Emily in Paris: A French Cliché


Gabriella Patino


If pop culture has taught us anything about fashion over the years, it’s that Paris is the center of it all. The city of lights is known as the fashion capital of the world, and the city’s culture has evidently revolved around fashion since the 15th century. From Darren Star, the creator of shows like Sex in the City and Younger, comes the new Netflix romantic comedy series, Emily in Paris. It stars actress Lily Collins, who plays Emily Cooper, a junior marketing executive from Chicago. Emily gets sent to Paris to help a smaller French marketing firm learn their way around social media strategies. 

Upon arriving, her coworkers make it clear that she is unwanted. From shaming her for not speaking French, to throwing her under the bus in meetings, it becomes obvious to Emily that her American approaches will not be as welcomed as she first believed. She starts documenting her Paris ventures on her Instagram account, “@emilyinparis,” where she garners the attention of many clients, and becomes a social media influencer. 

When I first heard about this new series, I was immediately intrigued. I’ve grown up watching movies with fashion being one of the key components, such as The Devil Wears Prada, and adding a new social media aspect sounded exciting. The idea of getting to work your dream job, in a brand new city, sounds full of excitement and adventure, but it seems more like a fantasy than a reality. 

Once I watched the show, it became obvious that the series was portraying the most idealistic version of this dream life. Emily had a seemingly perfect life in Chicago. She had a great group of friends, her dream job, and a perfect boyfriend. Once she moves to Paris, she surprisingly shows barely any remorse for the life she left behind, and any sort of transitional period is glazed over. Once settled in Paris, which she seemed to do with no problem, Emily juggles romance, work troubles, and friendships with little to no trouble yet again, further proving how Emily seems to live in her own fantasy world of success with very little sacrifice.

Emily in Paris has been facing some criticism from many Parisians for its portrayal of Paris, as the show hits every stereotype imaginable, portraying the French as lazy, flirtatious, arrogant people, making Emily’s life a living nightmare. Many believe that the way the show romanticizes Paris as this picture perfect caricature is offensive and unrealistic, and it’s illogical plotlines add to all the expectations that tourists believe going into their European vacations. While the show perpetuates every cliché Americans have for Paris, one can’t deny how entertaining it is. Now more than ever, people are using different art forms such as music, film, and T.V., not only as entertainment, but a form of escapism. While there are many realistic shows and movies that do an excellent job at giving an accurate depiction of life in Europe, many people aren’t looking for that right now. People need a break from the harsh realities of their lives, and if Emily in Paris can do that for them, I don’t see why they should be denied that. Although I do have many critiques for this series, I do recommend it for people who are looking for a chance to escape their lives, and dive into a utopian world of fashion and romance.