James Franco must have sensed us forgetting about him, because he wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post about how great McDonald’s is. The reason for this sudden outpouring of love is that, as James says in his first line, “McDonald’s sales have slumped.” And I’m sure an essay from a weird Hollywood actor talking about the weird stuff he did when he used to work there is exactly what they need.
Because yes, James worked at McDonald’s after he dropped out of college to attend what he calls “a hole-in-the-wall acting school in the Valley.” And yes, most of this op-ed isn’t actually about McDonald’s, but rather about James Franco being James Franco. I went ahead and rounded up some of my favorite quotes from his little love letter for your perusal.
1. When he makes this extremely relatable statement:
“All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was.”
I feel ya, dude. Sometimes you’re having a rough day, and nobody understands what you’re going through. But then you stuff a Big Mac in your mouth and suddenly everything’s okay.
2. When he talks about his past employment:
“I had very little work experience. In high school, I was fired from a coffee shop for reading behind the counter and from a golf course for reading while driving the cart on the driving range.”
Wow, reading while driving a golf cart? That’s a new one. I bet all the golfers watched him pass and sang, “Look there he goes, that lad is strange, no question! A most peculiar mademoiselle!” (Just go with it.)
3. When he shares this strangely worded detail:
“All the waiter jobs were taken by more experienced actor/waiters.”
I’m assuming he means they were more experienced at waiting tables, not acting. Pretty sure no restaurant owner looked at Franco’s resume and said, “I just wish you had been in more stage shows.”
4. When he says what we all assumed:
“I refrained from reading on the job, but soon started putting on fake accents with the customers to practice for my scenes in acting class.”
Of course he did. He simply wouldn’t be James Franco if he hadn’t.
5. When he references River Phoenix just because:
“I had been a vegetarian for a year before working there because I was obsessed with River Phoenix, a staunch vegetarian — he actually cried on a date with Martha Plimpton when she ordered soft-shell crabs.”
We get it. He’s your idol. I thought this was supposed to be about McDonald’s.
6. When he shares this backstage tidbit:
“I hate to whistleblow, but everyone ate straight from the fry hopper. You’d walk by and snag a fry and pop it in your mouth. So easy. I also put tons of salt on the fries because that’s how I like them. I don’t know if the customers ever complained.”
Someone remind me, how does admitting any of this help McDonald’s?
7. When he hints at a gay hook-up.
“I got hit on by the hamburger cooker. He wanted to hook up in the bathroom, but he didn’t speak English, so he had someone translate for him.”
Well, did you accept or not? Either way, why would you suggest that employees hook up in McDonald’s bathrooms if the whole point of this piece is to get people to like McDonald’s? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
8. When he gets pretty “meh” about the experience towards the end:
“I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack.”
Wait a minute, I thought McDonald’s was the only one who cared about you. Now they just treated you “fairly well”? Did you not think anyone would read this far?
9. When basically he says he never eats the food:
“I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries. After reading ‘Fast Food Nation,’ it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat. But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.”
So you like it… but you don’t trust it… but you’ll eat it if it’s the only thing around… and you’ll like it… and you want McDonald’s sales to improve… even though you hardly eat it yourself. What is happening? Am I being Punk’d?