At the center of “Bridgerton” is Lady Whistledown, the mysterious scandalmonger whose gossip is so hot that even Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) keeps up on her column. Lady Whistledown doesn’t just reveal juicy secrets though — she’s a commentator who tweaks, jibes, and suggests conclusions, ensuring a reaction from London’s movers and shakers. The titular star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” might not trade in rumors, but if there’s one thing she knows how to do, it’s get a reaction.
Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) starts out as a 1950s housewife par excellence. All the perfectly cooked brisket in the world can’t keep her husband from walking out on her, however. Midge is distraught … until she discovers stand-up comedy. When she’s on stage, she rivals Lady Whistledown for zinger supremacy. Midge rips into mid-century motherhood, cheating husbands, and parental pressure with thrilling viciousness. Regency London is, in many ways, a far cry from Midge’s New York City, which encompasses Jewish delis, bohemian nightclubs, and Columbia classrooms. But as viewers find, both worlds’ rigid mores are ripe for skewering.
Midge’s well-coiffed mother, Rose (Marin Hinkle), would be right at home with the London set, and skeptical Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) would have a lot to talk about with Susie (Alex Borstein), Midge’s cantankerous manager. Fashions change, societal norms evolve, and countries grow and shrink. But as “Bridgerton” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” prove, killer burns remain eternal.