A Netflix Show which attempts to emulate Parisian Chic, but falls flat.
Words By Robyn Cowie and Claire Cunningham
Emily In Paris, starring Lily Collins is a 10 part new show on Netflix, which fails to launch. Don’t get us wrong, the show is perfectly entertaining, watchable and at some points humorous and yet, you finish the first series you leave feeling dissatisfied and if anything a little hollow.
Emily In Paris is all about Emily Cooper, the classic, modern American woman, who manages to land a dream job in Paris for an exclusive and elusive marketing firm. Her purpose is to bring her ‘American view’, e.g. her social media and current marketing skills to this modernise traditional firm. As Emily gracefully flounders her way in this new world she unwittingly amasses a large social media following with her daily selfie holding a baguette. The show is a mixed bag of light escapism.
One of the shows strongest aspects which causes the most joy was the presentation of Paris, the city, itself. As we are still unable to galavant off to the city of love, this show allows us to be whisked away and take in all of the leading sights, Parisian energy and cultural points which we are currently unable to see for ourselves. Other good factors which make this show bearable, is the attractive cast. It is an undeniable selling point when a show is made up of beautiful, idealised people of a variety of ages, and we get to watch them socialise, work, party and trawl the streets of an idyllic, almost sterile Paris. Lily Collins, ever stunning, unfortunately plays a character that just happens to have little …character. Through the series we are given access to elusive events, from fancy parties, chateau’s, fashion shows, art gallery opening, luxury brand and michelin starred restaurants, we get to observe the good life, a trope which made others shows like Gossip Girl so successful in the past. Another strong point is the show is easy. It is an interesting enough watch, with the stakes never being too high and the humour being light. Emily in Paris, may not win any awards but is great for background noise.
Now for the negatives, if you read any other reviews about this show you will see phrases like, embarrassing, the French are mocking and critics hate it. And it is hard to argue with them. Short fallings within the series include the hollow friendships and questionable morals of all characters involved. The character of Emily uses her beauty as a shield behind which she pushes a steady stream of american values. My last favorite thing about the entire show was the takey uses of social media, every post we see of Emilys is straight of 2016 hashtags included. Her marketing strategies are generic. She is not the master marketing genius she is made out to be, but simply a woman doing her job and not quite earning her keep. We fail to connect with the so-called stakes of the show. From limp love triangles, to misunderstandings, overly eager escapades and her actual firing, the whole point of the show in the first place, is a none plot point. Stereotypes of french ideas of mistresses, sex and relationship leave us as a viewer having no real relationship or friendship for that matter to root for. All in all, the show should have tried to avoid revolving around outdated stereotypes and cheap plot devices.
And finally, for the ugly. This show is already out of touch and dated. Emily is Paris is created by Darren Star, who created the groundbreaking show Sex and the City, which first aired in 1998, this classic, highlgy successful and culturally significant show, has not aged well, and yet Emily in Paris has the same issue, the only difference being Emily in Paris has already aged badly and does not fit with the expectations of shows in 2020. Simply put we expect more from our shows. But our biggest bug bear with the show as a whole is that it is a wash with every French and American stereotype one can think of. From their attitudes on work ethic, sex, cheating, Americans themselves to the stark contrast between Emily’s cool and aloof office, compared to her own eager and uncothed determination. For example, on her first day, Emily arrives at work at 8:30am sharp, raring to go, only to be left waiting until the French office casually opens by a cool 10:30am. These constant stark contrasts grow tiresome as the show fails to move past these simple stereotypes. Another failure is Emily’s own inability to truly integrate into Parisian society. If we had to take a shot everytime she stated she was American, you would be drunk. It goes to a point of ignorance with her inability to integrate into her new life, where her culture is not the dominant one, regardless of the reason for her being there in the first place is to offer that American perspective, because simply it just comes off as patronising.
The show caused uproar recently when it was nominated for two Golden Globes and this resulted in social media going wild. Many people highlighted that other, more deserving show’s, such as I May Destroy You, failed to be nominated at all. Even one of the show’s writers wrote a very public article addressed to Michaela Coel, praising her work and stating her own confusion as to how Coel’s show was snubbed from the nominations. Just be grateful, that when it came to the recent award show’s events, although nominated for two Golden Globes, the show was mocked rather than praised throughout the ceremony.
Overall if you are looking for a light show that you won’t need to be emotionally or mentally invested in Emily in Paris can offer a stylish distraction. The best advice we can offer is don’t think it as there is really very little under the surface.