So the show has been getting quite a lot of criticism lately over its French stereotypes and its confirmation of a season two. However, when you look at the costume design, the acting, the storyline and the scenery, the directors Andrew Fleming, Peter Lauer and Zoe R. Cassavetes have created a really good tv show.
Emily Cooper, played by Lily Collins, works for a marketing company in Chicago and is transferred to a similar company Paris for a year to help them with an American perspective. Whilst working there Emily has to work with high-end clients, immerse herself into the Paris culture and society and manage tricky love triangles. Although she does not go through all this alone, a humorous Mindy (played by Ashley Park), kind-hearted Camille (played by Camille Razat) and alluring Gabriel (played by Lucas Bravo) are by her side throughout.
First of all, the plot was believable and some aspects were relatable to real life. There are elements of cheating, falling for someone you cannot have and having a difficult boss, which are things that, unfortunately, almost everyone will experience in their life. What the viewers see from Emily are reactions and responses that anyone else would do in her position. The real-life aspects make the show more appealing to people as it makes the characters genuine.
However, one of the criticisms is that the show creates a stereotype that French people are mean to everyone. Although, Emily makes many French friends, i.e. Camille. I do not agree with this and from having visited France many times before, not once did I have an experience with a rude or horrible French person.
Nevertheless, from the get-go the show jumps straight into the storyline, no boring ‘setting the scene’ first episodes. Within minutes of the first episode, Emily is living the dream in France. It is the perfect show for people who like cutting to the chase and delving straight into the story. Emily’s problems start happening very quickly and it reflects reality, that life can hit you real hard sometimes.
Having said that, for the show to be more compelling the scandal would need to be less predictable. It is predictable as there are no shocking moments, no ‘edge of your seat’ moments. In comparison to Sex and the City, which bustles with drama, Emily in Paris does not hold a candle to it. In life, things take people by surprise and pretty much every scandalous moment that happened in the show, I said to myself, “I knew that would happen”.
Another aspect important in tv shows is character arcs and in one’s opinion, Emily did not really had one. I could be completely wrong here but I did not see a change in Emily and I think that is why the character did not grow on me. Mindy, Emily’s best friend, on the other hand, had the best character arc and overcame her fear of singing before an audience. It was such a admirable moment as there is a build up about this from Mindy not wanting to sing, to Mindy singing in a club in front of many people.
Furthermore, the costume design was stunning. Can everyone give a round of applause to the costume designer, Patricia Field? With characters like Sylvie (played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and Julien, we see this French business wear that is casual. Both of the characters look like they have stepped off a runway, not something people see in a professional British workplace. Patricia Field has worked on other similar tv shows, such as Sex and the City (1998) and The Devil wears Prada (2006). Both productions had main characters who were very fashionable, much like Emily. On the Emily in Paris Instagram account, it says that Field was influenced by the 1951 film An American in Paris. From the miniskirts to the funky ankle boots and all the way to the Aubrey Hepburn look, every single outfit.
Moreover, the show being set in Paris fits the main theme of the show so well; love. Everyone knows that Paris is the “city of love” and the show is not shy about Emily having a good number of lovers. As if the director is not trying to make us anymore jealous, viewers are treated to the beautiful sights of Paris, such as the Louvre, the Seine and the Pont des Arts that brought such a dreamy and awe-struck sensation of escapism.
Compared to Lily Collins’ other romance works, such as Mirror Mirror (2012) and Love, Rosie (2014), it was very fresh and had a modern aspect of love. However, if someone asked the question whether this is the best thing Lily Collins has starred in, it would have to be a no. Collins herself is such an amazing actress, for me, it comes down to the scripting being a little too cliché for my liking.
As much as it may not be 2020’s best romance tv show on Netflix, it was entertaining to watch. Do I think it is in trouble? No, it does deserve a second season despite anther criticism being it should not have one. There are many stories left untold and the haters might not want to read this but there are people who enjoyed watching it, including me. Fingers crossed, however, there is more unpredictability and less cliché.