If you’re looking for an escape from the pandemic’s throes, look no further than Netflix’s new collaboration with Darren Star, Emily in Paris.
The series benefits largely from the scenery as it filmed in a pre-COVID world right in the heart of Paris. The sights are stunning, and while Star and the producers didn’t know it at the time, upon its premiere, it would be a reprieve filling in a void of wanderlust for many who have been confined to their homes (and home offices) since March. It especially piqued my interest as my May trip to Paris was cancelled due to the pandemic. I’m living vicariously through Emily while also knowing I wouldn’t have nearly as many epic adventures or flirtatious romances.
Falling in love with the picturesque scenery is one thing, but it’s the show, and the titular character, Emily (Lily Collins), that has to sell audiences.
The pilot episode sets the scene: Emily works at a big marketing firm in Chicago, her boyfriend is forgettable, and the moment her boss finds out she’s pregnant from one of her several one-night stands and can’t go to Paris to complete the merger of luxe firms, she sends Emily. Emily’s boyfriend isn’t too pleased and they attempt the whole long-distance thing for a bit, but it’s clear that Emily’s mindset is international while her boyfriend is happy staying local forever.
To audiences, Emily is likable as a lead character, but to her new co-workers at Savoir, especially her uptight manager Sylvie, she’s “ringarde,” or what we later know is a “basic bitch.”
While Collins does a wonderful job carrying the show, the heroine is far too peppy and optimistic for the likes of Paris, and her fashion, though always impeccable, makes her stick out like a sore thumb. Seriously, how does she get around in heels in such a breezy fashion?
She doesn’t follow rules and she’s fearless, which should be admirable, but everything comes so easily for her that it’s not relatable nor is it charming in the way it’s supposed to be. She’s not just a regular gal — she doesn’t have financial burdens (or school loans for that matter), she managed to bring all those staple fashion pieces in one suitcase, and she her biggest issue is which French man she’ll sleep with and to convince her boss to like her.
So, it’s clear why Sylvie has it out for her.
Though, one can argue we don’t ever learn much about Emily other than she came from Chicago where she had a boring life and now she’s living out every American girl’s fantasy.
In our current pandemic climate, it’s also a little hard to digest the notion of an American swooping in as the hero and telling everyone the right way to do things. However, we can all learn from the secondary lesson that hones in on the idea that we can all achieve so much more if we just worked together.
Marketing comes naturally to Emily — and it’s not just because of that Master’s she mentions — as does being an influencer as she stumbles into it after having only a handful of followers upon her arrival in Paris. Look, we’ve all tried to become influencers and can, without a doubt, attest that it isn’t that easy.
Being a Parisian, however, doesn’t come as easily to her. As she helps Savoir evolve and market their clients, those around her both at the company and in her personal life help her navigate her new lifestyle. It’s a gentle reminder that if we just stopped to give each other a chance instead of pointing out difference, we could all learn a lot from each other.
Throughout the 10-episode run (they’re less than 30 minutes each, so they’re digestible), Sylvie is one of the only people that almost never comes around to the idea of Emily. She just doesn’t get why everyone adores Emily, and that’s fine, but her hatred is a little far-fetched and borders on cliche.
Along with Emily’s Americanized notion of the world, the series is riddled with cliche’s and stereotypes from the French disdain for everything to chain smoking up to the men talking freely about sex. Even America’s sweetheart, Brooklyn, is a walking stereotype and a clear example of why people generally don’t like Americans. And Julien, Emily’s gay co-worker (and only person of color on the series) plays right into the “gay co-worker” stereotype and serves little to no purpose other than to provide catty remarks and support.
With Sylvie, all of her hatred is fueled by jealousy especially as, again, most things come fairly easy to Emily including workplace successes and romance. It seems every man she comes across, even Sylvie’s lover Antoine, is somehow infatuated by her.
Since the series hails from the creator of Younger, the dynamic between the older boss and the younger employee slightly parallels Liza and Diana’s, but where Diana excels as a feminine goddess that we love to praise, Sylvie falls flat.
Her distaste for Emily doesn’t always make sense — the more Emily succeeds and proves her worth, the more Sylvie hates her — and though the series attempts to paint her as this chic woman, she just seems like a bitter woman unable to embrace change. At one point, an old client said the firm she’s running is “dinosaur” and it’s fitting; she wants the status-quo while Emily is here to shake things up as every ounce of publicity. You know the saying: even bad press is good press.
There’s progress made towards the end of the series when Sylvie un-fires Emily after she once again saves the day after messing it up, but it’s clear that Emily’s journey of proving herself will be an uphill battle. Don’t worry, she’s ready for it.
They always say Paris is for lovers,so you didn’t think there’d be a series without a few romances in the city of love, did you? It’s clear from the beginning that Emily has chemistry with her fourth floor neighbor, Gabriel, but he, of course, has a girlfriend he fails to tell Emily about.
Darren Star found plenty of success with an effective love triangle on Younger, so it’s not surprising this would be the crux of the series. However, unlike on Younger where fans are torn between #TeamJosh and #TeamCharles, there’s no doubt that Emily and Gabriel belong together. All the other men she’s rendezvoused with, including the snob Thomas, Antoine, youngester Timothee, and Mathieu, are just frogs that had to be kissed on her way to charming.
The biggest obstacle in this relationship is Camille, who, like Emily, audiences have a sweet spot for. Maybe it’s cause we meet Camille before we know she’s Gabriel’s girlfriend, maybe it’s because she’s nice to Emily from the moment she meets her, or because she’s genuinely nice, but it’s hard to watch Emily and Gabriel’s relationship unfold knowing it’s going to hurt Camille.
It’s unfortunate to see her caught up in this whole mess and unknowingly betrayed by the two people closest to her.
If the series snags a second season, the relationship drama will amplify as Antoine invested in Gabriel’s career as a chef in Paris, which means he’s staying around and not moving to Normandy.
That seems like good news, but it’s problematic as Gabriel and Emily slept together thinking this was their final goodbye and he was done with Camille for good.
Camille is surely going to want her man back, but what does Gabriel’s heart want?
There’s also drama for Emily and Mathieu, heir to the Cadault fashion empire that she almost destroyed once before. If she wants to stay on Pierre’s good side, keep them as a client, and make Sylvie happy, she can’t ruin this relationship. And that’s why she should’ve listened to her “commandments” of not mixing business with pleasure.
One of the show’s saving graces is Ashley Park, who plays Mindy, and steals every scene she’s in. She’s the heiress to a zipper king in China, which is problematic in its own stereotypical “Crazy Rich Asians” way, but she’s also a nanny who sings in a drag club and encourages Emily to live her best life. I’d watch a show solely focused on her!
The pilot episode was admittedly a little bumpy, and while I was excited for the series, I found myself wondering if maybe the hype was too much.
The series isn’t groundbreaking by any means — not in the way Younger and Sex and the City were — but once you get into the groove, you’ll be hooked on Emily and her international lifestyle. All those complaints won’t bother you if you go into it thinking that it was always meant to be the perfect fantasy of what people dream up Paris to be in their minds.
Then, think about all those Instagram influencers you follow — you know their lives are unrealistic, but they paint a pretty picture; and yes, the show gives you the same dose of endorphins as mindlessly scrolling through your feed for hours.
If you’re in quarantine and looking for an escape, your vacation is only one click away with Emily in Paris. You don’t even need a passport. Just make sure you have a croissant and some macarons ready!
6 Biggest Moments From ‘Emily in Paris’ Season 2
Netflix gave us an early Christmas present this holiday season when it delivered Emily in Paris Season 2 all wrapped up in a pretty bow on December 22.
The new season followed the bubbly and gauche American with lovely tresses and a wardrobe that absolutely will never fit into that studio apartment of hers through her French escapades, which included parties in St. Tropez, champagne showers, and a lot of complicated relationships.
Here are the biggest moments from the second season:
Camille Found Out About Emily and Gabriel’s Hook-Up
Raise your hand if you thought it was really shady that Emily lied to Camille about hooking up with her boyfriend Gabriel?
While Emily felt terrible about it, and she likely thought it was a one-time thing since he was moving to Normandy, that didn’t change the fact that what she did was a huge betrayal of trust. When she realized that Gabriel was staying, she should’ve come clean immediately, especially when a heartbroken Camille confided in her.
Camille deserved better. She was one of Emily’s first and most genuine friends in Paris, so Emily should’ve paid back her kindness by telling her the truth.
If Emily was bold enough to sleep with Camille’s boyfriend, she should’ve been brave enough to come clean.
Instead, Camille had to piece it all together. She found out about Emily’s affair from Mathieu, and when she saw the frying pan in Emily’s apartment with Gabriel’s initials on it, she realized that the other woman was her best friend this whole time.
And you can’t blame her for publicly calling them out via a champagne toast at Emily’s birthday dinner or dumping the frying pan in the toilet.
Up until this point, I was team Camille. And she would have been best off by simply kicking both Emily and Gabriel to the curb.
The truth is, Emily and Gabriel never meant to hurt Camille. Their relationship just sort of happened. And if Emily had come clean about it, Camille likely would’ve understood that it was an “in the moment” situation, but the fact that they both kept it a secret from her made it that much worse.
Camille should’ve just went on with her life, however, she realized she still had feelings for Gabrielle, so she came up with some kind of revenge plot to get back at Emily and win him back, simultaneously.
When she reached out to Emily to make amends, they made a pact that neither one of them would pursue Gabriel romantically, but the whole thing felt off, and you just knew that Camille was going to use this to blindside Emily.
Sylvie is Married
Sylvia has been quite the enigma, which is part of what makes her character so great, but this season, we got to know her on a deeper level. She was a photographer in her past life… oh, and she’s married. Surprise!
While that was quite a shocker to both Emily and the audience, it was an even bigger revelation to her latest romantic interest, a younger photographer named Eric (not her son!).
Sylvie and her husband co-owned a restaurant in St. Tropez, but by the end of the season, he bought her half of the restaurant and became its sole owner.
And Sylvie used that money to start her own marketing agency!
Madeline in Paris
But before we get to that, we have to address the other American in Paris — a very pregnant Madeline who was the depiction of a stereotypical American. Even Emily wasn’t this bad!
Madeline and Sylvie are two headstrong women who butted heads almost immediately.
Madeline came to Paris with a vengeance as she immediately started interjecting her opinion and trying to do things her way. Americans think they always know best. And in this case, Madeline was basically trying to teach the French about their culture, which was never going to pan out well.
She suggested that the team poach Gregory, a rival fashion designer, whose agency dropped him ahead of his major fashion show at the Versaille. Sylvie informed Madeline that it wouldn’t sit well with their high-profile client, Pierre, but Madeline insisted.
The show went off without a hitch, and Pierre and Gregory even buried the hatchet, but the post-show was a different story.
Madeline was shocked when Pierre explained that his French fashion house needed an agency that understands what it means to be French, and Savoir, owned by a huge American conglomerate, was no longer that. He revealed that he was dropping them as an agency. When Madeline confronted Sylvie, she explained that she had done exactly what was asked of her. Madeline threatened to drag Sylvie to Chicago for a corporate review, but Sylvie beat her to the punch when she informed her that she resigned.
And not only that, but she was taking the team — Julien, Luc, and all of Savoir — with her!
With the money from her the aforementioned half of the restaurant, she had enough to open up her own independent agency. And who wouldn’t sign with them? Half of their previous clients agreed to follow them because everyone knows they are the best in the biz.
Madeline tried to spin this as a good thing, but the only head that will be served on a platter to the corporate team in Chicago will be her own.
I love how bold Sylvie was with her decision because she absolutely understood her worth. She also propositioned Emily to join the team and stay in Paris just a bit longer!
What will Emily do? Paris has changed Emily. She doesn’t vibe with Madeline anymore, and her loyalty is to Sylvie.
However, much of her decision still hinges on her love life!
Emily and Alfie
Emily in Paris Season 1 may have ended with Emily and Gabriel, but he wasn’t going to be the only man in her life. This is Paris, the city of love, after all.
Emily and Alfie met in French class, but they didn’t hit it off right away. They both seemed to resent each other, which meant that they would eventually end up in bed together. There’s a fine line between hate and love.
Once they admitted their feelings for each other, a relationship blossomed. And being with Alfie helped Emily keep her mind off of Gabriel.
Alfie was also pretty perfect — he was hot, a banker, spoke English, and really liked Emily.
Things with Alfie were easy. But they always say that what comes easy is never worth it.
When Alfie informed Emily that his assignment in Paris had ended and he was on his way back to England, he suggested that they embrace a long-distance relationship.
However, Emily wasn’t sold. Why? Gabriel, of course.
The Big, Belated Realization
Emily previously tabled her feelings for Gabriel because of the guilt she felt for betraying a friend. There was also that verbal pact she made with Camille about staying friends and only friends with him. However, when Sylvie offered her a job in Paris, she realized that her life in Paris was no longer a temporary pit-stop but an actual life with long-term potential. That’s when she realized that she needed to pursue her feelings for Gabriel no matter what.
She could no longer consider who it might hurt or how it might make others feel — she needed to prioritize herself and her feelings.
So, she ran to Gabriel’s door and attempted to confess her love, but it was too late — Camille was there and she informed Emily that she was moving in with Gabriel.
Yep, Camille went behind Emily’s back and broke the pact to get her man back.
Camille manipulated the situation perfectly. She knew she never stood a chance against Emily, but with Emily out of the picture, Gabriel was all hers. And when Gabriel realized Emily was serious about Alfie — who is a really great guy, by the way — he decided to settle for Camille.
And the realization crushed Emily. Talk about bad timing.
In the final scene of the season, Emily is trying not to have a breakdown when she phones Sylvie to inform her that she made a decision about her future.
Will she accept the job? My guess is that she will either stay and not allow Gabriel and Camille to sidetrack her career ambitions, or, she’ll turn down Sylvie’s offer only for Gabriel to realize that he can’t move in with Camille and confess his love for Emily.
How do you think this will play out?
Mindy’s Second Shot at a Career and Love
Ashley Park is one of the best things about Emily in Paris. And she got her own storyline that was more than just Emily’s sidekick. Sure, she was there for moral support and a shoulder to cry on, but she also got her own job as La Dame Pi Pi (truly love the name), a love story with Etienne, joined a band that made their money busking around Paris, and redeemed herself on the internet after her flub on Chinese Idol went viral.
Mindy’s adventure in Paris is just as exciting as Emily’s. And her voice was the soundtrack to the second season!
What did you think of Emily in Paris Season 2?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
‘Emily in Paris’ Season 2 Review – Emily Cooper Is So Bad, But So Good for Her Own Brand
It’s hard to believe that when Emily in Paris premiered a year ago, we were knee-deep in a COVID-19 pandemic.
But season two is here to remind us that the pandemic is still waging on.
The series, once again, provides a fun and whimsical escape from reality as it transports audiences to the land of designer fashion choices that you’d never get away with wearing in Chicago, champagne (or should I say Champere), and croissants (pronounced krwa-san, of course).
Set in the idyllic version of Paris you only see on those filtered Instagram posts — and without a face mask in sight — the series, despite all the backlash, succeeds because it knows exactly what it’s supposed to be — a sugar rush of escapism for those who can’t get away on their own adventures at the moment.
Lily Collins returns as Emily Cooper the one-dimensional heroine with pristinely curled locks that never mess up, not even when she’s sprayed down the champagne. Her life continues to be a chaotic, dramatic, and beautiful mess as she navigates the streets of Paris and the halls of Savoir in the same way she navigates her love life — hoping for the best but fully expecting the worst.
And the worst does come. They always say that before the rainbow, you have to endure the rain.
One of the issues with Emily this season is that she just can’t own up to what she truly wants.
If she took Sylvie’s advice and chose to embrace the disastrous trail she’s leaving behind during her time abroad, it would be one thing, but throughout the 10-episode run, Emily is determined to tiptoe the line of both a good friend and the one that follows her heart in the romanticized version of Paris.
She’s wishy-washy, she can’t commit, she tries way too hard to control everything, and even when it all catches up to her, she never learns anything from it and goes on to make the same mistakes over and over.
It’s frustrating yet intoxicating to watch. Emily might be good at managing brands (though, that’s questionable too), she’s pretty terrible for her own brand. Yet, you can’t stop rooting for her.
And Emily doesn’t stop rooting for herself either. Every time she’s knocked down, she brushes it right off. Nothing gets the positively radiant and optimistic Emily down for too long. After all, she’s living out her dreams (she reminds you at every turn!).
Emily in Paris Season 1 ended with hunky chef Gabriel deciding to stay in Paris to open up his own restaurant. He made the decision after he cheated on his girlfriend and Emily’s close friend, Camille, which, as you imagine, causes quite an uncomfortable environment between the threesome.
The love triangle comes to a head in some unexpected ways come season 2.
But don’t expect Gabriel to be the only one Emily sets her sights on — she’s living in Paris, so for god’s sake, she must do as the French do! The second season introduces a new man into Emily’s life, and Alfie is a Brit in a business suit that we can’t help but j’adore.
Did I mention we’re still living vicariously through Emily? Because we most definitely are.
There are some familiar faces that pop in throughout included Pierre Cadault and Antoine, but the sweet spot lies within Emily’s supporting cast, who have become more engrained in the storyline than ever, including Mindy, the Chinese heiress who came to Paris in hopes of reinventing herself and became Emily’s most-trusted friend.
As we get a front-row seat to Emily’s oftentimes imploding career, we’re also privy to Mindy’s new job and love interest.
Sorry, Collins — Emily isn’t the only girl in Paris worth following on social media.
Mindy has found her voice as a main character this season largely due to Ashley Park’s incredible portrayal.
Emily’s counterparts at Savoir also get their fair share of screen time as we peel back the layers of Sylvie’s mysterious life. And boy, there are so many layers to that woman!
Luc shines with his comedic timing, and I honestly can’t recall him being this funny in the first season. Never change, Luc.
The “American in France” shtick also doesn’t slap you across the face as bluntly either.
Emily, despite still being a Chicago girl at heart (you can’t take the girl away from her deep dish), has immersed herself more in the French culture, so while there are still a few faux pas on her part, she doesn’t necessarily stick out like a sore thumb anymore.
And that’s emphasized with the arrival of another PR executive who, quite frankly, depicts Americans as a revolting bunch.
We’re not that bad… I think…. but we do love our Starbucks. Can you blame us?
Paris aside, the series explores another stunning backdrop as it takes a detour to St. Tropez and only intensifies the lust in our wanderlust.
Emily in Paris might not be reinventing the wheel here, but it never claimed to.
Instead, the easily digestible episodes tackle topics of friendships, honesty, a fulfilling career, and a good power suit in a way that’s more Sex and the City than the Sex and the City reboot could ever be.
If you’re looking for a quick departure from your daily routine, don’t hesitate to take a lighthearted stroll down the Seine with Emily Cooper and friends.
Emily in Paris hits Netflix on December 22, 2021.
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WATCH: ‘Emily in Paris’ is Falling in Amour in the Season 2 Trailer
Fashion, amour, and sex are at the forefront of Emily in Paris Season 2.
But not even a getaway with the girls to St. Tropez can keep Emily from getting all wrapped up in her feels about Gabriel.
Sylvie encourages her to “fall in love” and “make mistakes” in order to “do Paris right” and while I love that she’s essentially Emily’s chic fairy godmother while abroad, but that advice is terrible in terms of this situation.
Emily’s tryst with Gabriel — including the best sex of her life — is hurting Camille, one of the few people who showed her kindness and hospitality.
Both Emily and Gabriel are lying to Camille at every turn, and she’s suspicious considering Gabriel decided to stay in Paris and give up the opportunity of a lifetime to advance his career.
She deserves the truth.
However, it’s hard to fault Emily for falling back into Gabriel’s arms. Have you seen the man?
He’s not the only one sweeping her off her feet in the City of Love.
Antoine is still around and another charming man enters the picture by the name of Alfie, played by Katy Keene’s Lucien Laviscount.
Who will win her heart?
Watch the trailer below:
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