I’m Not That Impressed By The Netflix Series ‘Emily In Paris’


Welcome back to the world of the ugly American. Well, actually, the adorably cute person behaving like an ugly American that we see in Emily in Paris on Netflix. Devised by Darren Star, creator of Sex in the City, he’s moved away from middle-aged fashionistas in New York to young ones in Paris.

We find Emily (Lily Collins), an adorable twenty-something gal who specializes in social media, being sent to Paris to help a marketing firm get an American point of view. We can understand that she comes knowing no French since the setup is that she is sent over when her far-better-prepared boss (Kate Walsh) finds herself unable to go because of an unexpected pregnancy. Armed with a really bad phone translation app, she immediately begins to “teach” the lazy, chain-smoking, over-sexed French how to get more “likes” on Instagram.

And she stomps all over the feelings of her colleagues quite casually but always with a cute expression. Within a short time, her boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) hates her and goes out of her way to be obnoxious instead of the usual path of simply stabbing her in the back. Her best friend Mindy (Ashley Park) works as a nanny. There is also her downstairs neighbor Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), a chef who she meets by going into the wrong apartment. (The French do not count the ground floor as first floor, so you walk up the steps to the first, meaning you can be on the wrong floor if you are ignorant of this fact.) To differentiate this from older “fish out of water” shows, Emily used her 120-volt vibrator and blows all the power in the neighborhood.

And so it goes, on and on. When she sees a commercial that will use a nude model to sell perfume, she gets a “me too” moment, annoying everyone there. By the way, the French frown on things like that as much as we do now. And they do get to work on time as a general rule. They do smoke more than Americans, but generally ask permission. And not all French have sex all the time, although Emily seems to get around a lot. And somehow, even after spending a lot of time in a city and country that expects at least some proficiency in French, she has learned almost none of the language. She might have, in the real world, spent some of her time at classes in the language. But those would be boring.

That does not mean the show is awful. It is escapist attempt at romantic comedy. And Emily’s wardrobe is beyond extensive. It seems she’s wearing a different designer outfit in every scene. It looks nice, but she would need an entire apartment to hold all the clothes just from the first 20 episodes. And her apartment is incredible. While most affordable apartments in the area she lives in are tiny, she lives in what would be a good-sized place in America.

Another nice point of the show is that it is actually filmed in Paris. The scenery is spectacular with some of the finest views in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The cast, on the other hand, is not spectacular but does the job. Collins manages to make a self-centered character rather charming. In most cases, a character like her would actually be a villain, but she has enough charm to carry things off. I really like Parks, who has an excellent singing voice and a charming manner. Most of the French are more than a bit stereotyped, a reason the French do not care for the show.

But as a sort of fun vacation, one where you disconnect your brain from all of the horrors of a pandemic, this really works. If you like fashion, you’ll have an even better time.

For those of us with fond memories, or even the wish for fond memories, of Paris, this is a real treat.

For the rest, well, there are hundreds of other choices.