'Huge in France' takes a critical look at the work culture of career-obsessed millennials
Most of the characters in 'Huge in France' are driven by their career interests, around which the conflict in this satirical drama is built
Gad Elmaleh's 'Huge in France', a satirical comedy that is loosely based on Elamleh's own life, touches upon many issues relating to identity, social class, and social media influence, although it does not delve deep into any of them.
The eight-episode first season of the Netflix series revolved around comedian Gad Elamleh — who is, as the title more than just suggests, "huge in France" — and moves to LA to reconnect with his son.
Once in the US, Gad realizes that his fame and celebrity status does not exist outside France, but makes peace with it for his teenage son Luke, played by Jordan Ver Hoeve, and ex-girlfriend Vivian (Erinn Hayes), whom he had alienated early in life.
As season one came to an end, we saw that Gad has almost left comedy for his reunited family. And that Jason Alan Ross, Vivian's boyfriend at the beginning of the show and who the model-actor Luke considers his "real father", has lost everything except a glimmer of hope that comes in the form of a call from Fox casting.
But Vivian is still the control freak girlfriend, Luke still the snooty teenage model, just that now they had replaced Jason with Gad.
While it did look like Vivian and Luke did this mostly because Gad was able to easily get what Jason couldn't for Luke's launch into his modeling career -- an expensive pair of pec implants and contacts in the industry, the desperation of the mother-son duo and even Jason's downfall sheds light on the very millennial struggle of trying to be as successful as possible, career-wise, and early on in life too.
While the character of Vivian portrays an exaggeration of the booming world of social media influencers with her innumerable retakes for the perfect Instagram post and pretentious spiritual 'Exhale' retreat, her and Gad's son Luke is the poster-child for the career-driven, ambitious, on-edge millennial. 16-year-old Luke's goals are focused and he is obsessed with the New York fashion week in which he wants to feature. Luke is a stressed out, tantrum-throwing teenager with the classic "errand paralysis" — a condition associated with millennials who feel burnt out by doing simple everyday tasks like doing the laundry or sending an email.
Luke is evidently tipped off by the slightest threat to his budding career in modeling and needs someone to take care of his emails and fitness records.
Jason Alan Ross goes on a downward spiral through the course of the show, after he takes up an audition for a Fox show that he really wanted to feature on. Jason had given up his acting career partly for Vivian and Luke and partly because it never took off. But the audition shakes things up, and Gad takes Jason's place in the family. While Gad may be the protagonist of the show, you cannot help but sympathize with Jason, who did his best by always putting Luke and Vivian before him and never got the career break he deserved, despite being a great actor.
Scott Keiji Takeda's character Brian -- Gad's assistant who tags along and helps him in plotting against Jason and getting back into Luke and Vivian's lives -- also has his career-driven motives which drive him to recreating his own identity as a struggling youngster living in his car, while he actually has a home and perfect family as he himself confesses towards the end. But this image would not help him with building a career as a comedian, he says on the show.
Season one of 'Huge in France' dropped on April 12 and the stars have teased a second season although there is no official confirmation yet.