Emily in Paris review: Cliches and all, it’s still a fun modern-day fairytale


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Don’t let the cliches fool you. Emily in Paris is a modern-day fairytale that is oh so binge-able.

Before we begin, one thing you should know is that I’m in the camp that thought Emily in Paris was good. There are those who didn’t. Naturally. That’s the beauty of Netflix. A variety of shows that appeal to a variety of sensibilities.

First of all, it’s important to stress that Emily in Paris is a modern-day romantic fairytale at heart. Vox called it “a boomer’s fantasy of a lazy millennial’s life.”


Boomers are categorized as anyone born between 1946 and 1964, which means anyone currently between the ages of 56 and 74 years old qualifies. Emily in Paris‘s creator, Darren Star, is 59.

So, yeah, Vox got that right.

However, I don’t think there’s anything lazy about twenty-something Emily Cooper (Lily Collins). She’s no slacker. She works super hard. One could even say around the clock. Just because she happens to use a lot of social media in her marketing executive role doesn’t mean she’s lazy. She’s just doing her job, which she happens to be pretty savvy at.

Adding to the fantasy of this situation is that she is so young to hold the kind of title and wield the kind of influence that she does. Not super realistic. However, does age always matter? Those who really stand out and have creative ideas can rise quickly to the top. As the series unfolds, we see why that may be the case with Emily.

Then there are Emily’s looks, which attract a lot of attention because she is tres jolie (very pretty). A lot of the attention is unwanted, but self-assured Emily handles all of it with aplomb, which I found refreshing in a character. She enjoys fashion and wants to look nice, but she’s not constantly obsessing about her appearance. She is who she is without apology and knows her mind and heart, but also that she has brains and she’s not afraid to use them. I found her one of the most positive female characters to grace my screen in a while.

Unlike Darren Star’s other shows, especially Sex and the City, where the focus was on relationship status, that’s not the case in Emily in Paris. Love interests spice things up, yes, but it’s only one facet of Emily’s life in Paris.

Although, all good fairy tales, modern or otherwise, do need a Pince Charming, and Emily finds one of those in her charming downstairs neighbor, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo).

Her boss, Sylvie Grateau (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) plays the part of the wicked witch to an extent. Sylvie doesn’t go out of her way to welcome Emily to Savoir, the Parisian marketing firm Emily’s Chicago-based one acquired. Nor does Sylvie make any attempt to make Emily’s transition as smooth as possible. In fact, she often does the opposite.

Paris is the strange new land Emily finds herself in. How will she navigate the unknown territory and customs? With friends of course, which she finds in fellow ex-pat Mindy Chen (Ashley Park), and her co-workers, Julien (Samuel Arnold) and Luc (Bruno Gouery).

The magic comes from her @emilyinparis Instagram account, which suddenly blows up, seemingly effortlessly. All it takes is a few shots paired with pithy captions or hashtags and she suddenly amasses 20 thousand followers. That’s a modern-day influencer’s dream.

Then there’s the fact that her account always seems to impress clients or her bosses at just the right moment. So, yeah, it’s a lot unrealistic and a bit of a fairytale, but that’s what makes Emily in Paris fun.

The downside for some is all the cliches peppered throughout every episode, such as chain-smoking Parisians who are rude to Americans, wine, cheese, croissants, and constantly hanging out at bistros and cafes. This is a part of Parisian life, but obviously, it’s a stereotypical portrayal. It follows other Darren Star shows, like Younger and especially Sex and the City, both of which portrayed cliches of New York City living too. That’s in part what appeals to those who do like these shows, though, and what makes in Emily in Paris, so binge-able. (Since all of the episodes were released all at once, whereas all of Star’s other shows have been weekly series.)

Emily in Paris an escapist fantasy. Can Emily move to not only a new city, but one of the most exciting and romanticized cities in the world, find success in her job, develop friendships and maybe even also fall in love?

She accomplishes that in season 1, but with complications galore.

Sylvie fires her from her job. But Julien and Luc help her work around that so heading into season 2 she’ll still have a position at Savoir. That means Emily will remain in Paris.

However, what will happen with Gabriel? Despite the fact that he’s in a relationship with Camille (Camille Razat), who Emily becomes friends with without first knowing she’s Gabriel’s girlfriend, Emily and Gabriel are undeniably attracted to each other and even hook up. Although that’s not as bad as it sounds because at the very least Gabriel and Camille are on a break. It’s the night before Gabriel is due to move to Normandy.

However, a surprise investor, Antoine Lambert (William Abadie), one of Savoir’s clients (and also Sylvie’s lover who hits on Emily as well), makes Gabriel an offer to help Gabriel buy a restaurant. Gabriel decides to accept it, which means he’s staying in Paris too.

But what does that mean for his relationship with Emily or Camille? And does Camille know what happened between Emily and Gabriel? That’s how season 1 ends. With Camille sending Emily a text that they need to talk.

So, yeah, we need a season 2 to see what happens. Even if it means more fairy tales and cliches.

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