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'Emily in Paris' Promises 'un rêve' But Doesn't Deliver

Emily in Paris, a new Netflix comedy-drama starring Lily Collins, falls short of high expectations. In the series, Emily, who works for a marketing firm in Chicago, is suddenly sent across the globe to work for an established fashion and beauty firm in Paris. Throughout the season, Emily struggles to adjust to life in Europe. She has trouble making a home for herself, handling a recent breakup, fitting in at her new office, and finding friends in a completely foreign place. Of course, as the show takes place in the “City of Love,” the series follows the ups and downs of Emily’s love life.

The main issue with the show is that it is a bit cheesy. From the onset of the show, as Emily explores Paris, she comes across every Parisian cliché in the book: amazing pastries, rare steak, wine for breakfast, beautiful people everywhere, constant talk of sex. You name it, Emily has seen it. On top of this, she leans into these tropes, highlighting her over the top styling that is flashy, bright, and at times cartoonish. 

The characters in the series severely lack depth, making it hard to fully connect with them, and rendering the show tacky. In particular, Emily and her friend Mindy are both overly enthusiastic about their new lives, almost to a point where it seems like the show was meant for children. Their naivete and superficiality create one-note characters that simply lack relatability for an adult audience. On the other end of the spectrum, the series talks very openly about sex and other mature issues such as sexism and sexualization of women. This stark contrast between childish characters and adult topics makes the show confusing and ambiguous.

Another critique of the program is that Emily’s character is a conundrum. On one hand, she is a strong, smart, independent woman who is successful in her work and confident in her abilities. She sticks up for herself and always achieves her goals. On the other hand, she constantly relies on others to translate for her instead of learning French herself, and she forfeits friendships in order to pursue a relationship with a cheater. No matter how hard you try to like Emily, she remains unable to escape the lens of American individualism.

Although there is much to critique about the show, there are redeeming aspects that make it tolerable. For one, the series romantically showcases the beautiful scenery and landmarks of Paris. For those that love to travel or long for some new landscape after a long year living through a pandemic, Emily in Paris's fresh and gorgeous setting transports you to Europe—even if it is through an outsider's naive view. And, while a bit tacky, the romance in the show sucks you in. It’s hard to resist a love triangle, especially one in which you like all of the characters and do not know who to root for.

While it has its downfalls, Emily in Paris has enough of a storyline to leave you wanting more by the end of each episode. If you are looking for a new show and are interested in a romance and a comedy, the series might not be the best option, but the ten episodes will be entertaining nonetheless.

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