Kellyn Simpkin-Girl In Front Of Eiffel Tower France Hat Paris

'Emily in Paris': Honest Thoughts

Netflix’s latest TV show drop this October offers the escapism that anyone longing to drag their suitcase across the world is looking for. Emily in Paris features Lily Collins starring as Emily, an American girl whose job sends her to Paris for a year to work at a marketing firm. As a big supporter of any TV show or movie that combines a dreamlike backdrop of a big city with characters wearing outfits straight off my Pinterest boards, I was sold on Emily in Paris long before the show was even released. After screaming and aww-ing my way through all ten episodes (with several rewinds every time Emily’s main love interest Gabriel was on the screen) it became clear to me what worked for the show and what didn’t. With many outspoken critics making headlines for their disparagement of Emily in Paris, I feel obligated to pen my take as the target audience of a show like this. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Paris streetview Montmartre cafe with pink flowers Photo by Marloes Hilckmann from Unsplash

Like with many TV shows, it took a few episodes for the main character to become likable to me. Emily Cooper somehow has the perfect idea to save the day for her company in every episode (which is conveniently something none of her French coworkers are ever able to do) and has every man in France falling at her feet. She comes to Paris with little-to-no French-speaking skills and makes little effort to change this by the season finale. All of these repetitive quirks of hers would’ve gotten old quickly if not for the other characters that bring out the better side of Emily and the plot of the show. Sylvie, Emily’s boss, has a strong dislike for Emily from the start, causing a dynamic between the two women reminiscent of Miranda Priestly and Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. Mindy, Emily’s closest friend in Paris, provides refreshing side plots to the show that keep Emily from being the typical self-absorbed protagonist. 

For me, Gabriel was one of the highlights of Emily in Paris, for selfish reasons. The handsome up-and-coming Parisian chef that lives below Emily was a treat to watch in every episode, making me want to purchase a plane ticket to Paris immediately, in hopes that all of the men there look like him. Though I had very complicated feelings about his relations with Emily, specifically because his girlfriend Camille was both the sweetest character and had an even more enviable wardrobe than Emily, it was hard to not want Gabriel and Emily together after watching them share so many endearing moments. I wish that the romantic pair’s storyline was written in a way where cheating and screwing over a good friend weren’t promoted in order for the feature romance of the show to develop. I also would have liked to see a lot more diversity within the cast, or, at the very least, amongst her string of love interests, who happened to all be similar-looking white men. 

paris eiffel tower and city Photo by Andrea Maschio from Unsplash

The cinematography of Paris was undoubtedly the best part of the series. Every scene was filmed in front of a breathtaking view of the city. Each episode was able to transport me to a different Parisian street or sight, making me forget about my inability to travel because of the pandemic for a second. One of the biggest critiques of Emily in Paris that I read was its portrayal of an overly-glamorized version of Paris. As someone who is guilty of romanticizing things constantly, I was content with the lens through which Paris was shown. Emily in Paris brought joy to me by making me feel like I was in Paris wearing my best outfit and eating pain au chocolat outside a cafe. I indulged in it knowing it was a light-watch, complete with the picturesque setting and slightly-unbelievable plotlines. If one is looking for a gritty, more accurate representation of Paris, it is best to look elsewhere. 

I am now binge-watching Paris vlogs on Youtube and eating Trader Joe's macarons to fill the wanderlust void in my heart after finishing the series, as I eagerly wait for the next season to be announced. Being a longtime Lily Collins fan, I was bound to watch Emily in Paris no matter what it was about or where it was set. I’m just glad it gifted me a trip to Paris through each episode and the kick of inspiration I needed to pull out my old beret from my closet.