While Julia has enjoyed praise for quite some time, and maybe men not getting it, a woman criticizing her program is taken to heart.
|Aired (HBO Max)||4/28/2022|
|Directed By||Jenee LaMarque|
|Written By||Daniel Goldfarb, Christopher Keyser|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Fred Rogers||Rob McClure|
|Betty Friedan||Tracee Chimo Pallero|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
With Julia being honored for her work in public television, even with only a season under her belt, she is quite excited! There is going to be a trip to New York with the whole team, including Alice, and Julia is even going to speak! However, problems arise as finding a 12-size shoe is an issue, followed by Paul getting sick. Then, to add onto things, Blanche and Judith meet with Julia, and while Judith is as excited as always, Blanche leaks out her lack of enthusiasm for Julia’s world.
Now, mind you, it isn’t anything against Julia as it is Blanche being upset Judith is so latched onto Julia that she isn’t focusing much on anything else. This leaves Blanche upset, for here she is, grooming Judith for greatness and her focus is on cookbooks. But, despite Blanche’s comments, Judith remains committed to Julia.
Speaking of commitment, once more, Virginia tries to hook up Alice so that she can have grandchildren. Mind you, Alice has three older brothers who could deliver what Virginia wants, but she’d rather hone in on Alice. So, to make her mom happy, Alice goes out with a man named Isaac while in New York. Isaac just passed the bar, but his heart has drawn him to be a public defender rather than join a lucrative position at a law firm. Alice finds this interesting, as he does public television, and the two seem to hit it off.
The same can’t be said about Avis and Paul, though. While Julia is with Judith and Blanche, Avis is tasked with taking care of Paul, which she only volunteered to do since Julia was going to skip her meeting with Blanche, and Avis wanted to avoid a date she scheduled. However, she didn’t realize that Paul can be quite the baby when sick, which doesn’t bring her fond memories as much as it does a headache. But, in dealing with Paul, we learn that Avis usually has a bone to pick with him due to her envy. In Julia, Avis found a co-conspirator. She hasn’t had that since her husband, Bernard, was alive, and Julia brought her out of her shell. So, Paul is sometimes a reminder that Avis can’t have Julia all to herself.
But, as we’ve seen thus far, neither own Julia, for she now belongs to the world! As the gala shows, she is quite beloved and a hit, but not with all. A feminist named Betty Friedan objects to the message she feels Julia puts out there. She calls Julia a bad example and hurts her feelings to the point not only does Paul step in, but Russ as well. Luckily though, as Julia tries to collect herself, Fred Rogers, calm as a cucumber, helps Julia calm down and remember more people like and love her than feel as Betty does.
Things To Note
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Did anyone else learn Alice made the deals for Julia’s show yet?
What Could Happen Next
- Alice trying to have a professional and personal life
- Russ learning to appreciate the work he does with Julia, and her place in his life
Russ Understanding Julia’s Influence In America
Even with her success at WGBH, a lot of the men don’t fully understand Julia’s appeal. They recognize she is profitable and that they can make money off of what she does, but as for her specific appeal? They don’t fully get it.
But I think it clicked for Russ recently. After spending so much time with her, him defending Julia makes it seem he gets that because Julia makes mistakes, has fun with them, and touches the lives of so many, whether a housewife or not, she can’t be pigeonholed. Julia is a quiet but moving force. One who may not be for everyone but for those who give themselves time, they’ll get it and even come to love it.
Isaac and Alice
Who says you can’t have it all? Granted, it may just be for one night, but there is no denying the stars are aligning right now for Alice. With Julia securing her spot on the show she helped get greenlit, she is at the forefront of a massive cultural shift. This show could make her career and her work to make it profitable? That’s next level.
So to have a date with someone like Isaac who is attractive, educated, has charm and humor? Yes, he lives hours away and is working on a time-intensive job, but phone calls are an option. Giggle fits after a long day are possible. I mean, attention from a quality person is always a highlight when they come into your life, right? And while they are more so compatible than have bombastic chemistry, it is still a sight to see.
Understanding Why Avis and Paul Have The Dynamic They Have
Avis’ animosity towards Paul has been lowkey but obvious. Originally, it seemed to stem from him doing too much, and it appeared he had a need to be involved in Julia’s success since his life had become stagnant. In this episode, you could submit there was the vibe that, especially after San Francisco, maybe Paul wanted Julia all to himself while on vacation, hence him acting like he is dying.
Now, I won’t say that shouldn’t be considered, but now it appears the big issue is just that Avis herself has also latched onto Julia. But with Paul being Julia’s husband, that means Avis is #2, and while she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Julia, she loves her and recognizes she has to compete with Paul to a certain degree. Which he makes a real pain since he has the ability to bring the best out of Julia and really champion her, yet he can also be a ball and chain when he wants to be. And I’d submit, increasingly, he doesn’t appear to be focusing on being an asset as much as figuring ways to snatch Julia back from the world who wants her.
Julia, Fred, and Betty (Featuring Blanche)
When the men presented their condescending opinions of Julia early on, it was based on ignorance. Tall, awkward woman wanting to do a cooking show? What? However, it is different with Betty and Blanche. With her low opinion of television and only slightly higher opinion of Julia, Blanche may recognize Julia makes her company money, but she isn’t prestigious enough for her taste. She may even dislike her for the same reasons Betty does, in terms of Julia not giving the world, or specifically women, a champion in the form of those who work for a living outside the home?
It’s hard to say, but you do have to appreciate the show reminding you that as lovely as Julia is, she isn’t universally beloved, and for some, it is with detailed reasons beyond the superficial. Betty noting how Julia creates food that takes hours, maybe even more than a day, and summarizes it all within 30 minutes creates higher standards for women to reach is valid. Maybe not across the board, but you can’t deny with how most men have talked about their wife’s cooking and how many women talk about trying it, Julia isn’t exposing people to new meals and precedents.
But, in a way, perhaps Betty and Blanche are supposed to be a counterbalance to the usual Fred Rogers level of love Julia gets? Just to let you know, it all wasn’t open arms and beaming faces.
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