Emily in Paris, released on October 2nd, is a cinematic confection of the Parisian fantasy: soapy, campy and très cliché.
By the creator of Sex in the City, Darren Star, Emily in Paris follows a work-obsessed woman who is unapologetically herself and has a wildly mismatched wardrobe. Emily Cooper, interpreted by Lily Collins, moves to Paris from Chicago for an unexpected once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity; she is tasked to bring the “American perspective” to Savoir, a Parisian marketing firm specialised in luxury brands.
Emily is the kind of American who arrives in Paris wearing a beret and expecting a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower; she is extremely cringy, stereotypically American and viewed by the French as “ringard” (vulgar).
Despite her obnoxious character, throughout the ten episodes, we savour her life in Paris. With multiple attractive and rich romantic interests, a love triangle between her, her friend Camille and her hot downstairs neighbour, her leisurely lunches with pain au chocolat and baguettes, a growing Instagram account, and the scenic views of the Seine. Emily’s new life in Paris is a hallucinatory reality.
However, Emily does encounter some problems here and there – she steps on dog poop, her shower stops working, her neighbour’s sex sometimes keeps her awake, and she has some challenges at work that she manages to brush off. But generally speaking, Emily’s life is gracious. Even French television presenter Marjorie Paillon suggested that “Emily in Wonderland” might be a better title for the series. But the fantasy that is presented by the plot is exactly what makes the series so binge-worthy; the escapism that it provides during such a challenging year. Emily in Paris is easy and struggle free, which does not come in shock as the creator of the series, Darren Star is a purveyor of fantasy; even Sex in the City is a dreamy cliche of New York.
Despite the series becoming one of the most-watched romantic comedy on Netflix, it has been criticised for its caricature of France and its people. From extramarital affairs, rude shop keepers, women who have a cigarette for lunch to snotty and arrogant French colleagues. Emily in Paris is truly a cheesy souffle of cliches and stereotypes. However, that does not take away from the fact that it is the five-hour escape that we all have been seeking for. It is addictive and definitely a guilty pleasure. Emily in Paris is worth a watch.