Emmy episode analysis: Alex Borstein (‘Mrs. Maisel’) finds comedy is no laughing matter when Midge flops in ‘Doink’

Alex Borstein’s loyalty to Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” is paying off with her first on-camera Emmy nomination. After appearing in both of Sherman-Palladino’s  previous series, “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads,” she has a chance to win a Best Comedy Supporting Actress trophy for playing Susie Myerson, an outspoken talent booker for a ‘50s Greenwich Village coffeehouse. She hopes to manage Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge, a single mother of two who comes from a privileged background. Split from her husband, Midge chases her dream of being a stand-up comedian.

After two previous tries, Borstein just won her first Emmy over the weekend at the Creative Arts Awards for her voice-over work as Lois Griffin, the mother figure on the Fox cartoon “Family Guy.” She was also nominated as a producer on the show in 2008 when it competed for Best Animated Series.

In her “Maisel” Emmy episode submission “Doink,” pert-and-pretty Midge begins to question her ability to make people laugh after bombing for the first time in front of an audience. No-nonsense Susie, a rabid smoker who dresses like an extra from “Newsies,” notes that she flopped so badly that “people were looking for directions to a fallout shelter.” After doing her act on the fly, Midge prepares too much and her quips are drained of her personal touch. Much of the humor between the two women comes from their disparate personalities, but together they make quite the ambitious team, one that you want to root for.

Will Borstein win her second Emmy just a few days after winning her first? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.


“Mrs. Maisel” has amassed 14 nominations in its first season, no joke. And Emmy voters might find it hard to resist rewarding a colorful character like Susie, who is entrenched in the world of showbiz, a milieu they can relate to.

Don’t underestimate the power of nostalgia, either, even if Sherman-Palladino sneaks in a feminist agenda that wasn’t quite so evolved in the Eisenhower era.

Plus, Borstein epitomizes the supportive polar-opposite sidekick to the leading lady, a sitcom staple.


In its first season “Atlanta” made do with six nominations. But now Donald Glover’s FX show that looks at our current world through the eyes of aspiring rap artists has 16 chances to take home an Emmy this year – and that includes Borstein’s competition, Zazie Beetz. Since Katt Williams already pulled off an upset for “Atlanta” for Best Comedy Guest Actor over the weekend we know the actors branch loves that show.

But who am I kidding? If anyone is going to keep Susie Myerson from making her way to the stage, it is probably Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live’s” woman of 1,000 faces from the Trump administration. She has won this category the past two years and the odds are in her favor to increase her streak to three.

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

More News from GoldDerby