As terrific as the actors are on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — and face it, the cast is the beluga caviar of ensembles — the below-the-line contributions to the Amazon Prime fave are far from chopped liver, too. As co-creator Amy Sherman-Palladino told Gold Derby in an interview, “It’s a tragically expensive show. I’m surprised they let us into the building.”
But the premiere episode of Season 3, which was directed and written by Sherman-Palladino, probably came closest to breaking the bank. That’s because Rachel Brosnahan‘s stand-up comic Midge is moving up the showbiz ladder of success after being hired as an opening act for a Johnny Mathis-like smooth crooner Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) for his six-month tour.
However, as a kind of a warm-up for their long road trip, Midge and Shy first perform at a USO show before hundreds of male extras dressed in khaki green and waving flags in an airport hangar with a large vintage aircraft on the side.
The action begins with a long tracking shot of Midge and manager Susie (Alex Borstein) arriving slightly late to the gig before she faces 850 men who raucously cheer and laugh at her slightly naughty jokes. There is also a band, a plume-topped chorus line of synchronized high-kicking female dancers, a girl group called the Silver Belles and a slew of back-up singers and dancers accompanying the impeccably baby-blue-suited Shy on stage.
The actors on the show have said that all the effort that is put into the retro-perfect costumes and hairstyles along with the eye-catching cinematography and evocative production backdrops makes each hour-long episode feel like a mini movie. Most more typical sitcoms just can’t compete in these categories.
The one waving the wand to make the visual magic is production designer and art director Bill Groom, who won four Emmys for his re-creation of the Prohibition Era that enlivened HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” He now is creating similar hocus pocus as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” enters the ’60s. Groom was nominated for his designs on Season 1 and 2. But what he achieves in the Season 3 premiere is likely to finally lead to his his fifth trophy. And, that’s no joke.
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