If you’ve looked at Netflix’s top ten recently, I’m sure you’ve seen a new original show called Emily in Paris. Personally, I hadn’t heard anything about this show until Netflix presented it to me, but I found myself pretty excited by the premise. After all, I’ve studied French since high school and have always had a romantic dream of traveling to Paris, so I figured this show might allow me to live vicariously through its main character. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Emily in Paris, while somewhat entertaining, is overall a rather flawed show that gets more wrong than right.
One of my largest critiques is that Emily is a pretty unlikeable main character. While I love Lily Collins (who doesn’t?), the character she portrays is narcissistic, selfish, and uncompelling. Despite the whole premise of the show being connected to Parisian culture, Emily begins the show speaking zero French and resorts to only communicating with English speakers or attempting to translate on her phone. Her attempts to learn French are minimal at best throughout the show, which only serves to present her as someone who wants to enjoy French culture without even putting in the work of learning the language. She is frustrated when people don’t speak English, and she even makes jokes about how “messed up” the language is. While these incidences are meant to be humorous, all they really do is make Emily seem ignorant and unlikeable.
Another aspect of the show I dislike is the way they handle Emily’s romantic relationships throughout the show. Somehow, every man she meets both speaks English and is completely in love with her, which leads to several random love interests throughout the show’s ten episodes. Yet, despite all of these side interests, Emily’s main romantic conflict is with her friend’s boyfriend, Gabriel. Gabriel essentially cheats on his girlfriend multiple times, and the show still expects its viewers to sympathize with his feelings for Emily. Though the tone is supposed to be light-hearted, it was hard for me as a viewer to ignore how morally wrong the relationship was.
Overall, Emily in Paris is a show that can only really be enjoyed on surface level. If you’re hoping for a complex insight into French culture or a witty show of female empowerment, you should probably look elsewhere. There are many flaws in both the characters and the thematic elements, making for a bit of a cringe-worthy watch.