Review of Gad Elmaleh’s show “Huge in France”

Gad Elmaleh’s “Huge in France” is like selecting a book at random off a library shelf and immediately diving into a novel so good it’s as though it was written specifically for you. I have seen people on the internet — specifically The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert whom I deeply respect — saying it is “almost good.” This, to use a word from my burgeoning French because we apparently must do so when reviewing this show, is incorrect. “Huge in France” is not almost good. It is entirely excellent.

Everyone in it is top notch, the writing is all solid storytelling above and beyond mere joke delivery, and the direction rides the difficult line between story and humor with utmost care and precision. If you’re a fan of a show like Arrested Development or 30 Rock I think you should give Huge in France on Netflix a try immediately, even — perhaps especially — if you’re a crusty old no-fun humor writer like myself.

I don’t know how this show got made, but someone with Gad’s level of success could easily have made a self-congratulatory victory lap of a show. That would have undoubtedly have been less expensive and less work. What they’ve made instead is a comedy, in my opinion, on par with any sitcom ever made.

To dismiss what the cast of this show has done as “almost,” anything is absurd. I would cheerfully give my left arm to be able to write for people this committed. Hell, I’d offer an option for the right arm as well. Everyone is a standout, which means to me that the show took care with the casting and the director respected that cast once they arrived.

I’ll run down the main cast one by one with a quick summary of their work in this show:

  • Gad Elmaleh – Hilarious
  • Matthew Del Negro – Rare to see a guy this ripped and good looking with such huge comedy chops. Put him in everything immediately.
  • Erinn Hayes – Her work could have been a self-referential mockery of the inherent silliness of her character, but she instead owned it, respected it, and slayed it.
  • Scott Keiji Takeda – Thoughtful offhand deliveries were perfect. Hilarious.
  • Jordan Ver Hoeve – It’s gotta be hard work to deliver every line with smoldering intensity for an entire season, but to let it slip once would have ruined the whole thing. He did not slip even once.

I also loved seeing Chris D’Elia poking a little fun at himself as the dick-obsessed standup and Scott Keiji Takeda’s character playing the part of comedy pundit/apologist.

In short, this show is amazing. Watch it.

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