‘Emily in Paris’ falls flat on its designer heels

Très cliché: the show is just another rom-com

By Christine Kim

Netflix’s new series, “Emily in Paris,” premiered on Oct. 2 and was a hit, immediately making it onto the top ten list for the Internet TV network. 

Lily Collins stars as Emily Cooper in the Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’ (Photo by Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Full of charming clichés, the show was enjoyable to mindlessly binge-watch. But no amount of love affairs, Chanel bags or pain au chocolats can make up for the unrealistic aspects of the show. 

The series, written and produced by Darren Star, follows Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a Chicago marketing executive, who is hired to provide an American perspective at a marketing firm in Paris after her boss falls pregnant. 

The only hitch? She doesn’t speak French! Within the first ten minutes of the first episode, she is already whisked away to Paris, or a generically simplified version of it. 

The plot moves fast, with the first half of the season just a spewing of basic stereotypes of France. Think: rare steak, tiny dogs that poo on the street, cigarette after cigarette, wine for breakfast, men in expensive suits and a dislike for Americans. 

Full of charming clichés, “Emily in Paris” was enjoyable to mindlessly binge-watch. But no amount of love affairs, Chanel bags or pain au chocolats can make up for the unrealistic aspects of the show.

The pace is too speedy for my liking, making it hard to focus on the plot with all the filler scenes. It is also difficult to keep up with the conflict, as it feels as though problems were solved as quickly as they were introduced.

The conflict resolution isn’t the only thing that moves fast. Throughout the ten episodes, she’s involved with several men. Most don’t offer anything to the plot, making them just some plot add-ons. 

There is no second season as of now, so it’s hard to tell if these characters or the plots surrounding them will be expanded on. What I didn’t like was how there was no character growth or lesson learned and how she always gets her way in the end.

Emily tries to adjust numerous things in her workplace to the American way, which made me have mixed feelings about her. 

Collins portrays a woman with a certain millennial-like charm, armed with her “fake it till you make it” attitude. 

But is the audience supposed to laugh at her tactless, tone-deaf act or are we to identify with her as an everyday businesswoman who won’t let things stand in her way? I found her outsider attitude off-putting.

Somehow, Emily moves from marketing pharmaceuticals to luxury fashion and beauty, aided by her social media platform. 

Composed of mainly selfies of her biting into croissants, her Instagram account suddenly transforms her into an “influencer” within days, allowing her access to luxurious events. This unrealistic spin added to my dislike of the show, as it makes social media seem too easy to master. 

Emily is always able to get the right shot on the first try––with her photos and with the solutions to her problems. She could have been an inspiring businesswoman, but there was no character growth ––unless you count learning a few new French words as growth.

Overall, this light-hearted dreamland is a classic rom-com, albeit very overplayed. 

If you’re looking for a series to watch in one day, this is perfect. It’s a fanciful and pretty show, with no deep, thought-inducing conflicts. The stereotypical scenery is charming and the quirky outfits, playing on American style, are fun to look at. 

“Emily in Paris” is good enough to finish, but I won’t be searching for it again. Ultimately, the whimsical scenes can’t balance the paper-thin plot, revealing its style over substance feel.