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Charmingly annoying women abound
At the end of its fourth season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel left us with some legitimate developments as Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) forged new paths forward in both her career and her relationships (especially with Luke Kirby's Lenny Bruce, which, to be clear, is something I celebrate — let's retcon history!). Amazon Prime Video renewed it for one final season, and if you're finding this wait particularly difficult, we have some recommendations for shows to keep you company during the hiatus.
Our list of shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel includes more of Amy Sherman-Palladino's hyper-specific creative touch (but not Gilmore Girls, since chances are high that most Mrs. Maisel fans have already watched and rewatched it plenty of times), more comedians, and more kind of annoying but ultimately lovable women. Midge would approve.
Minx is could also be titled Jake Johnson Wearing Flashy Clothing, but it also happens to have a great premise. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, Minx follows Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond), a young second-wave feminist with the radical dream of launching a women's magazine that doesn't make its readers feel stupid. When she's turned away by the old men who control the publishing world, she teams up with a porn magazine publisher (Johnson) to create the first erotic magazine targeted at women. Joyce is a few decades after Midge's time, but Minx has Maisel's zippy, charming spirit, and both are period pieces about women forging paths in industries that are unwelcoming to them.
If it's more of that Palladino-specific blend of humor and heart you're looking for, Bunheads is tailor made for you. Amy Sherman-Palladino's post-Gilmore, pre-Maisel comedy stars Sutton Foster as a former ballerina who, after finding herself stuck at a dead end in her life and career, starts teaching dance to a group of eccentric teens alongside her mother-in-law (Kelly Bishop). It's a sweet little oddball of a series full of those Palladino-isms we've come to know and love (Foster's Michelle speaks at a very recognizable blink-and-you'll-miss-the-joke pace), a whole lot of charm, and some lovingly executed character arcs.
Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) spends much of Mrs. Maisel hustling to be taken seriously as a comedian, but Hacks' Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) has long since made it, long enough to have committed the cardinal sin of being a woman who dared to age past her prime. In the world of Hacks, Deborah is a legendary comedian whose longtime Las Vegas residency is in jeopardy. To help punch up and modernize her material, she gets partnered with Ava, a young writer (Hannah Einbinder) from Los Angeles who was blacklisted after making an insensitive tweet. A lot of the show's best jokes come from the natural misunderstandings and growing pains that come along with forcing such an odd couple pairing, which is sure to remind Mrs. Maisel fans of the banter between Midge and Susie (Alex Borstein). Hacks is funny, smartly written, and has a lot to say about the hardships of being a woman in show business.
Set a couple of decades after Mrs. Maisel, I'm Dying Up Here is about a whole different era of comedians. The series follows a group of comics in 1970s Los Angeles who perform regularly at a comedy club as they work toward their big break. Some are doing well for themselves while others share closet-sized apartments, but the show explores how they're all struggling in different ways. If your favorite parts of Maisel are when Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) shows up to say something bitingly vulgar, you'll probably enjoy I'm Dying Up Here.
Midge is a wife (at the very beginning of the series, anyway) and mother, but those factors are mostly just background details and rarely get in the way of her career. For a slightly more realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a mom and a working comedian, try I'm Sorry. It follows Andrea (Andrea Savage), who divides her time between being with her family — she's married with a young daughter — and her career as a comedy writer. Where Mrs. Maisel is pretty plot-driven, I'm Sorry is more of a hangout show, but the jokes are similarly fast-paced. Most importantly, Andrea, like Midge, has a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease, which makes her awkward encounters with others that much funnier to watch.
On the surface, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical dramedy about Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a successful New York City lawyer who rejects a major promotion in favor of following a childhood ex-boyfriend to the small town of West Covina, California, and Mrs. Maisel are extremely different shows, but once you really dig in, it's clear that there's plenty of overlap between the two. Beyond the fact that both have the intense spirit of an overenthusiastic theater kid running through them, they also happen to share similarly quirky senses of humor and similarly quirky characters. Both shows revolve around 30-something Jewish women trying to forge their paths ahead in life, navigating thorny personal conflicts as they go. It just so happens that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does it with big musical numbers in place of stand-up sets.
If you want another period piece about women trying to get famous, check out GLOW. Set in the '80s, the charming dramedy stars Alison Brie as Ruth, an out-of-work actress who finds herself drawn into the over-the-top world of professional women's wrestling. Both GLOW and Mrs. Maisel are about women figuring out their own unique paths ahead in show business, and fans of the dynamic between Midge and Susie will delight in the relationship between Ruth and her former best friend, Debbie (Betty Gilpin), who she reunites with after a complicated falling out. The series was undeservedly canceled before it had a chance to wrap everything up, but the three seasons it did get were excellent.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel mostly plays its observations about showbiz with seriousness over satire, but for something a little more irreverent, try Girls5eva. Produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the comedy follows a '90s girl group who reunite 20 years later, after a rapper samples the group's one and only hit. The women have all aged, but they're trying to make the most of their second shot at fame, often to disastrously goofy results. It overflows with Fey and Carlock's signature style of zany jokes, and has a great time poking fun at how utterly stupid the entertainment industry was and is. Come for the catchy earworms, stay for Fey's spot-on Dolly Parton impression.