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Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Mei Represents A Different Generation Of Woman Than Midge

The following article contains spoilers for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" Season 5, Episode 1, "Go Forward."

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" may primarily showcase one woman's journey to becoming a professional stand-up comedian, but it's also a mirror into the 1950s and '60s in America. Women were becoming more independent, as demonstrated by Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) picking up the pieces after her divorce and trying to make a name for herself in a widely male-dominated sphere. And Midge isn't the only focus for those themes, with Mei Lin (Academy Award nominee Stephanie Hsu) also demonstrating another type of woman who was beginning to take shape in that era.

In Season 4, Mei told Joel (Michael Zegen) she was pregnant with his child. The first episode of Season 5 continues this arc with Joel telling his parents how excited he is to marry Mei and have a baby together. Shortly thereafter, Mei tells Joel she no longer wants to marry him and implies she's had an abortion so that she can pursue her medical residency. Going through with this storyline was definitely intentional, as the show's creator Amy Sherman-Palladino told The Hollywood Reporter, "Mei always represented to us sort of weirdly like the generation right after Midge, like that generation of going into the '60s, of girls starting to step back — with the advent of the pill — step back a little bit and started to think a little bit more big picture rather than the immediacy of like, husband, children, this is the road, a little bit [more] like what could the road be?"

Women like Midge paved the way for women like Mei to seek other opportunities

When "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" starts, Midge is married with children. It's only after Joel leaves her for his secretary that she decides to give stand-up a try. Mei seems down a similar path where Joel wants to marry her and have children, but she doesn't give him that opportunity. She's decided against having the baby and will pursue a career as a medical professional when women weren't really in that field. Amy Sherman-Palladino confirms that there's a cycle at play where Midge followed the traditional feminine path in American society before deciding to give something else a try. Meanwhile, Mei is going after what she wants from the get-go.

Sherman-Palladino wanted that progression within Mei and to help show why Joel was attracted to her in the first place. She said, "She also represented the kind of woman that Joel would want to be with. In spite of the fact that they did not work out, Joel was attracted to Midge, partially because of that ambition and that focus that was there that neither one of them even could like put a finger on." Not only was Mei's decision important thematically, but it also helped Joel along his journey; as Michael Zegen told THR, "I think it was another instance where he was kind of getting into the same patterns that he started in where he's kind of stuck in a situation, and he has to find his way out."

With Season 5 being the final outing for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," fans will undoubtedly appreciate seeing growth in the characters, themes, and time periods of this country.