The Julia: Chartwinkerie episode contains so much humor, starting with the word “chartwinkerie.” Paul (David Hyde Pierce) makes it up on the spur of the moment while he and Judith (Fiona Glascott) are having a cooking challenge match. She tosses him a package of Twinkies and he’s forced to make something of them, including a name. There are spoilers ahead.
Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) makes an important decision in this episode. Two men from CBS come to Boston and take her and Paul out to dinner. They ply them with offers of huge money to move The French Chef to CBS. In a funny scene, the men keep passing cards across the table to Julia and Paul showing viewership and money.
WGBH is having a fund raising drive. Hunter (Robert Joy) gets in front of the camera asking for donations. Nothing much is happening. He brings Julia into the mix. She offers to go to the home of the first person to donate $100 and cook them a meal with lots of butter. Every phone line rings immediately.
Julia stays in front of the camera after that. She offers one more home based meal, then tells Hunter no more of those. She talks with everyone, flirts with all the men, jokes with the hand puppets from a children’s show and generally charms money out of the audience. They reach Hunter’s goal of $2500, a huge sum, thanks to Julia.
Alice (Brittany Bradford) hears about the offer from CBS. Alice has some great ideas of her own for Julia, including getting her into the White House kitchen to prepare a state dinner.
Julia wants Russ (Fran Kranz) to be her director. They finally have to face the fact that Julia doesn’t like working with Elaine Levitch (Rachel Bloom) – or possibly any woman – as her director. The character Elaine, like the character Alice, is a fictional character. Her presence in the last few episodes has been used to show that although Julia Child supported many feminist causes, she wasn’t perfect at it.
Stanley (Danny Burstein) and Avis (Bebe Neuwirth) are registering voters. This keeps Avis away from Julia and the show as she nurses her hurt feelings. Julia has her own hurt feelings because of being ignored by Avis. They finally make up at the end of this episode. Thank goodness. I didn’t want that friendship to end!
If you know anything about Julia Child, you know she stuck with public television and resisted the offer to move to CBS for a big paycheck. She felt she had a home at WGBH and she loved her team (well, except for Elaine). In a season with the theme of change, this one thing is going to stay the same.
Melanie Mayron directed Julia: Chartwinkerie, which is streaming now on Max.