Warning! SPOILERS ahead for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4.
Midge and Lenny’s relationship in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel continues to evolve, leading many to wonder when the pair will finally take the next step, but Lenny’s character is based on the real Lenny Bruce, a comedian whose history may mean dark times ahead for Midge. As Midge’s relationship woes have included her ditching the handsome and successful Benjamin (Shazam! actor Zachary Levi) in season 3 and several failed returns to her (sometimes ex) husband, Joel, many are wondering if Midge’s true soulmate isn’t the mysterious and doting Lenny Bruce. The real Lenny Bruce’s life, however, may mean a long, dark road ahead for Midge.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4 picks up with Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) back in New York trying to rebuild her career after having been fired from her world tour with mega-star Shy Baldwin. Beginning the series as a happily married wife and a stay-at-home mom living on the Upper West Side, Midge’s life is turned upside down when her husband, Joel, has a breakdown and ends their marriage. Midge then takes to the stage and discovers her untapped talent for stand-up comedy, and the show follows the ups and downs of her career while she attempts to manage her love life and the difficulties of co-parenting.
Through it all, Lenny Bruce has been a friend and love interest for Midge since the series’ inception, with Lenny supporting and even bolstering Midge’s career from season 1. In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3, Midge and Lenny almost take their relationship to the next level, however, the pair dodge again, leaving the future of their relationship to “someday,” to which Lenny asks, “before I’m dead?” and Midge replies, “It’s a date!” As the real Lenny Bruce died in 1966 after years of drug addiction and depression, the pair’s flirty contract takes on a different meaning, and may be The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s hinting at Lenny’s character’s true fate.
As seen in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the real Lenny Bruce had a long history of arrests, a pattern that only increased in the years before his death. Arrested numerous times throughout the 1960s, Bruce was practically run out of Australia and even barred from re-entering England after performing there in 1962. It was his arrest at the legendary Café Au Go Go in Greenwich Village in 1964, however, that led to his being blacklisted in New York, an act that many see as the last straw for the comedian. Elena Nicolaou (via Refinery 29) claims that “The 1964 New York arrest broke him… After that, Bruce’s drug use (especially heroin) increased significantly…” Only two years later, in 1966, the real Lenny Bruce died from a drug overdose at his home in Los Angeles.
What this means for Midge and Lenny in upcoming seasons is still unclear. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4 begins in 1960, which means that Lenny’s life is about to get very dark. However, the comedian’s legal woes happen largely in other parts of the world while Bruce is on tour, and his death occurs after he has moved to Los Angeles. This could mean that Midge and Lenny act upon their relationship in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before Lenny’s life spirals toward tragedy, and they have already parted ways, or it could be that Midge and Lenny never get the chance – however, Lenny’s comment in season 3 seems to hint that the series will show at least some of the comedian’s real-life struggles. Regardless, the real Lenny Bruce’s tragic death is a heartbreaking end (whether on screen or off), and sure to mean grief for Midge in the upcoming final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
New episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel air Fridays on Amazon Prime.
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