“Life doesn’t care about your vision. You just gotta roll with it.” This is the advice that Ben Stone’s (Seth Rogen) dad gives him in “Knocked Up” after he says he never envisioned having a kid this young. That line of wisdom could practically be the tagline for the series “Irresponsable,” which is, in many ways, the French counterpart to the Judd Apatow hit. Both center around feckless but lovable man-children who accidentally become fathers. Both witness them struggling to leave their own juvenile behaviors behind to step up to fatherhood. And both follow their hapless efforts to win the hearts of the women who give them way too many chances. Oh, and of course, both are absolutely hysterical.
In “Knocked Up,” Katherine Heigl plays Alison, an ambitious journalist who gets pregnant after a drunken night with perennial stoner Ben. Though they barely know each other, Alison gives Ben the chance to prove that he can be a worthy father and life partner.
In “Irresponsable,” Julien is a 31-year-old unemployed forever teen who moves back in with his mom and spends his days smoking weed and playing video games. (In another universe, he and Ben would probably be friends.) When he runs into his high school girlfriend, she reveals that she had their baby 15 years ago, which explains why she had split town on him without warning all those years ago. Soon Julien realizes that the kid he just tried to score weed off of is his own son—oops.
While “Knocked Up” follows a more conventional storyline of “immature man changes, in spite of himself, to win the girl and achieve personal growth,” a more unprecedented tale transpires in “Irresponsable.” It’s the first time we see father and son being too similar for their own good. Internally, Julien is the same age as his son, Jacques, and therefore they have all the same interests: getting stoned, playing video games, and hanging out in outdoor forts. They’re father and son but they’re also new best friends, which makes Julien’s role all the more confusing. Can he stop hanging out with his son long enough to actually parent him?
Maybe, but not before they crash a high school house party, get into a physical altercation with a drug dealer, and end up at the police station. You know—typical father and son stuff.
But amid his aimlessness and clumsiness, Julien shows glimmers of parental aptitude. His parenting style might be a bit unorthodox—for example, buying his son’s classmates alcohol to impress him—but it shows that underneath his disheveled exterior, he’s got a big heart and a large capacity for caring. And it doesn’t go unnoticed by Jacques’s mom, Marie, who is now a teacher at Julien’s old school. Is there still a spark between the former high school sweethearts?
Like Ben, Julien’s not exactly a heartthrob. He’s gawky, even cartoonish at times, and perpetually dressed like a college freshman who’s late for class. But none of that matters when he’s got potential for redemption—plus, Marie and Alison are the types of women who can look past awkward surfaces. There’s a reason why the “lovable loser getting the girl” trope is so popular (see “Weird Science,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Superbad,” “Angus,” and so on). If you’re a fan, you will, without a doubt, fall in love with Julien and root for him.
So does he get the girl in the end? Just because they’ve found each other again and Julien and Jacques get along swimmingly, that doesn’t mean Marie’s letting him into their lives completely, especially when he’s jobless and homeless. What will finally get Julien off his mom’s couch? It’ll take a miracle, so to speak.
Watch “Irresponsable” on Topic here.