My Critical Review of “Emily in Paris”

*Spoiler alert*

As an avid Lily Collins fan, French major, and Chicago habitant, you can imagine I was quite excited for the debut of “Emily in Paris” on Netflix. I was expecting “Sex and the City” humour combined with French acting and a stunning Lily Collins strutting throughout Paris. However, upon finally getting to start the built up series — my hopes immediately fell. 

Although Lily definitely struts throughout Paris in her amazing outfits, I have to say the fake dialogue and absolute lack of realism in the show really killed it for me. To begin with, we have got to talk about the intense use of stereotypes in this show — I mean come on, it was like the writers looked up “Chicago and French stereotypes” and drew their ideas straight from the list. 

Emily, played by Collins, starts off the show from Chicago where of course she’s at a Cubs game with her boyfriend and shows up just as they win their big game! That’s what all Chicagoans do right? Even when discussing being from Chicago with one of her Parisian co-workers, the only topic of discussion that comes up is deep dish pizza, and Emily makes the perfect reference that the co-worker must have gone to “Lou-Malnati’s.” 

But then, she arrives in Paris and I thought, well maybe things can improve, and I was starkly wrong. First, Emily is living in a “chambre de bonne” and let me just tell you — they don’t look like that. 

A “chambre de bonne” is where servants used to reside and are known to be tiny with very few amenities on the very top floor of the building. They are typically used for students as they are a cheap way to live in Paris, so I think a good equivalent of a “chambre de bonne” is a dorm room, with even less kitchen space. This is NOT what I saw Emily get to live in with full space and a beautiful view of the city.

Next, let's talk about how mean and lazy the French workers and people are made to look throughout the show. Although I will not defend Emily for not learning any French customs or language before arriving in the city, the show makes them look so hateful towards Emily for her lack of French knowledge. 

Paris streetview Montmartre cafe with pink flowers Photo by Marloes Hilckmann from Unsplash Additionally, they make them look so typically lazy as the stereotype goes. They show up to work at 10:30 am (this of course baffles the American Emily), and they always remind Emily that “they work to live, while Americans live to work,” which although somewhat true, is just used to contribute to the show’s romanticism that Paris is a dream land where no one works and everyone simply drinks wine and has sex.

This brings me to my next point, the show makes it seems as though every attractive Frenchman is awaiting you at each corner, just begging you to have sex with them. What a world for Emily I guess; however, in my opinion, it makes both herself and the character development of each male fawning character quite shallow. 

Beyond these intense stereotypes, Emily’s life is just too fantastical to keep up with. Her best friends throughout the show include an extremely wealthy nanny, a rich handler for art galleries (who’s family of course owns a champagne vineyard), and an amazingly talented chef at a local Parisian restaurant — what a trio. 

person holding fan multinational bills Omid Armin/Unsplash Of course, she happens to meet each of these people either magically on the street or in her building, and a side note — people do not talk to their neighbors in Paris, just no. Even beyond these great friends who she happens to all meet by episode three, her career could not be better. 

Emily saves the day through each and every crisis with her fantastical marketing skills and gains everyone’s attention for being the amazing American to take note of. As if the French don’t know how to market — I mean have you heard of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Hérmes to name a few?

But this narrative of the American coming to save the day even encompasses its own stereotypes such as (you guessed it) when Emily becomes an Instagram influencer. When this started, it was hard to keep going, but alas, Emily’s selfies gained her thousands of followers almost overnight, giving her the availability to meet with famous artists and business owners that of course want to work with her, boosting her career even further through the roof. 

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The season finally ends with Emily hooking up with the man that the show had been setting her up with the whole season (shocker), the hot chef who happens to be her neighbor and is also dating her friend…this must be the "Sex and the City" writing at last. 

This ending that surely sets up the series for a second season, was not a bad one and in fact, caught my interest much more than the early episodes of the series. So all in all, the show presents some humorous scenes, great fashion and more stereotypes than I can count. 

If you enjoy escaping from utter reality you might enjoy the show. Personally, all I saw was a jaded storyline simply set in Paris this time around. At this point, I can’t exactly say whether or not I’m looking forward to a second season, but I can only hope we see a bit more depth from each character and their lives if the show goes on.