‘Huge In France’ Netflix Review

April 12, 2019
Andy -Punter 0
Netflix, TV, TV Reviews
4

Summary

Huge in France is well observed, well performed, sad at times and very very funny.

4

Summary

Huge in France is well observed, well performed, sad at times and very very funny.

At the center of the Venn diagram for a Netflix show about stand up comedians, based on an episode of NPR’s This American Life podcast, is a picture of me laughing uproariously feeling very seen.

Huge in France is a comedy series now streaming on Netflix and follows the semi-autographical life of Gad Elmaleh, the Jerry Seinfeld of France. In his own country, he is famous, rich, successful and adored. When he comes to LA however, his notoriety counts for little and he is in for a rude awakening.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]It seems as though Elmaleh has found a good outlet for this rich vein of experience.[/su_pullquote]

This is show is very funny, with much of the humour coming from the fish out of water element and the resulting discomfort this causes Gad as he learns to both navigate the world as a ‘normal’ and the strange image-obsessed world of L.A. Anyone can write awkward ‘and you are…?’ gags but what sets this apart is the fact that much of this is very likely to be rooted in experience.

The first I heard of Gad Elmaleh was in an episode of the NPR Podcast This American Life where he talked about how he really did move to L.A. in an attempt to make it as a comedian after years of success in France. At the end of the segment, they concluded that the funniest stand-up material he could mine was to focus on how he couldn’t get a gig to save his life in America because not only does nobody know who he is, they don’t really want to know. It seems as though Elmaleh has found a good outlet for this rich vein of experience.

Further to the humour is a big ol slice of pathos. Gad is the father to an LA-based teenage son who resents him for abandoning him so he could further his career. His incredibly vain son wants to make it as a model and looks up to his vacuous step-father as a role model. Gad spends most of the series attempting to ingratiate himself with his son and make amends. There is quite a bit of pain on both sides depicted here for both father and son and their gradual reconciliation is one of the pleasures of the series. It is frustrating watching their exchanges at times but that just makes the emotional impact of the show feel that much more earned.

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