Emily in Paris Season One: A Review

This series takes place over 10 episodes and each episode is approximately 27 minutes, except the finale which is 34 minutes. This review does not spoil a lot about the show but will talk about minor details in the plot.  

If you had to choose one place with a rich history, bread and wine, would it be Paris? This is where the story of Emily in Paris takes place. The series begins in Chicago, Illinois, where we meet Emily Cooper (Lily Collins). She works for a marketing company, the Gilbert Group, who has recently merged with a French marketing company, Savior. Emily finds herself having to relocate to Paris to fully merge the two companies when her boss, Madeline, suddenly finds out she is pregnant and unable to make the trip. So, Emily gets on a plane to Paris alone and her journey begins. She goes on to meet Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) her handsome chef apartment neighbour, his girlfriend Camille (Camille Razat), and the former Chinese idol contestant Mindy (Ashley Park). Before I get into my review I must say that I cannot be critical about Paris or the workplace culture there because I have never experienced it. Therefore, I will be leaning most of my criticism towards Emily and her development, or lack thereof. This series is the perfect example of a rom-com. You have a single girl in Paris who constantly runs into her handsome neighbour, who she fantasies about, thinking he is single, but then finds out he has a girlfriend who then becomes one of her best friends. This first season is nothing but complicated but that is what makes it thrilling to watch because you do not know what is going to happen next. 

Emily should not be any different from characters we have seen on TV or in film who experience a drastic change when placed in a new environment which exposes their flaws, and requires the character to work on themselves and experience personal growth, right? However, when looking at Emily’s development throughout the series it is almost stagnant. What I mean is that throughout the series we see the same unchanged girl from beginning to end. When Emily comes to Paris she has everything, a boyfriend, lots of confidence, an expensive wardrobe, and attractive men trying to charm her. In the final episode, everything stayed the same minus the boyfriend. When comparing her character from the first episode to the last, her character is interchangeable because there was no challenge she faced in the show that caused her to grow as a character that we would be able to identify.

Furthermore, she comes off as very pushy in her attempt to make her French workplace ‘Americanized’ and the shows makes the ‘American way’ seem better than the French way. For example, in episode three, when Emily is fed up with how her new French co-workers are treating her, she has her friend from the Gilbert Group send over a list of workplace rules everyone in the Savior office must follow. It is understandable to want to be treated with respect when entering a new work environment, but Emily never bothers to understand the French work culture. She almost never speaks French in the office and expects everyone to speak English, and she attempts to over-step boundaries with her boss, Sylvie. How do you expect to gain respect from your new co-workers if you only care about French food and architecture and never bother to learn French beyond a basic level? When looking beyond her character my thoughts can be summed up about the series in these four questions. 

Do I think this is the best series ever created by Netflix? No.  

Do I think this is a fun, sometimes cringy, drama that is filled with clichés and appeals to fantasy? Yes.

Do I think this is a good distraction for a couple of hours from school and world events? Yes.

Do I think they can turn this series around with a second season if done right? Absolutely.

I wanted to share some insights on the series if you were ever on the fence about watching it. I would say that this series has grown on me even though the first season has made some choices I do not particularly agree with. I see the potential in turning this series around to really deepen Emily’s and other main characters' stories while being able to keep the atmosphere fun and lighthearted. I would love to see what they do for a second season if Netflix chooses to continue with the series to see where Emily ends up.