From the moment viewers first met Alex Borstein’s cantankerous yet lovable Susie Myerson as the manager of the Greenwich Village comedy club the Gaslight in the pilot for Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she pinged as queer. Forever clad in trousers, a take on a Greek fisherman’s hat, and sensible shoes, Susie’s eschewing of gender norms in a series set in the 1960s seemed like a sign that the character would be queer.
What’s more, from the moment Rachel Brosnahan’s charismatic Midge Maisel enters the Gaslight to deliver her first-ever comedy set as her marriage is breaking apart, it’s clear that Susie, who becomes her manager, is smitten. Now, with three seasons under Susie’s wide leather belt in which she and Midge are the de facto central couple of the series, Borstein, an Emmy winner for the role, has stopped short of labeling Susie's sexuality but has confirmed that her character is indeed in love with Midge.
“One thing I like about her is she’s like this fleshy, new-formed baby. It’s interesting that a lot of people who want to know about her sexuality are the same people who would be like, ‘We don’t want it to be labeled,’” Borstein told the Los Angeles Times when asked how often she's asked if Susie is gay. “I like that she’s never had the luxury of having a relationship or even exploring it. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s never even had her first kiss.”
“She’s absolutely in love with Midge to some degree, but I think she falls in love with minds,” Borstein said unequivocally.
Throughout the critically lauded series, Midge has male love interests and an ongoing, abiding relationship with ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen). But Mrs. Maisel — from Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and her husband, Dan Palladino — has been criticized for failing to explore Susie’s inherent queerness considering that Midge and Susie are the perfect opposites-attract central couple for the series that is crafted and choreographed like one long musical film.
When the second season of Mrs. Maisel dropped, Autostraddle’s Riese Bernard wrote a piece titled “Make Susie Gay, You Cowards: On The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Lesbian Problem” in which she specifically called out the married creators for lacking the courage to dig into Susie’s sexual identity.
“I don’t think we don’t know totally,” Sherman-Palladino has said about Susie’s sexuality. “Susie is somebody who, again, did not fit the times. She was not a beauty. Where did Susie fit in with the kind of clothing that she wears and the views that she has?” A few grating clauses later, Amy declared that Susie’s “never gonna find a husband, have some kids” because “that’s just simply not an option.”
Meanwhile, Palladino said, “Once the series came out, everybody was reading into it. That’s our ultimate goal, to get people to read into it what they want to read into it. Make it their own.”
Still, Borstein’s admission of Susie’s love for Midge is validation for queer viewers of something that’s been close to the surface since the series began.