There are moments during Huge in France when you can perceive what the show might have been—a semi-satirical, semi-screwball comedy about the acute insanity of modern-day fame. The new eight-part Netflix series exists in a meta universe similar to HBO’s Entourage, in that it’s loosely based on the real experiences of an actor and comedian, Gad Elmaleh. The plight of the show’s Gad (he refers to himself in the third person, alors, c’est vraiment Gad) is that he’s a huge star. In France. In real life, this is also true for Elmaleh, who by most metrics is a bona fide celebrity: He has 1.8 million Instagram followers, he once sold out Paris’s Olympia theater for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks, and his former partner is the granddaughter of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly. In France, Elmaleh is Jerry Seinfeld. In America, though? If a celebrity lands in a city where no one has ever heard of him, does he make a sound?
These are the kinds of existential questions Huge in France is positioned to consider. In the show’s lightly fictionalized universe, the world-weary Gad is getting tired of constant adulation and anonymous sex with beautiful young women. His ennui crests during a montage in the first episode as a mournful Gad comes offstage to the screams of thousands of fans, plays piano in his dressing room, wanders disconsolately down the street while being pestered for selfies. “But what’s it for?” he asks his manager. When he gets a phone call from his ex-partner, Vivian (Erinn Hayes), asking him to sign over parental guardianship to his Los Angeles–based son, Luke (Jordan Ver Hoeve), Gad sees an opportunity: He’ll leave Paris, fly to L.A., reconnect with his child, and rediscover his raison d’être.