Tony Shalhoub, Kevin Pollak say goodbye to their 'Mrs. Maisel' patriarchs

Tony Shalhoub'and the cast of "The Marvelous Maisel" wrap the fifth and final season May 26. Photo courtesy of Prime Video
Tony Shalhoub'and the cast of "The Marvelous Maisel" wrap the fifth and final season May 26. Photo courtesy of Prime Video

NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- Tony Shalhoub and Kevin Pollak say they suspect starring for five seasons in the Prime Video comedy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has changed them forever.

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show wraps up its run May 26.


Set in the late-1950s, early-1960s New York City, the celebrated series follows the adventures of unconventional stand-up comedian Miriam "Midge" Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan, and her relentlessly supportive, brutally honest manager, Susie (Alex Borstein).

Michael Zegen plays Miriam's philandering ex-husband, Joel, while Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle play her disappointed parents, Abe and Rose. Rounding out the cast are Pollak and Caroline Aaron as Moishe and Shirley, Joel's overprotective parents.

"I carry a little bit of all of them along with me," Shalhoub told UPI about the characters he has played over the years.

"I kind of hold a place in my heart for them. Abe was super-special and I've gotten some mementos from the show," he said. "I have those things to hold onto and whenever I feel nostalgic, I can throw on a jacket or a suit and recapture the Abe vibe."


Before Maisel, Pollak was known for his stand-up comedy routines and for playing smart, subtle supporting characters in terrific films such as A Few Good Men and The Usual Suspects.

"I kind of prided myself on doing nothing," Pollak laughed.

"Then to be so much of a blowhard and over the top [in Maisel] for the first time, really, and be rewarded and even have my better half in life say, 'This is the role you were born to play,' it's a double-edged sword," he added. "I wasted so much of my life not mugging and being a scene-stealer."

Season 4 ended with Moishe in the hospital after suffering a heart attack.

"The near-death journey for Moishe certainly kicks off Season 5 and continues that story of what one goes through emotionally and mentally and personally and professionally," Pollak said.

Shalhoub thinks Abe is experiencing "a constant rolling time of discovery" through the five seasons of the show.

"He realizes [Moishe] is not his nemesis. He's his brother and he is reassessing his role of a father, husband and a math professor, as a man in 1950s, into 1960s," Shalhoub said.

"He's a guy who believes he is settled and knows what he knows and then discovers that everything he thought he knew is not really who he is and what is in front of him."


Shalhoub said he's is happy with the way the show concludes and thinks the groundwork laid in the first four seasons really pays off in the final episodes.

"I think people are going to be really really satisfied," he said. "You always want to leave them wanting more."

Pollak praised the show's creators and writers for maintaining the quality of the show over the long run.

"Every season, they expand the universe. They understand conflict to drive the story almost better than anyone I've ever worked with," he said.

"There is an evolution of all the characters. As much as Moishe wants to stay in one place, this has been an extraordinary journey and I hope that true fans of the show will be rewarded in the so-called final season."

The cast and crew felt an acute awareness that something special was ending when they filmed Season 5.

"But because we shot from January to November, we also had an awfully long time to embrace, celebrate," Pollak said.

"I always felt -- having had a bit of a career prior to the show -- while shooting it that I was finally old enough to truly appreciate a job while I was doing it, as opposed to looking back. I was gifted beyond my hopes and expectations."


Shalhoub said he will will miss how the cast members always rehearsed their lines together before the cameras started rolling.

"The table reads were awesome, but [I'll miss] just the camaraderie on the set, the connections that we had -- not just the actors with each other, but with the crew, the writers, the design team," he said.

"It was a very full, very memorable time period for all of us. It was conflict-free and it was inspiring and it's going to be hard to duplicate that perfect combination."

Pollak said he expects the show's legacy will be its contributions to extraordinary storytelling in television.

"Every department had true savants," he said.

"I am a big TV viewer, a fan. When all the elements come together, it is so, so rare, that it is overwhelming and I hope that's the legacy: that the whole of the show, not just the individual pieces, were exceptional."

Shalhoub said he thinks people will always remember and cherish the character of Midge.

"This character does the courageous and unexpected thing and is tenacious and unstoppable and has a true original voice and she wants that voice to be heard," he said.

"She will not be deterred. She will not be silenced. It's a story about a woman finding her strength and for all women standing up, fighting and demonstrating their strength. That should be the legacy of the show."

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