People buzzed after Netflix's Emily in Paris release a couple of weeks ago. As the pandemic halted the production and release of shows everywhere, content seems to be consumed almost immediately once it’s out. Only days after the release, people texted me to ask if I saw the new show—even my mom. But I wasn’t surprised; I’m a sucker for romantic comedies, and Emily in Paris promised to be just that.
The premise of the show is simple: a young Chicagoan woman gets a marketing job on the other side of the world—Paris. She used to be the type of person who had everything planned, but an adventurous spirit takes over her and prompts her to take the job. She gets ready for a new experience: a beautiful city, a great job, and new people. In a turn of events that were expected to give the show some excitement, things don’t go as planned.
Emily doesn’t know the language; her new boss thinks she’s useless and obnoxious' her long–distance boyfriend breaks up with her (this is not a spoiler, I promise); and she finds herself with no friends.
Regardless, the show is carefree and fun. Even though Emily runs into problems, she solves them graciously and easily. It’s like the universe is conspiring in her favor—which can prove to be unrealistic and a little bit annoying at times. Emily in Paris consists of ten episodes, each around twenty minutes long—it’s the perfect binge–watch.
The show was received with a mixture of praise and criticism. People approved of the casting of Lily Collins as Emily; some loved the outfits, others thought they were tacky; some categorized the storyline of Emily becoming a social influencer as unrealistic, and Parisians understandably cringed at the show’s portrayal of the city and French people alike.
Indeed, the show somehow manages to romanticize Paris and antagonize its people at the same time. The “city of love” is portrayed as an ideal setting, a place of opportunity, history, and beautiful sights. Which it is, but it’s presented as the perfect location with seemingly no problems. The people, on the other hand, are depicted as rude, mean, and lazy. They scoff at the “American way” because it’s presumed that Americans are not used to working as much or devoting their lives to work.
Despite these valid criticisms, and the show’s obvious faults, Emily in Paris is not meant to be taken too seriously. Even though sometimes I cringed as I watched the show, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. As I mentioned, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies, but it’s more than that. The exciting new adventure that Emily is living is something I will likely not experience anything time soon—probably none of us will.
It isn’t the show’s unattainable opportunities or the cliché love story; rather, it’s the little things that Emily gets to experience. As Emily looks through her new city, bright–eyed and excited, I couldn’t help but wonder when our turn will be to travel again. I know someday we will, we’ll get to go to new places, meet new people, walk outside without cloths over our faces. In the meantime, however, sappy romantic comedies can be my new adventures.