The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Decoding the visual drama

Influenced by the Scandinavian style, pastel mood and neon lighting, the series is a treat for the eyes.
Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Pragya Verma

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a Comic- Drama web series set up in the era of the late 1950s Manhattan. The series revolves around Mrs. Maisel who somehow got involved in her hidden talent of comedy and stand-ups. The candy-colored world dictated by Sherman-Palladino for “Maisel” is beautiful, layered and truly a feast for the eyes.

 

The Production Designer, Bill Groom, has created a technicolor world that seems to be a rich ’50s tapestry. The setup and the mood have the specifics of the late 50s where meticulous attention to detail has been taken care of. The designs are cleaner, with a Scandinavian influence, space, and atomic age-inspired shapes – also known as Mid-Century Modern. There were three major color trends in the 50s; pastel, modern and Scandinavian. Particularly popular pastel colors were pink, turquoise, mint green, pale yellow and blue. 

 

Apart from this, the décor has been supported with various printed and striped wallpapers, sumptuous fabrics, decorative trims, assortments of moldings, and carved and sculptural furnishings. Overall, the emphasis was on comfort and leisure.

 

Bill Groom managed to put together something that feels authentic, not clichéd or themed. In an interview, he mentioned the sources he looked up and the thought process behind designing the show.

Image credit: Amazon Studios

According to him, “It’s easy to fall into an overly thematic trap, especially with a decade like the 1950s. I was very careful to try to make New York as layered then as it is now…People who don’t know the city don’t know how many different New Yorks there are. It’s just a collection of communities, and each of these communities has its characters.”

Indulging the audience for an hour with the feel and aesthetics of the show is quite a task. The designing and recreating of the whole scenario is one part but coinciding it with a part where one feels and connects to the show is a huge task. This effect has been fulfilled here by the cast of lighting used in every scene.

 

Now, talking about the lighting, the neon hues of orange, pink and blue give the feel of sassiness and vibrancy and also energizes the whole mood. With this neon lighting, it has made the series look lively, fresh and healthy along with an aura of romance and not just creating the look of the ‘50s. The spirit and confidence portrayed through the character of Mrs. Maisel are somehow being reflected through these strong lights.