SPOILER ALERT: This article contains major spoilers for events of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel thus far.
When it comes to Midge Maisel's love life, she's like an overcaffeinated hummingbird. She and estranged husband Joel have played the "will they or won't they?" game for so long, their ring fingers must be rubbed raw from removing and replacing their wedding bands. Then there's the Benjamin of it all. He's a tall drink of water (emphasis on the tall) and crazy about Midge. But in the season two finale, Midge comes to the realization that her one and only love is her comedy career. It's a bold, feminist choice, especially for a character who's lived such an unfeminist, sheltered life.
That being said... Midge has a tendency to change her mind. Fortunately, she has only good options. If she sticks with comedy and cuts out the men, she'll thrive. But if she decides to give romance another shot, she has two men who are crazy about her. But who's a better fit? Read on to find out five reasons why Joel is better for Midge, and five reasons that Benjamin is, on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
10 Joel: Charming rebel
Gaslight Café employees notwithstanding, Joel Maisel has the effortless ability to win over any room he strides into. Between his quick wit and bad boy charm, he easily lured Midge away from her Melba Toast college boyfriend. Midge lives like she dresses—bright and exuberant. She needs someone who's as daring as he is caring. Seeing as Joel proposed via standing in the middle of traffic, there's no doubting he fits the bill.
On the other hand, Benjamin's the type of guy at parties who hangs out by the hors d'oeuvres and doesn't talk to anyone. Midge always likes to be front and center, and Joel makes the perfect partner in crime.
9 Benjamin: Plays by the rules
Then again, there's something to be said for coloring inside the lines. Midge goes from spontaneous to reckless at the drop of one of her many hats. For wild personalities like hers, it could be the best thing to have a partner like Benjamin keeping her grounded.
While he may not makes as many friends as Joel, Benjamin certainly makes fewer enemies. Like Midge's family, for instance. Joel never bothered getting Abe's permission to propose, but Benjamin is sure to do his due diligence. Though this tradition may be rooted in sexism, it is the 1950s and Benjamin wants to get off on the right foot with his potential future in-laws. Given that Abe refers to Midge's first marriage as "the Joel fiasco," Benjamin is playing it smart. He shows that stability can be sexy.
8 Joel: No threat of boredom
Midge could do with some slowing down every now and again, but with Benjamin there's risk of stasis. They're still in the honeymoon stage of their romance, but when that ends there's every chance that Midge could find Benjamin a total snoozer.
That'll never happen with Joel. Before they split, Joel and Midge's life couldn't look duller...on paper. He works and she stays at home raising their children. Hardly original. But when we first meet the Maisels, their life is a blast as they go to comedy clubs and whoop it up with the Clearys. Should Joel and Midge reunite, things would be different but their mutual love of adventure would remain steadfast.
7 Benjamin: Exposes her to new things
It's definitely easy to envision nights where Benjamin wants to stay in and Midge wants to go out. That could be problematic, but when Benjamin is game for a night out, he doesn't take her to the same ole regular joint. He takes Midge to new places she wouldn't have dreamed to visit. Benjamin's an art buff so he invites Midge to a show.
Midge is a stranger in a strange land, but that hardly bothers her. She observes pretentious art buyers as if they're animals on a safari. Benjamin may not have Joel's charisma, but he challenges Midge in ways Joel doesn't. In the season finale, Midge says she can't go back to Jello molds. With Benjamin, she'll never have to.
6 Joel: Their history
If these two crazy kids could just get on the same page, all would be right with the world. Why? Up until Joel's early mid-life crisis caused him to lose his mind and leave, he and Midge were a well-oiled machine. Their home life was peaceful and their sex life was active. Plus, they're both used to each other's crazy families. Is Benjamin really ready for Yom Kippur with Midge's neurotic father and judgmental mother?
Maybe not, but it's old hat to Joel. If he could just get over his ego and accept Midge's comedy career, he'd realize the best place for him is under the same roof with his wife and children.
5 Benjamin: The "spectacular" line
No matter how great the wordsmith, a mate shouldn't solely be selected for their ability to turn a phrase. That being said, Benjamin made us weak in the knees when he shifts a conversation about a painting to his feelings about Midge—"It's pretty spectacular. Though 'spectacular' takes on a much different meaning when a person's met you."
Okay, okay, maybe that reads cheesy from the glow of a smartphone. But go back and watch. Benjamin says it in the most earnest, genuine way, it melts even the most cynical of hearts. The best part of it all is that he isn't some smooth talker; Benjamin only says what he's thinking. And we think he's head over heels for Midge.
4 Joel: She goes to him in a crisis
When life is a bowl of cherries that's coming up roses, even the most dysfunctional couple looks like Romeo and Juliet—in the version where they don't die, that is. But what about when the chips are down? After a sleazy club manager stiffs Midge and Susie, Midge calls Joel for help. He comes running, roughs up the manager, and gets the women their money, all without breaking a sweat.
It's easy to see why Midge didn't call Benjamin. The good doctor likely would have given up before resorting to fisticuffs. But the situation goes beyond Joel's ability to throw a good punch. Even after all he's put her through, Midge isn't ready to let go of Joel. She likes having him there for her and that speaks volumes.
3 Benjamin: Supports her comedy career
Anyone else get dizzy in the romantic whirligig that is Midge and Joel? At the end of season 1, they were all set to get back together and then... POOF! Their reunion goes up in stale comedy club smoke. The reason? Joel's ego rears its ugly head. He can't bear the thought of Midge onstage making him the butt of a joke. It's him or Midge's career.
Benjamin has no such qualms. On their first date, in typical Midge fashion, she blurts out her then-secret about being a comedian. Like most things, Benjamin is cool with it. He goes to her gigs and basks in how talented she is. Granted, Midge has never made any jokes at Benjamin's expense. But even if she did, we doubt he'd mind. If anything, he'd be laughing harder than anyone else in the room.
2 Joel: Chemistry
Your partner may be caring, supportive, funny, dependable. Insert any other positive personality descriptor here. But if you don't have that spark, you don't have a romance. Even with that spark, it's still not enough. Midge and Benjamin have it, but will it last?
Joel and Midge have taken their spark and turned it into a roaring bonfire. Even when they're at each other's throats, their banter is out-of-this-world steamy. Before Midge begins her life alone, it's Joel who she goes to for one last night of intimacy. Just try not to get hot and bothered by the last shot of Season 2, where Joel grabs Midge by the hand, pulls her in close, and locks his lips onto hers. You feel the heat.
1 Benjamin: Knows what he wants
Fine. So Midge and Joel have a chemistry that would impress even Walter White. What then? If they were to reunite, who's to say Joel won't blow it all up in five minutes for some insanely stupid reason? That's how they got into this mess in the first place.
Benjamin couldn't be wishy-washy if he tried. Whether it's ditching a Broadway show at intermission or leaving the Catskills after he's finished his token box of cereal, when Benjamin makes a decision, he sticks to it. He chose Midge. End of story. Benjamin is a man; Joel is a charming schoolboy.
Midge, you're married to your comedy. But if you ever want a mistress, choose Benjamin.