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Julia's depiction of menopause is revolutionary

  • "It meets the subject head-on, without apology," says Tara Ellison, pointing out that the Julia Child HBO Max drama is the rare series where older women aren't an afterthought. "In Julia, series creator Daniel Goldfarb and his team approach Child’s transformation not as a punchline but as a real and complex issue in a woman’s life," says Ellison. "It’s rare to see menopause handled onscreen with that degree of sensitivity. Child is not the only locus of attention in the series for older women, a category long overlooked by Hollywood. The characters of Avis DeVoto (Bebe Neuwirth), Child’s best friend, and Blanche Knopf (Judith Light), Child’s publisher, have emotional heft, gravitas and heapings of snappy dialogue. Both women are fiercely intelligent, formidable and in their primes." As Ellison points out, Hollywood has often depicted “the change” as a form of death or at best a comedic device, from Money Heist to And Just Like That. "There are exceptions, of course, like Pamela Adlon, fighting the good fight and openly discussing her struggles on the recently concluded Better Things, or Fleabag’s Kristin Scott Thomas, who delivers a uniquely freeing take on menopause that The Times’ own Mary McNamara called 'the best three minutes of TV ever.' But Julia doesn’t just avoid skirting the subject; the series leads with it."


    • Julia was pitched as a Julia Child fable: "The pitch was Julia’s second act, to pick up with her time in Boston in the ’60s," says creator Daniel Goldfarb. "Even more so, the pitch was the invention of the first modern marriage. We would start with a warm, loving marriage, but it would be the 1950s version of marriage. Over the course of the season, the marriage would evolve into a true partnership. In Hollywood terms, it was Mrs. Maisel meets The Crown. (Laughs.) We had a lot of conversations about the women’s movement and celebrity and public television and feminism. There were all these themes we could explore, and we could use Julia as this iconic public figure whom people don’t know that much about behind closed doors. Chris and I always talked about this as the Amadeus version of Julia Child’s life. Everything in this season could have happened, and maybe did happen, but didn’t necessarily happen. But it was all inspired by the research we did."
    • Will cooking through Julia change a viewer's relationship with their kitchen?

    TOPICS: Julia, HBO Max, Daniel Goldfarb, Women and TV