One imagines that Midge Maisel — the titular Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — and Lorelei Gilmore would get along very well if they ever met.
They’re both loud and talkative single mothers (at least by the end of Mrs. Maisel’s first episode), both have a penchant for standing up to authority, and both have a taste for breakfast at diners. If they ever met in the same decade, no one else would be able to get a word in edgewise.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the latest offering from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, and it follows a 1950s housewife who embarks on a stand-up comedy career. While the two shows are different — in tone, and decade — they share enough DNA to delight any Gilmore Girls fan looking to find a new brassy, fast-talking fictional female friend.
SIMILARITY: Did we mention the fast-talking?
Like Rory and Lorelei, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) speaks at a lightning-fast pace. Her jokes are rocket-launched, and her talent for delivery is a skill her husband Joel, whose stand-up routines are decidedly less well-timed, lacks.
DIFFERENCE: The soundtrack
A far cry from Carole King’s “la la la’s,” each episode of Mrs. Maisel is dense with period-appropriate songs, from artists like Cyril Ritchard, Peggy Lee, and Connie Francis. Keep an ear out for Barbra Streisand’s “Come to the Supermarket” which punctuates a lively cab ride the Maisels take to downtown.
SIMILARITY: Rich parents
Midge’s parents live in a massive Upper West Side apartment, dress her in designer clothes, and send her to Bryn Mawr. Emily Gilmore would be right at home among the formal wear, dinner parties, and maid serving the meals.
Midge is Jewish, and, from the way she stresses about the rabbi attending her Yom Kippur break-fast to the way she cooks brisket to get her husband a better timeslot for his stand-up, it shows. The Gilmores — at least Emily and Richard — were as WASP-y as it came, and Emily had the DAR membership to prove it.
SIMILARITY: Private school uniforms
It’s not Chilton pleated skirts, but we do get a glimpse of Midge in a uniform during flashbacks to her time at Bryn Mawr.
Midge cooks that brisket, and dinner almost every night for her husband and family. The most a Gilmore girl ever did in the kitchen was to throw Pop Tarts in the toaster.
SIMILARITY: Cultural references
Gilmore Girls was famous for its mile-a-minute pop culture references. Mrs. Maisel takes place in 1958, so the celebrities are of a slightly different generation, but we get shout-outs to Katherine Hepburn, Bob Newhart, Sammy Davis Jr., Kirk Douglas, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg — all within the first couple episodes. And Lenny Bruce himself is one of the show’s major characters.
DIFFERENCE: The setting
Midge lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and hangs out down in the village. New York City is about as far from Stars Hollow as you can get. There are subways and 24-hour diners, but no picturesque gazebos.
SIMILARITY: Alex Borstein
Bornstein had brief appearances in Gilmore Girls, as Miss Celine and as Drella the harpist (she was originally slated to play Sookie, before the role went to Melissa McCarthy). In Mrs. Maisel, she finally gets her central role as Susie Myerson, who works at a coffee shop performance space and begins managing Midge’s career.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel debuts on Amazon on Wednesday, Nov. 29.