When a selfie featuring a croissant that gives off Facebook-mom-vibes is the type of photo to go viral on Instagram, you know you’re dealing with an entirely different universe.
It just so happens to be the universe in which the new Netflix show, ‘Emily in Paris,’ takes place.
We open with our protagonist, Emily Cooper, taking her casual five-mile morning run on the suburb streets of Chicago, Illinois—a scene that lasts maybe 15 seconds and seems to be only included to show that Cooper lives in Chicago.
In classic movie magic, Cooper hasn’t broken a sweat, and the next thing you know, she’s strutting into the office, tablet in hand and ready to set up the main plot for the rest of the show.
Here’s the lowdown. Cooper works for a marketing firm, Gilbert Group, which has just acquired a luxury French marketing firm, Savoir. Cooper’s boss, Madeline Wheeler, is planning on moving to France to work with this new firm and provide an American perspective on their social media outreach. That is, until she discovers she’s pregnant.
Of course, Cooper must fill in. With her flawless selfie-filled Instagram feed, how could she not just drop everything and move to France to provide the people of Paris with her social media expertise? The only issue: her long-term relationship… and the fact she doesn’t speak a word of French.
Enter Doug, the generic looking middle-aged businessman boyfriend who looks like he would maybe last one round on ‘The Bachelorette’ and then be kicked off the next week, simply because everyone forgot he existed.
In similar fashion, Doug lasts one episode and suddenly can’t take it anymore and breaks off the relationship with Cooper in the next.
This leaves Cooper to focus more on her French language studies and her career with Savoir, despite the fact that all of her coworkers hate her. In fact, her boss at Savoir, Sylvie, shares my feelings on Cooper’s Instagram and frequently scoffs at the high angled selfies featuring Cooper’s best duck face.
Aside from just Cooper’s Instagram, however, the French in this show seem to have an issue with the overall idea of using social media as an effective outreach avenue.
While I’m not from France, I have a feeling they use social media marketing techniques almost as much as they do here in America. The France portrayed in ‘Emily in Paris’ seems to be an outdated and stereotyped version of the France that actually exists to us in the real world.
The whole show is an Americanized glimpse of Parisian lifestyle from the spotless city streets to the hot neighbor living next door.
In fact, the hot neighbor in question, Gabriel, is of course Cooper’s new love interest, despite the fact that he has a girlfriend who happens to be one of Cooper’s closest friends that she has made in Paris.
He owns a restaurant across the street and in addition to preparing Cooper meals, he lets her use his shower when her own shower breaks. He is unable to communicate with the French speaking plumber, which of course keeps tension high.
However, the writers of the show tend to throw in backstories for side-characters like Gabriel that I don’t care about, and I don’t think other viewers care about either. Cooper’s friend, Mindy Chen, a random woman Cooper runs into on the streets of France, is suddenly given a backstory, taking up almost an entire episode that frankly, went in one ear and out the other.
But, it’s the tense web of friendships and love triangles in this show that I think appeals so much to audiences worldwide, especially American ones. Our obsession with overly romanticized television and picture-perfect travel fits perfectly with the narrative ‘Emily in Paris’ portrays.
‘Emily in Paris’ allows viewers to escape to a time when international travel was less risky and COVID-19 was not a constant threat at our doorsteps.
Under other circumstances, I think this show would be receiving countless more critiques. But, with people restless to get out of the house and see new horizons, ‘Emily in Paris’ is a perfect show to pass the time and escape to an alternate reality while also getting a laugh out of the hilarity in the production quality.