The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s “It’s Comedy or Cabbage” explores Midge and Lenny‘s “maybe someday” beautifully in a pivotal scene that could foreshadow what many fans are hoping for.
When I first watched this episode during its original air date, it was almost as if this was Lenny Bruce’s curtain call. When I covered the episode in our end-of-the-year reviews, I said that the episode felt more like a goodbye than anything else. “The entire framing of the episode felt like one melancholy perfect goodbye to the comedian whose life was cut tragically short, and putting Midge at the center of the story worked so well for the show. When he passed her his cigarette, it’s almost as though he was passing down his legacy, his last breath, his last shared bliss.” However, now that we know for a fact that Luke Kirby will be returning as Lenny Bruce for Season 4, it’s more likely that Midge and Lenny’s “maybe someday” could actually lead to something—even if it’s just one day.
There will always be something deeply heartbreaking about their relationship, primarily tied to what we know about Lenny Bruce. But beyond that, every frame in this episode is brilliantly telling how profoundly they care for one another and understand each other. The fake marriage at the show and how they’re able to play off of one another so organically, even without a rehearsal, speaks volumes. The detail that he sends her a letter to meet him at the bar, the fact that he insists they go to dinner before he tells what he thought of her act—it’s all a showcase of the fact that Lenny wanted Midge to have a good time. He even says so out loud.
The casualty and comfort in their shared intimacy during the dance is one thing, but the longing gazes in his door frame are another. The ease in Midge’s voice as she thanks him for calling her act sensational is an exhibition of how much it means to her. A man’s opinion doesn’t and shouldn’t concern Midge. While the double standards rightfully frustrate her, she doesn’t need confirmation that she’s funny. However, with Lenny, it’s different. It’s different because he’s not just a man or an ordinary comedian, but he’s special to her.
He’s special to her because of everything they’ve been through and because of everything they’ve both been able to learn from each other.
It’s worth noting how Lenny calls back to her to mention the “maybe someday”—specifying that he wants this. Even if it isn’t meant to last forever, he wants her because the chemistry between them allows them both moments of stillness in the constant chaos. Touring comedians don’t know how to settle down, and for these conversations to happen in this scene ultimately shows the audience that this hotel room has never felt like home until now. Her presence here changes everything.
They aren’t trying to make anyone else laugh when they’re together, but they bring joy to each other organically. The conversations, the banter, the dances, sharing cigarettes—it’s all effortless. And we can see much of that in the somber expressiveness Lenny dawns the second she’s no longer close to him. Luke Kirby touches on something deeply personal with the character’s aches as he looks down and the loneliness starts to engulf him.
The beauty in Midge and Lenny’s relationship lies in the fact that neither of them truly understands what’s happening within. They can’t see all the ways in which they’re each other’s safe space or the fact that there’s no dark spell they can’t pull each other out from.
“Maybe someday” has to mean something beyond the apparent desires that they need to get out of their systems. That could very well be the case, but seldom is a tether this strong between two people for whom one night will suffice. Or, perhaps, for them, that’s the case. But regardless, now, more than ever, I’m convinced it needs to happen somehow. Whether one night or two. A week away or even a short-lived relationship—something needs to come to pass.
What are your thoughts on Midge and Lenny’s “maybe someday?” Do you think it foreshadows something?