Photo: ‘Emily in Paris’
Our imposed lockdown due to an unforgiving virus caused collective feelings of grief, anxiety, and loneliness stemming from days on end of total isolation. Many of us felt trapped within the familiar walls of our homes with momentary surges of a desperate need to break free and travel. Unfortunately, almost every country was temporarily closed. As a result, binging on shows and films distracted us from the horrors of the real world. Maybe that explains why so many of us found solace in the achingly predictable ‘Emily in Paris’.
Our minds were overstimulated with political chaos and a global health crisis. Whether you would like to admit, it may be one of the shows that helped sustain some sense of sanity. It’s a show that requires minimal mental exertion. Every episode granted us the permission to soothe our senses through the lens of rose-colored glasses and get lost in the classic trope of forbidden love joined by Emily’s basic social media captions, “Drinking champagne in Champagne,” that somehow led her to a luxurious marketing firm in the heart of Paris. Magnifique.
Of course, you don’t have to tell us you watched the show, we already know since the series landed on Netflix’s top ten most-watched list and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Let go of the shame and accept the simple fact that we all felt enchanted and, yet, slightly alarmed by how easily we fell for Darren Star’s ‘Emily in Paris.’ A wildly predictable narrative that capitalizes on the historical architecture of Paris paired with clichéd characters, and its naive heroine, Emily (Lily Collins) who we continuously root for despite her muchness.
The Controversy of Emily
Emily’s endearing determination to understand and connect with the French way of life is a welcomed escape for viewers who suffered from the stagnation of quarantine. Emily has an authentic habit of saying yes to every opportunity given, even if that means ending an engagement portrayed as boringly safe and uncomplicated. It’s cathartic watching Emily shed her controlling nature to attempt to adapt to the fictional Parisian way of life. Her relocation to Paris is the first move in a series of actions that challenges her sense of self.
Despite being the show’s leading lady, Emily as a character has garnered conflicting reviews. Many viewers found her fashions and her naïveté unbearable— while others found her to be refreshingly authentic without trying to conform into a clichéd Parisienne. Lily Collins even took to defend her character’s overtly happy personality, “These are such beautiful qualities, and the fact that she can associate that with being vulnerable, asking for help, and making mistakes – she is not infallible,” in an interview with L’OFFICIEL. As a producer for the series, Collins noted that she wanted Emily’s world in season two to be cognizant of the cultural diversity that’s true to Paris.
Yes, it’s the romanticized version of France but the show has an acute way of mocking the commercialized views of Paris that Americans are often sold through films and television while doing just that. Despite Emily’s irritating nature of being a know it all, she remains likable because of her willingness to reconsider her initial judgments and learn from another culture and it shows through her character’s personal development. malleability to abstract personalities and her willingness to reconsider her initial judgments. She slowly accepts the unpredictability of life and is inspired by the personalities that inhabit her daily life.
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A Subtle Breakdown
‘Emily in Paris’ effortlessly sparked extreme feelings of love and detest. Emily is a Chicago-based marketing associate who’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime to spend a year in Paris at a glamorous marketing firm that’s run by the chic and always disappointed, Sylvie (Phillipine Leroy-Beaulieu). It’s hard to tell whether her coworkers like Emily. Presumably not at first since Emily wore a dress of the Eiffel Tower on her first day of work. But after growing accustomed to presence at the office, they learn to appreciate her American nature. Sylvie seemingly tries to mold Emily into an independent woman who doesn’t overthink or rationalize every decision when it comes to business.
Of all the apartments in Paris, Emily managed to secure a perfectly sculpted and elusive French chef, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), as her neighbor. Their blooming relationship is rooted in the fact that we know they are going to hook up (they do) and somehow they can’t be together. It might be because Emily accidentally becomes best friends with his girlfriend Camille (Camille Razat) and therefore, their romance becomes forbidden and all the more enticing.
She meets Mindy (Ashley Park), a disgraced and famous Chinese heiress, who is incognito among the middle class of Paris. Mindy is a seasoned ex-pat who encourages Emily to shed the self-imposed limitations that are holding her back from a life of spontaneity and wild romance. They quickly become best friends and it’s comforting to watch as they rely on one another to navigate Paris. Season two makes room for Mindy’s complicated story and showcases the vocals of Ashley Park with multiple numbers of singing and performances.
Why We Love ‘Emily in Paris’
Who doesn’t want to turn their brain off for almost an hour and gaze upon the idyllic scenery of Saint-Tropez and Paris? If that’s not enough to convince you, aside from Gabriel’s smoldering beauty, season two introduces the ridiculously gorgeous Lucien Laviscount to play Emily’s second love interest, Alfie. Emily becomes romantically swayed by a British banker who despises the French way of life but loves his time in France all due to Emily.
Following Gabriel and Camille’s break up, the palpable tension between Gabriel and Emily continues in season two which only intensifies when they reluctantly try to repress their feelings. The course of season two teases their mutual longing for each other while Emily attempts to find contentment with Alfie. Without spoiling season two, further complications erupt between Gabriel and Emily from poor decisions and a scheming ex-girlfriend. Now as we set our sights toward a new year, ignore the shame that comes with the thought of guilty pleasures and give yourself permission to escape the reality of a global pandemic. It’s time to get lost in the safety of predictability with ‘Emily in Paris.’
Cast: Lily Collins, Ashley Park, Lucas Bravo, Camille Razat, Lucien Laviscount, Philippine Leroy- Beaulieu
Creator: Darren Star
By Gina Michele Yaniz
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Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.