Julia, episode 7, “Foie Gras”

Sarah Lancashire in Julia

The “Foie Gras” episode of Julia was directed by Jenée LaMarque. In this episode Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) went to New York City to give a keynote address at a gala for public television. During her visit she met both pleasant and unpleasant people.

This isn’t a review of the episode. I’m picking up on one specific theme. Let’s talk about fame and how everyone has an opinion about you and what you’re doing when you’re famous. Julia had to face a lot of it in this episode.

Julia, Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott), and Blanche Knopf (Judith Light) had lunch at a famous French restaurant. Blanche was rude and belittling toward Julia, but Julia handled it with grace. Then the chef, Andre, came out. After telling Julia how impressed he was with her, he said, “Leave the real cooking to the men.”

Julia even took this well. She went back to the hotel where Paul (David Hyde Pierce) and Avis (Bebe Neuwirth) had been sparring all afternoon while Paul lay sick in bed. The scenes between Paul and Avis were wonderful, but that’s not the point. The point is Julia rewrote the speech she planned to give at the gala because of her conversation with Chef Andre.

She spoke about cooking being a voyage into a culture and a kind of travel. She talked about the value of public television. She was fabulous.

Seated back at her table, she bumped into Betty Friedan (Tracee Chimo Pallero). Friedan told her in the most unkind way that her program was not helping women because it kept women in the kitchen.

Fran Kranz in Julia

Paul told Betty Friedan she was rude, and Russ Morash (Fran Kranz) actually stuck up for Julia for once.

Despite her defenders, that insult from Betty Friedan got to Julia. She went out into the lobby and sat down on a couch. She was near tears.

Rob McClure in Julia

A kind man, instantly recognizable as Fred Rogers (Rob McClure), spoke to her. She said some of the people inside hated her, and he answered “I like you. I like you just the way you are.” This was before Fred Rogers had his own show on public television. He was simply a kind man in the lobby.

Fred cheered her up a bit. (Later, Julia went on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and made spaghetti.)

There’s one episode left in the season, and the preview hints at the idea that Julia might be so discouraged by the critics that she’s close to giving up the show. We know that didn’t happen, but it will be interesting to see how she pulled her self-confidence and mental toughness back together and decided to stay on television.

I can’t imagine the treatment famous people go through nowadays. Everyone on earth has their own bullhorn and is shouting their opinions about everything all day long. Some are supportive, and some are disgusting, but everyone is a critic. What an onslaught to face.

One more episode

Sarah Lancashire in Julia

I’ve already sad that there’s but one more episode in this season. One thing is clear – Sarah Lancashire is killing it as Julia Child. She can sit down on a couch in a way that makes you believe she’s every inch of 6 foot 2. Every move she makes, every word she speaks, every subtle facial expression – she’s brilliant. Yes, even I’m a critic.

7 thoughts on “Julia, episode 7, “Foie Gras””

  1. Interesting fact I googled as soon as I saw him, Me Roger’s was on public television in Canada. The Children’s Corner starting in 1953 and then Mister Roger’s from 1961 until they moved it to the US.

  2. Pingback: Julia, episode 8, "Chocolate Soufflé" - Old Ain't Dead

  3. I got here in a search for who played Fred Rogers in this episode of Julia. Rob McClure embodied Mr. Rogers’ warmth so well—and in so few words—I knew it was supposed to be him before he introduced himself. :’)

  4. Everything Sarah does is exemplary, IMO, and it’s so satisfying to see that her work is appreciated and applauded.

    Anyone encouraging Julia Child to discredit or doubt her kitchen prowess as an act of feminism ridiculously, utterly fails to see her towering, original example of it.

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