The series Julia has been inspired by the life of the legendary Julia Child, who was the first contributor to the food channel. Created by Daniel Goldfarb, this series is about her dreams and aspirations to ensure that every housewife has access to her wonderful recipes. She had gone out of her way to break the societal taboo that women’s talents were only confined to the kitchen. She has shown the world that a housewife like her has the power to influence the lives of others and portray her talent to the world without any hint of hesitation. The period drama set in the 1960s has been beautifully executed by Sarah Lancashire, Fiona Glascott, Brittany Bradford, and others. Will Julia be able to make herself proud of her talents? Let us find out!
What Does Julia Do To Start Her Television Show?
Julia Child had worked hard on her cookbook, “The Art of French Cooking,” and wanted to promote it on a television show. She did not gain as much attention as she had expected for her book. Instead of talking about her book on the show, she was more focused on showcasing her cooking skills. This indicates that initially, she was unaware of how publicity worked and was solely dedicated to her skills. She had later tried writing a letter to Alice Naman, the associate producer working at WBGH, regarding her interest in starting an educational cooking show on their channel. Initially, her ideas were laughed at, and the associates working in the channel did not approve of her requests. Her husband, Paul, was not supportive of her and thought that the idea would not work. Alice, being a woman, understood the struggle of another woman during that era and tried to back her up as much as possible. She highlighted the point to the higher authorities that there were more than 27 requests pending to watch more recipes of Julia on television.
When Julia comes over to the office, she tells Alice that she will pay for all the equipment and the food for one trial episode. She had full faith in herself that the channel would keep lingering around for more of her recipes after watching one episode. She was initially unable to convince her husband about the episode and had also hidden that she was paying for all the equipment from her book’s royalty. The plan of a masterpiece always sounds like a flop before it gets successfully executed, and that is just what was happening in Julia’s case!
What Problems Does She Initially Face?
We see a lot of female support that the character of Julia garners while facing backlash from the male segment of society. She receives tremendous backlash from Rush Morash, an employee of the channel, who believes that shooting one trial episode would be a waste of time and resources. On the other hand, she has full backing from the strong female characters of Judith, the editor of her book; Avis, her close friend; and Alice, who believes in Julia’s talent. They had all supported her in practicing before the trial episode. Later, when she reaches the set, she realizes that the setting is completely different from her kitchen. She was extremely nervous and messed up the time slot for the episode and the dialogue deliveries. Her amateur attempt at conducting the trial episode does not sit well with Rush, and he decides not to air it. Later, his boss, Hunter, summons him and says that his wife is appreciative of the show, and he approves of airing it. Rush tries all means to belittle Julia’s efforts by bringing up the issue of cost, and Julia agrees to cover all the costs of the show. She starts taking cooking classes at her home to raise money to fund her show. Paul notices the dedication of his wife and eventually supports her in her quest.
Does Julia Eventually Gain Fame?
When a few of her episodes air, she receives an unexpected gaze from the housewives of America. The Boston Globe, a daily American newspaper, had written an amazing article, highlighting her show in particular. This did not sit well with Hunter, as the other shows on the channel were criticized. Julia attains immense fame among the circle of housewives, and she starts getting invites to various literary meets to talk about her book and her show. Alice starts getting calls from other fellow stations in San Francisco about airing Julia’s shows, and she takes up the opportunity to pitch the show. This leads to KQED, another channel, saving a spot for Julia to promote her show “The French Chef” in San Francisco. Alice, however, does not get any appreciation for this, and the entire credit is stolen by Rush, bringing out the sexist and racist approach of society towards Black women during those times.
We see a gap created between Julia and Paul when they reach San Francisco. While Julia gains fame, Paul is not able to sell a lot of his paintings in the gallery. His male ego seems to be hurt when he sees his wife attaining greater fame in a short time. Julia also meets her longtime friend James there and has a good time with him, which disturbs Paul’s mental peace to a certain extent. However, we see maturity in the character when he decides to understand his wife’s passion and supports her instead of opposing her dreams. We see Julia rising to fame because she kept her family and friends close. Even after attaining fame, she does not seem to let go of her old friends and remains grounded. On the completion of the first season, she is approached by Hunter for the second season, but she claims that Alice was made the full-time producer and the bills for the food would be paid by the channel. She knew that her show had made her indispensable, and she could have claimed something for herself; instead, she chose to empower other women.
What Makes Her Walk Out Of The Show?
While Julia’s show has garnered a lot of admirers, it has also attracted several critics. The crew of “The French Chef” had been invited to a gala in New York. Blanche, the head editor, invites Judith and Julia to lunch and asks them to focus on the next book. While she amiably talks to a French chef in the restaurant, he tells her that she should not be cooking as a woman and should leave quality cooking to the male chefs. This acts as a major blow to Julia’s self-esteem. When she attends the gala, she receives a lot of honors. Her pride is shattered when a young woman, an author of a book, puts her down by telling her that she was misleading women and making them believe that their worlds were confined to the kitchen. She also made allegations that her show was a sham and was responsible for hampering the careers of many women. This affected Julia so much that she promptly made the decision to discontinue her show, letting down many people who relied on her as a pioneer for women’s entry into television cooking.
Why Does Julia Change Her Mind?
The way women have been uplifting other women in the series has been highlighted throughout. When Judith has a word with Blanche, she gets to know that she is going blind and decides to become her eyes. She knows that Blanche was a very career-oriented woman who could not live without work, and hence she wanted to become her support. Meanwhile, Julia shoots the last episode of her show. Just when she decides to retire, she gets a call from her old friend, Simca, in France, who tells her that she dreamt of them making food together, that she should go to France at her place, and that they should again start cooking together. This instills a sudden realization in Julia that she would not be able to live without cooking, and she decides to renew her contract for a second season of her show. However, before starting the second season, she decides to take a long break and go meet Simca in France.
What To Expect From Season 2?
From the trailer for the second season of Julia, it is quite evident that it is going to be more dramatic as compared to the first. There will be increased pressure on Julia to maintain the name that she has achieved! However, the documentaries of Rush are going to have a great conflict with Julia’s show and are likely to stand on its path to success. We are also likely to witness a rift between Julia and Avis. A more capitalistic mindset of the channel is yet to come out, but we will have to see if Julia stands firm to her morals or gets carried away by more economic influx. The second season is likely to be loaded with comic twists and will hopefully not be a disappointment for us!