Mrs. Maisel would never have become the marvelous 1950s New York comedy star on the rise without the material her ex-husband Joel provides for her. After all, in Season 1 of the Amazon Prime Original series, main character Midge Maisel only performs for the first time when she inadvertently ends up on stage and gives a drunken rant about Joel's affair. The affair may have given Midge some comedic material, but it also gave the audience perfect reason to hate Joel. Turns out, it's not just the audience who has mixed feelings about Joel. Even Michael Zegen, who plays Joel, doesn't think Joel and Midge should get back together.
Zegen told Vulture he's always "shocked" when people tell him they think Midge and Joel should get back together. He said, "I don't think right now they should get back together. I think he cheated on her, and he needs to pay the price for that."
That's some pretty harsh judgement of Joel, especially coming from the guy who plays him. Zegen went on to say, "I think [Joel] knows it's impossible for him to be forgiven. I don't think he's forgiven himself."
Zegen is hard on Joel, but he enjoys playing a character who messes around with the lives of the other characters. In fact, when he first began playing Joel, he saw him completely as the bad guy in the story. He said:
I embraced playing the antagonist. Playing a villain is the most fun you can have as an actor. And to be honest, I didn't know that they were going to try to redeem him in the end. I thought he was supposed to be the villain.
Even though Zegen sees Joel as a the villain of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, he still thinks the character is super relatable. In fact, he's all the more real because of his flaws. Joel is simply trying to figure out who he is and what he's supposed to be doing with his life. That definitely sounds like a lot of people I know, and apparently like a lot of people Zegen knows, too. He said:
[Joel's] flawed, and I love that they explore the fact that he's flawed. He's still trying to find something that he's good at. I mean, he's not good at stand-up; he hated his job at the plastics company. So the reason I say that he's the realest character is because he doesn't know what he wants. I've been fortunate in my life that I've always known what I wanted, I've always wanted to be an actor since I was a little kid, but I have friends who are my age who don't know what they want. So that's why I feel like it's so real.
For all the Joel-Midge shippers out there, Zegen holds out a little hope that the two will get back together, but with just one caveat. He said, "Maybe someday. Maybe someday down the line they'll both grow up, or at least he'll grow up." Although, Zegen isn't too optimistic that even then it would work for Joel and Midge. He said, "But I think by that point she'll be too big for him."
Well, maybe someday Joel will grow enough to win Midge back. But until then, Zegen is not holding his breath for his character.