Taking women out of a ''cultural blind spot'. Netflix's 'On the Verge' finds a ready audience with its candor about age.

Julie Delpy does not mince words when it comes to women and age. ''Fifty is not the new 30,'' she said during a recent video call from her hotel room in Paris. She was there to promote her television creation, the 12-part series ''On the Verge,'' which she wrote, oversaw and stars in.

''There's almost a cruel thing about women that if we can't procreate anymore, what are we?'' said Delpy, who also directed several episodes. ''And then you become a grandmother and you exist again in your seventies. You have this dead zone.''

A coproduction from Netflix and Canal+, '' On the Verge'' is a sometime absurd and yet all-too-real comedy that followed four mostly well-off friends in Los Angeles as they grapple with middle-age - only to realize that after all these years, they still have no clue what they're doing.

The idea seems to have found a ready audience : After its debut last month, the series quickly cracked the Netflix Top 10 in the United States, reaching No.7 by the weekend.

So much for dead zones. And not bad for a talky, slice-of-life series that also toggles between English and French.

Delpy, 51, has made a career out of creating and portraying worldly female characters in films where most of the action takes place on a walk, on a train or around a dinner table.

It hasn't always been easy getting those characters from page to screen, she said, but it has been especially tough since she started writing about women her age.

The usual romantic comedy formula often shows women in their 20s and 30s failing up and struggling to figure things out, and it's supposed to be cute. But by a woman's 40s or 50s - the part that comes after the happy ending - she is meant to have herself all put together, right?

In ''On the Verge,'' that notion is, literally, a joke.

''I loved how all our characters were just beginning to find their confidence when they are about to turn 50,'' said Elisabeth Shue, executive producer and star in the show.

She described filming one particular dinner party scene from Episode 2 that, for Shue, wasa perfect reflection of Julie's artistic sensibility.''

''It was just a lovely mixture of insanity and humour born out of insecurity and chaos,'' she added.

In the series, Delpy plays Justine, a successful chef with a bustling restaurant. She is writing a cookbook while working long hours at the restaurant, raising a young son and enduring a barrage of passive aggressive insults from her sulking, out of work husband.

She plays her friend Anne, a clothing designer with a trust fund, a vaping habit and a husband who is struggling to accept their gender-fluid son.

The Tony winner Sarah Jones plays Yasmin, a mother and wife who gave up her career and is desperate now to reclaim something of herself. Alexia Landeau [who co-wrote several episodes and is executive producer] plays EII, a jobless single mother of three children by three different dads.

Despite the characters' struggles, ''On the Verge'' is very much a comedy, and Delpy isn't afraid to crack jokes about serious topics like the stresses endured by working mothers, toxic masculinity or ageism.

In one early scene, Yasmin is interviewed by a woman half her age and is told that she is, basically, too old. When Yasmin starts to panic and clutches her chest, the young interviewer asks if she is having a heart attack.

The scene details an experience that will resonate with many women. Delpy gives the audience permission to laugh, even as they're cringing.

''I'm 46, not 96!'' Yasmin shoots back.

The World Students Society thanks author Dina Gachman.


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