What to do if it Turns Out Your Child is Actually a Surreal James Franco Performance Piece

So your young child does something totally and completely out of character– says something he would never say, or does something she knows full well she is not supposed to do.  Of course, your first thought is to go:

Please let me hide under a blanket for eternity so I do not have to take responsibility for this behavior,” but if you’re up on pop culture your second thought may be:

Whoa, what if this isn’t my child at all? What if this is some weird, intricate James Franco art installment?

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James Franco does a lot of crazy, unpredictable stuff.  He showed up on General Hospital, playing himself, then wrote about it for The Wall Street Journal, labeling it “performance art.”  He curated a weird German art exhibit, got into full drag for the cover of a transgender magazine, and went back to school to get like 19 different degrees from 7 different elite universities.  He re-interpreted Three’s Company as a dramatic short film, and once showed up to an interview in a hot air balloon.

And so here you are, looking into your child’s enormous, long-lashed eyes, facing the very real possibility that this is not even your child, and that these eyes actually belong to James Franco, who is in the middle of making a bold, artistic statement about something.

Everyone has been a child,” he probably thought, “but no one has documented it from the inside in a step-by-step multi-year process.”



  1.   Your child is mysteriously “nowhere to be found” during big celebrity events like the Oscars or during James Franco movie premiers.
  2.  You rent 127 Hours and rather than cheerfully watch the movie with the family, your child watches it with a critically raised eyebrow, taking notes on a legal pad about “things he wishes he’d done differently.”
  3.   Your child is inexplicably always hanging out with Seth Rogan.

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Any of these hitting home?  Newsflash– your child may actually be James Franco.  Here’s the good and the bad.

Cons of discovering that your child is actually James Franco:

1.       Ok, so given that this is not your child, you are going to have to somehow track down your actual child, who James Franco has probably left on the set of some Judd Apatow movie.

2.       From this point on you will never fully trust the authenticity of your moments of parent/child bonding, since you will forever be thinking, “Ok, so I think this baby is staring lovingly into my eyes but I’ve been through this before and how can I be sure any of this is real?”

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Discovering that your child is actually a James Franco art piece can be difficult to process, especially when you’re not into performance art and “don’t really get it?” Luckily there are some big positives to it as well.

Pros of discovering that your child has actually been James Franco this entire time:

1.        You know James Franco!  If you’ve always wanted to try acting, or you’ve been working on a screenplay, maybe he can pass it along to his agent.   He owes you, after that time you took care of him that whole week he spent throwing up in his crib.

2.       Money! If you’ve spent a bunch of money putting James Franco in daycare, or upgrading to a two-bedroom so that he could have his own nursery, odds are he’ll reimburse you.  If I know James Franco (and I totally don’t, for the record), he’ll even throw in a bunch of extra money because, through his art, he understands the inconvenience of this whole ordeal.

3.       If your child ever did anything that horrifically embarrassed you, congratulations! You are now one hundred percent off the hook. “Please forgive me,” you beseech the other passengers on your airplane.  “But this isn’t actually my kid that’s been hysterically crying for 40 minutes, this is James Franco trying to make a point about something.”   “I’m so sorry,” you can tell the mother of the crying girl that your child inexplicably punched before covering her in Nutella and green ribbon, “but just so you know, that wasn’t actually my child. It was James Franco, the actor.”  To which the other parent will inevitably respond, “What the heck are you talking about?  Get away from my kid, you freaking lunatic.”  At which point you will go, “No, for real, this is a performance piece!” which will cause the other parent to take their real actual child by the arm and go, “Let’s get out of here, Indigo, this person’s a total nutjob.”

And it is only at that point that you’ll look over at your sweet child, a.k.a. James Franco who will be quietly playing with an IKEA cash register.  And as the two of you make eye contact you’ll suddenly break into a wide smile as you utter the words you never thought you’d say:

“Whoa dude.  I GET it.”

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If you enjoyed the piece or if it even made any sort of sense to you, congratulations, there’s a chance we’re living in the same weird universe.  If you’d care to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, do it!  If you’d like to sign up to follow the blog, enter your e-mail in the black box in the sidebar!  I’m trying to post about once a week.  Posts are usually less weird than this.  If you need more information on weird stuff that James Franco has done, here’s a link.

7 CommentsComment

  1. this sounds interesting but a bit confusing in coincident

  2. This makes almost too much sense.

  3. I’ve unaccountably stumbled across your blog…and am smitten. The James Franco riff perfectly captures postpartum surrealism (and by postpartum, I mean POSTpartum from infancy to teendom and probably beyond) . And that butternut squash thing….so real — I once had a butternut squash that waited for my dream of a great soup from October to late February (looked perfect until I tried to pick it up…and it melted in my hands). I love the way you think!

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      even after writing that post I still regularly try and fail to make that soup

  4. This also works if your child is 24. I feel much better now. Thank you.

  5. If James Franco is your child then who is attempting an art performance piece through my cat? I don’t “get” much about this kind of stuff. Maybe my cat is John Malchovick played by John Cusak? Too confusing.

  6. You’re a genius, you know that? And is that James in the car commercial or is that my kid? *mind blown*

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