. Sherman-Palladino said Midge will forever be torn about her different identities.
"She would be torn between these worlds for the rest of her life. One was of comfort and ease, complete safety and routine. And then there is something that is more exciting, adventurous and braver but potentially more lonely. You have to give up your old life if you go after something this big," she said.
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