The Case to Be Made for Netflix’s “Emily in Paris”

While the show has been criticized for it’s stereotypical representation of France, there’s still a redeeming quality about it.

Unless you’ve been on a social media cleanse for the past week, or maybe living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s new TV series Emily in Paris by now.

Dropped on October 2nd, the new series stars Lily Collins as Chicago marketing executive Emily Cooper, who gets an unexpected promotion that sends her to Paris—and with her not speaking any French and being iced out by her new colleagues, a series of mistranslations, romantic miscommunications and fashion mishaps ensue. 

Though the show garnered much excitement before it’s release, it’s landing on Netflix was…a bit rocky. At only 10 episodes with each being 30 minutes long, the show is easy to binge in a day, which I definitely did (Lily Collins? Paris? Love? Fashion? I’ve been waiting on this release for months!), and while many others did, too, the show wasn’t as loved as by some as it was by others.

Since it’s release, Emily in Paris has been heavily critiqued by numerous publications and individuals: The Cut said it made them “Hate Sex, Drugs, Paris, and Instagram,” while a reviewer from The Times said he’d “never watch it again.” It didn’t quite stick the landing with the French people it portrayed (or rather, didn’t portray), either—unimpressed with the stereotypes of French people and culture, it’s been accused of portraying Emily’s “proud cultural ignorance” as a strength and promoting false misconceptions about non-Americans (Emily’s coworkers and clients are shown as arrogant, scheming, lazy, rude and sexist—yikes).

While none of these critiques are inaccurate (Emily’s character seems to know alarmingly little about a country she’s just agreed to relocate to, and even her own boss in the show accuses her of treating Paris as her personal amusement park), there might still be a case to make for Emily in Paris, because even though it may be inaccurate, cliche and cheesy, it’s still everything a rom-com should be: cute, funny, and simple, with lots and lots of good fashion and music montages in between.

The thing is, Emily in Paris was never marketed as a documentary of what France and the French are really like; though irresponsible, the only thing the show promises is the story of a quirky lead as she navigates social, professional, and romantic relationships in her new home abroad, and that’s exactly what it delivers. No more, but certainly no less. 

It’s a fun show that’s an easy binge for when you’re feeling down, a quick picker-upper of sorts, like most of our all-time favorite romantic comedies. I mean, do we watch Mamma Mia! to get a feel for what Greek people are like? No, we watch it for the fun of watching it, the sweet romances and the fun fashion, the harmless jokes that muster a little chuckle or too out of you for watching it—just like Emily in Paris. 

Don’t get me wrong, Emily in Paris is definitely rightfully critiqued for its over-the-top cheesiness and perpetuation of stereotypes about French people, but those criticisms don’t override the joy that still exists in the show. Because even though it is definitely very tacky at times (most of the characters are static, and almost every plotline in the series takes a predictable path) it’s a very low-risk, high-reward situation. It’s not hard to follow, the coloring and cinematography is incredible, and it gives us someone to root for: Lily Collins, dressed to the nines in designer clothes, running through Paris with her quirky demeanor and funny encounters with her hot neighbor, hot client at work, hot realtor, hot BFF’s brother, hot ex….and so on. Despite the cringe, it’s delightfully lighthearted and heartwarming, which is the refreshing new show we need right now. 

Plus, Lily Collins shines in everything she does, and newcomers Lucas Bravo, Ashley Park, and Camille Razat are genuinely addicting to watch and make the show worthwhile a hundred times over for them alone.

We really do stan Emily in Paris, because while it doesn’t promise a lot, it definitely delivers what it does promise. It’s fast-paced, the dialogue and acting are fantastic, and while it may not give the best view of Paris, it still gives a view of Paris: filled with love, beauty, excitement, and opportunities, and Lily Collins in a ridiculously colorful outfit as she conquers it.

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