In the beginning there was an omelet: a review of the series “Julia”

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Julia (series, 2022 -…)
Season 1, biographical, drama

Jane LaMark, Melanie Myron, Charles McDougall, Erica Danton, Scott Ellis

Sarah Lancashire, David Hyde Pierce, Bibi Newwirt, Brittany Bradford, Fran Kranz

In 1962, after traveling in Europe, Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) returned to her native United States with her retired husband, a diplomat. Appearing once on local television, Julia thinks about her own culinary program. Its goal is to acquaint ordinary Americans with exquisite French cuisine and make their lives much tastier.

In the TV content that comes out every week in endless numbers on all streaming services at once, it’s easy to get lost and even drown. Hardly all shows will be able to instantly knock out the status of the so-called comfort watch (comfortable viewing), as does “Julia” – invisibly, old-fashioned, unappealable, with a recognizable aroma. With a postscript: for those viewers who during “Julie and Julia” in 2009 with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams had few scenes with Mrs. Child (both plot lines of the film, however, are equivalent).

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child in the frame of the series
Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child in the frame of the series “Julia”

Despite his privileged status and giant book bestseller behind him, Child is going through those still thick thorns on the way to recognition: from atypical for sterile television appearance to elementary sexism. While a loving but overly righteous husband sees no point in buying a TV, Julia dreams of her own audience. For her, food is an instant destiny, a travel blog and an endless catalog, true love, regardless of having a French snobbish education. Everyone can cook, Julia is sure, so who are we waiting for? It is Julia, our whole life.

The series is gradually and slowly immersed in the creation of “French Chef”, Child’s program. Having treated a boring professor of literature to a branded omelet, Julia goes through all the stages of industrial hell. The initial refusal of TV editors prompts her to promise to pay for the pilot episode of the show, buy food, cunningly circle her husband’s finger and other bosses. In eight episodes of “Julia” it is necessary to draw a portrait of the most hospitable chef and unite all the loyal colleagues who helped to create her image. From the African-American Alice, who came up with the idea for the show, to her fighting friend Avis – behind every successful woman there are a few more ready to bake bread, soak beef glands, help arrange food, stretch knives. Retired spouse Paul also rushes to the embrasure, because the revolution was not built immediately, in the 1960s with dusty content from monotonous men in hats it was clearly awaited.

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child in the frame of the series
Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child in the frame of the series “Julia”

The choice of the British Sarah Lancashire for the role of an American icon may seem risky to some, but the same Strip, it’s scary to say, completely loses to her. The Lancashire Treasure, known in England for the detective story “Happy Valley”, fantastically captures all the intonations of Julia: the sharpness of the voice, his theatricality, positivity and melancholy, more and more often by the end of the season overcoming her behind the scenes “Boss”. The witty script shuts up the recent playwright Sorkin’s “Being Ricardo” from the same era, because Julia is a kind of comedy legend and scientist. Each of her performances is comparable to a performance (from stuffed duck to chicken in all guises) and is accompanied by middle-aged gags without notes, from which she herself gets great pleasure (as well as from food).

David Hyde Pierce as Paul Child in the frame of the series
David Hyde Pierce as Paul Child in the frame of the series “Julia”

In the penultimate series, the heroine is confronted by the famous feminist and activist Betty Frieden, reproaching Child for promoting the household and maintaining the image of a happy wife who feeds her husband after work. One of the characters remarks: you completely missed its essence. From modern times, the scene seems superfluous and, in turn, does not fully understand the struggle for emancipation, especially from the standpoint of male screenwriters who worked on a particular episode. But, even rejecting the slight demonization of the militant Frieden, the audience sympathizes with the child-free Child and sympathizes with her as much as possible. Stepping over the stream of doubt, she traveled to the center of food and soul, encouraging the greedy and thirsty along the way, making her companions happier, just like the unfailing Hollywood clichés, but sincere.

The figure of Child is well worth a long study, so the series will probably be written the second season, as chicken broth for colds (the question of the need to continue is still on pause). According to the interim results, “Julia” is an excellent companion for the documentary of the same name, as well as a sum of feelings, fantasies and hard facts, a love message for loyal fans and wandering the Internet for the consolation of nomads. Bon appetit, let’s cook and live on.

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