I Analyzed the Romance in Emily in Paris so you Don’t Have to


Developed by the creator of Sex and the City, Emily in Paris is a new television series centered around a bright and cheerful American girl named Emily. Despite mixed reviews praising it’s quirkiness and citing a bad portrayal of French culture, the show made Netflix’s top ten list almost immediately after their release on October 2nd. 

The show has some pretty wild plotlines, including the main one about Emily, a non-French speaking American moving to Paris as a consultant for a French marketing firm. Although the show is heavily focused on Emily’s career development, the spectacle of relationships and secrets are definitely a driving force behind the show’s popularity (after all, it was created by Darren Star.)

We are first introduced to Emily as she travels to Paris to act as an American consultant of the Parisian marketing firm, Savoir. She meets Gabriel, a chef and also her downstairs neighbour after mistaking his apartment for hers, and their instant chemistry is evident throughout the screen. 

Throughout the first four episodes, we see Emily exploring Paris, meeting very few friends, and getting to know Gabriel better as he helps her overcome language barriers. They finally decide to act on their mutual attraction for each other towards the end of episode four outside of the restaurant Gabriel cooks for, but their moment is shattered when Emily realizes that Gabriel actually has a girlfriend, Camille, who just so happens to be one of her only two friends in Paris. Fortunately, Emily decides to ignore what happened for the sake of her friendship with Camille, who remains unaware of the interaction between her boyfriend and her friend. 

Emily from Emily in Paris Darren Star Productions

The messy love triangle does not end there, however. In later episodes, the triangle of Emily, Gabriel, and Camille expands to include Mathieu Cadault, the heir of Pierre Cadault’s fashion label. To put this into perspective:

  • Mathieu is attracted to Emily;
  • Emily is intrigued with Gabriel and Mathieu;
  • Gabriel is dating Camille but likes Emily;
  • Emily and Camille are friends. 

Too often secondary characters are thrown under the bus and turned into complete villains to make the protagonists look better on television. What makes this increasingly complex matrix of friends and romantic acquaintances realistic is that none of the characters involved are bad people; they’re just characters who make bad choices, some of which have consequences. There may be mixed feelings, unrequited love, and temptations, but by all accounts this relationship triangle/square portrays realistic relationships to an extent. 

Emily in Paris currently has 10 episodes, each episode around 30 minutes in length. Given the unlikelihood of a second season gracing our screens anytime soon due to the pandemic, I took to Instagram for viewers’ opinion on whether Emily should end up with Mathieu or Gabriel in the second season, and popular opinion shows that although Mathieu is the more stable choice, Gabriel’s culinary expertise combined with the fireworks between him and Emily make him a love interest to root for despite his current life crises. What would you expect from Emily next season?