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The ideal Paris of ‘Emily in Paris’

| Monday, October 12, 2020

Liya Blitzer | The Observer

After watching Netflix’s new show “Emily in Paris,” I feel like changing my entire career path, learning French and moving to Paris. Created by Darren Star, the same man who created “Sex and the City” 20 years ago, “Emily in Paris” is the story of Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a high-spirited employee of a Chicago marketing firm who gets the chance to be the American point-of-view in a newly acquired Parisian luxury marketing firm. Filmed in Paris, the show’s first season arrived earlier this month with ten episodes lasting around thirty minutes each. While the show may not be completely realistic as to what it’s like living in Paris, it’s still a fun show celebrating those who take bold risks in life.

“Emily in Paris” follows Emily as she meets potential clients who are the heads of luxury brands in Paris. In every encounter with a client, Emily either explains to them the potential social media has to make luxury accessible to everyone or creates content for her own growing Instagram page, @emilyinparis. Each episode visits a new breathtaking site in Paris, and there are always new, crazy characters to meet. An eccentric fashion designer, an arrogant philosophy professor and a creepy perfumer are only a few examples of the characters found in the show. The plot of the first season is structured like a true adventure with multiple places to visit and people to meet. There’s even a love triangle that could continue into the next season.

“He married his schoolteacher,” whispered Emily’s boss while talking about French President Macron, one of the first lines of the first episode of the show. “Emily in Paris” can be considered iconic for a few reasons — the fashion, the setting, the unbelievably high number of attractive Frenchmen Emily encounters — but the entire cast of characters is what makes the show. Some of the most comedic moments come from their interactions. Emily is the eternal optimist who always looks on the bright side, and her best friend Mindy encourages her optimism and pushes her to have fun while she’s living in Europe, but marketing colleagues Luc and Julien hilariously educate Emily on the “French way” of living. This is one of the main questions of the show: How do you reconcile the differences between two different cultures to make something new? Emily’s boss, Sylvie, is not often willing to answer the question, as she is the one who abruptly reminds Emily that change does not come without compromise or understanding the old before transitioning to the new.

“Emily in Paris” is by no means a perfect show. There are many critics who say that the plot is too unrealistic; Paris is not without its flaws — it is a city just like any other and there are positives and negatives to living there; the French people are not as mean to Americans who do not adapt to the local culture as the show portrays them to be. In many ways, “Emily in Paris” is an exaggeration of what we in the United States would dream of Paris to be. In an ideal world, Paris has the potential to a romantic oasis, so that is the world Darren Star creates for us.

“Emily in Paris” is an escape that we all need right now, an unrealistic show that we can let ourselves enjoy for a while. It’s our generation’s “Sex and the City,” and its ridiculous opulence and bold moves make the plot exciting. The show is a comedy, not a documentary, so have some fun watching it.

Show: “Emily in Paris” Season 1

Starring: Lily Collins, Lucas Bravo, Ashley Park

Favorite Episodes: “Masculin Féminin,” “Family Affair”

Where to watch: Netflix

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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