I’d heard this Netflix show was cute, trending, and lighthearted. It sounded perfect for my mood and for what I’m trying to feed my fearsome soul. Not immune to the impulse to find out what the fuss is about, I often glance through the new shows being heavily pushed by whatever studio or distribution company is putting their big bucks behind what they believe in.
Full disclosure, I did not watch Sex in the City or The Kardashians, so I may not be the target audience. Even though I stopped Emily in Paris several times with eye rolls, I went back curious enough to see what would happen. Finished now, there was enough of a cliff-hanger to know they intend to do another season.
During this time of intense negativity, I’m hesitant to add to the chorus, but more than that, I cringe to knock down any creative piece when I know how much work, energy, love, and money was no doubt put behind it.
Ahh, procrastinating. I really didn’t like it. Aside from all the sex and sex jokes—but no nudity—this show felt geared to a young audience of impressionables. Even though there was a brilliant scene mocking a boatload of Instagram Influencers, it’s made for the selfie generation. Look, I get that social media and social media marketing are here to stay, but gawd it can be inauthentic and fatiguing.
Emily is played by an actress named Lily Collins. Perhaps intentional, but Lily plays the character Emily with no depth or emotional range. I love me a cock-eyed optimist, but Emily wears the same three faces all the time—either super happy, thinking, or awe-shucks, temporarily flabbergasted. It felt forced that she made a conveniently fast friendship on a park bench with a clever, funny, uber rich, nanny-who-never-worked, also pretty girl, who tried recreating the role of the incredible Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians.
Emily’s boss was an over-the-top, one-dimensional character with nuanced shadings of constant irritation, rudeness, superior presence, close-minded-for-no-reason, and arrogance. I was waiting for the bright-eyed, smiling and determined Emily with the constant mop of perfect hair to make her boss melt and waited for the big cliched moment to happen. I’ll not spoil here.
If you’ve read my books, you’ll know I adore fashion. But even though I’m certain there was a large budget for this line-item, I wasn’t overawed by any of it. Think pink. And Chanel and Juicy and Betsey Johnson-ish clothes on Emily while her boss is pre-disposed to tight waists, push-up bras, and the Angelina Jolie leg coming out of her ever-present side split skirts. Then there was Emily’s makeup. It was always the exact same—and always flawless. No matter if she were just waking up, or in the rain, or getting out of a three-hour car ride where she had to sit on a guy’s lap with her head above the window in a convertible. No problem there! She’s Emily in Paris! Bring in the sigh machine. It was adorable. Not. She also drinks a lot of wine, but no drunkenness, hangovers, or bloating for this girl. You can drink all day and night with no issues at all in Paris!
What kept me going were the moments of cleverness. Emily did have some thoughtful, marketing-educated comebacks and good ideas. I enjoyed her (never appreciated) triumphs and strategies which made her smart (and the French look dumb). Her independence and can-do spirit can only be good things to promote to young women, so it was a big disappointment to me when Emily broke girl code. Potential spoiler here… I understand that the heart wants what the heart wants, but it was mean, crappy behavior.
I worry too about the encouragement it gives to the constant look-at-me-I’m-fabulous selfies. Enough! Give me some farm girls or nurses or moms taking on real life. That would be interesting.
Almost no one will be a perfect, size-negative-zero-Emily, living an idealized life in Paris. The French don’t come off well in this show either. Or maybe they do and I’m not getting it. Paris certainly does, though. The show is beautifully shot, but I’m not going back for Season Two.
If you watched the show, you’ll get this reference. Even though the guy in the show playing with his Crème Brûlée reminded me of the bad guy from the movie Taken who bought Liam Neeson’s daughter, I intend to make the dessert this weekend. But I’ll eat it. 😊
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to reading Proust. Just kidding. The guy was a different form of “look at me, look at me”! Shut up, Proust. We’re in the ring. Your move.