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TV Recap: ‘Julia’ Season 1 Episode: 6 “Bread vs. Sweetbreads” – Julia’s Community of Women

Spoilers Below

INTRODUCTION

In Julia Season One Episode Six, ” Bread vs. Sweetbreads,” directed by Melanie Mayron, Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) re-shoots an episode of The French Chef. The French Chef staff starts the week excited about their time off. During a review of an edit of the next The French Chef episode, Director Russ Morash (Fran Kranz), Julia, and Alice Naman (Brittany Bradford) spot some wrinkles on a film reel. Most of the film reels are useless, meaning they will have to re-shoot the episode. The team can’t afford to take a week off. Julia decides that she has demonstrated how to cook too many French chicken dishes, so she changes the recipe to a sweetbread dish.

Julia must spend the week creating a script for “Sweetbread” and shooting the brand-new episode. Meanwhile, Russ is completely exhausted from doing his job and helping take care of a newborn at home. The director hands over some of his responsibilities to associate producer Alice who’s thrilled to take on a more significant role in producing The French Chef. However, she quickly becomes overwhelmed. Volunteer production assistants Avis DeVoto (Bebe Neuwirth) and Dorothy Zinberg (Lindsey Broad) can’t properly take on their typical roles in production this week. As a result, Alice must do three-time consuming jobs for one week. She decides to hire proper production assistants to take over Avis and Dorothy’s roles in The French Chef.

Book editor Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott) takes a week off from work to assist Julia with the bread chapter of her second cookbook. Unfortunately, Julia no longer has the week to herself and can’t figure out how to bake the perfect loaf of bread. Instead, Judith must spend her time experimenting with Paul Cushing Child (David Hyde Pierce) until they master the French loaf. Thankfully they successfully figure out the recipe. Sadly, Julia’s father, John McWilliams (James Cromwell), dies.

The ultimate professional, Julia, films the “Sweetbread” episode the next day. She dedicates the whole episode to her father.” Bread vs. Sweetbreads” ends with Hunter Fox (Robert Joy) negotiating with Julia for a second season. The French Chef is a big earner for WGBH because the show delivered them all these new affiliates. Julia agrees to a second season of her famous television show after Hunter promises to pay for all the ingredients and promote Alice.

JULIA’S TRANSLATION OF FRENCH CUISINE

” Bread vs. Sweetbreads” reveals the amount of work Julia does to figure out what recipes Americans need from French cuisine to bring joy to their lives. Julia calls her collaborator on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Simone Beck (Isabella Rossellini), about creating a recipe for bread because she doesn’t have the time to work on it anymore. Simone refuses to write the recipe because French homemakers don’t bake bread. The professional bakers, who are usually men, are the ones who bake baguettes or ficelle. Julia explains that the American bread repertoire only includes flavorless wonder bread or boring hot dog buns. She wants to bring delightful flavors to American palates through yummy bread like baguettes and brioche.

Julia doesn’t just bring French food to America but translates the cuisine for the public. Primarily by bringing dishes over that the general population needs and will enjoy. Then by writing these complex recipes so that homemakers all over the country can easily replicate them. Simone doesn’t follow a strict recipe when cooking because she works based on instinct. Julia was taught how to cook at Cordon Bleu later in life. She works with simple recipes to create delicious meals. Julia understands that most home cooks need everything broken down into easy-to-understand steps to enjoy cooking elegant meals. If directions are too vague, then homemakers will quickly grow frustrated and return to cooking dreary casseroles.

CHOSEN FAMILY

A whole village of women helps create The French Chef every week out of love for Julia. She pays them back in the sixth episode. After Alice “let’s go” of the volunteers, Avis sulks in Julia’s front garden. Alice argues that she can’t let go of somebody who’s not working for WGBH. Avis smokes and drinks as she complains about Alice firing them. Julia busily gardens during their conversation. She echoes the associate producer stating that nobody can fire volunteers.

Julia helps Avis realize why Alice may have decided to hire proper production assistants. Dorothy went on vacation during a week when they were shooting, leaving the production in a lurch. Then Avis almost throws up whenever she is near the sweetbreads meaning Alice had to do all the prep work and assist during the shoot on top of all her regular work. Avis leaves the conversation a lot calmer. She now sees Alice’s point of view. Though Julia makes sure Alice realizes how important Avis and Dorothy are to The French Chef.

Julia visits Alice at WGBH’s offices to tell her that Avis can’t be “put off.” She doesn’t want to replace Avis or Dorothy with paid production assistants. Alice explains that professionalizing The French Chef will make Julia’s life easier. The celebrity chef snaps back. She doesn’t think getting rid of the volunteers is the associate producer’s place. Alice bites back tears as she explains to Julia that she feels mixed up about her job. She has been hearing all these mixed messages about her responsibilities at WGBH.

Finally, the associate producer reveals to Julia that she sold the show to San Francisco. Alice took the celebrity chef’s advice to make herself irreplaceable, but nobody rewarded her for her efforts. Julia explains that she will never let Dorothy or Avis go because they are family. But Alice is also family. Without all three women believing in Julia, The French Chef would never have launched. Julia’s loyal to her chosen family.

The celebrity chef proves her devotion to Alice during her negotiations with Hunter. Julia wants to make sure that Alice receives the credit she earned for all her work on The French Chef. She refuses to sign off on a second season until Hunter makes Alice a full producer on their popular cooking show. Without Alice starting the ball rolling on selling the series to affiliates, the cooking show would not be the crown jewel of WGBH. Julia ends the sixth episode making sure everybody in her chosen family feels appreciated.

LAST THOUGHTS

” Bread vs. Sweetbreads ” leaves the audience curious to see where The French Chef Season Two will leads Julia’s community of powerful women. Let us know your thoughts on the sixth episode of Julia Season One.

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Written by Paloma Bennett

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