As was recently related to Closer Weekly by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Alex Bornstein, Season 2 of the Amazon streaming series is about change. That’s certainly what Michael Zegen is hoping for when it comes to his character of Joel Maisel, who turned the life of his wife, Midge Maisel, upside down in the first season premiere (inadvertently sending the Rachel Brosnahan-played character down the path of stand-up comedy).
“When we first met Joel in the pilot,” Michael explains in an exclusive interview, “I think it was sort of unfair in that it’s the worst moment in his life. You know, he’s having a meltdown, he hates his job, he wants to be a standup comedian, which is not working out for him; he’s having an affair. So it’s kind of an unfair thing that when the audience meets him, they automatically hate him because they love Midge so much. In a way, I’m trying to win back the audience through the course of the season. Not that I have to lead up to his redemptive moment in the last episode, but I’m trying to humanize him a little bit now.”
Michael, 39, emphasizes that he never went to the producers and asked them to provide some sort of redemption for Joel, but, he says, “From Season 1 to Season 2, it’s a huge change. The easy thing would be to keep him the villain, but it’s not that at all. In the first couple of episodes, he supposed to be the antagonist, but I don’t think that was ever really the final plan for him. I think they knew all along that he was going to have an actual arc.”
Another example of change is in terms of the relationship between Joel and his father-in-law, Abe Weissman, as played by Tony Shalhoub, who seems to recognize the efforts Joel is making to change this year. “I don’t think Abe started out with a whole lot of respect for Joel,” muses Michael, “but they’ve never had a bad relationship — although there was a scene in season one where Abe tells him that he would like to throw Joel out a window. Great scene. At the same time, Joel does feel some shame over what he did to Midge.”
To see how it all unfolds, stream Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is available on Amazon now.