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Netflix’s New Show is Exactly the Kind of Naive Escapism Everyone Needs Right Now

by Viktoria Popovska

I was amid my post-sleep, early morning TikTok doom-scroll on Friday, Oct. 2, when I passed by an ad for the new Netflix show, “Emily in Paris,” that was released earlier that day. The thirty-second clip had me head over heels with excitement. I practically jumped on my roommate, telling her we had to watch the show after classes, just to be informed that she had already started it and thought of me while watching it.

That became a common thread. Every time someone I knew started the show, they were reminded of me and told me to watch it.

I should preface this by saying that if you know me, you know that my goal is to work in fashion communications and live in Paris. That’s why seeing the trailer and watching “Emily in Paris” was so compelling to me. One day, I want to be Emily in Paris—or should I say, Viktoria in Paris?

The 10 episode series follows main character, Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a Chicago based marketing executive who is suddenly relocated to Paris to act as an American representative at a Parisian fashion marketing firm. Emily’s place in Paris is even more unusual when you consider the fact that she has no experience in high-end fashion marketing and does not speak French at all. But of course, Emily’s boujee new life cannot come without some conflicts, like avoiding her hot downstairs neighbor Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who happens to be dating her friend Camille (Camille Razat). She spends most of her time and effort attempting to win over her “stuck-up” French boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu). Thank goodness for her new friend Mindy (Ashley Park), who is a fun nanny by day and drag show singer by night

Lily Collins does a fantastic job portraying a girl who exudes a stereotypical American confidence that magically guides her through Parisian life. The one thing Emily’s upbeat attitude can’t help her with is fighting her messy feelings for Gabriel that leads to some behavior that would 100% break Camille’s heart, should she find out.

The show provides some light-hearted comic relief during a time when we really need it and makes me jealous that I can’t travel right now. It was a fun and feel-good show, for me, despite many valid critics.

Emily Schwartz (CAS ’24) also enjoyed the show, but couldn’t help noticing the glaring stereotypes. “The show really displays the immense cultural misunderstandings that arise due to stereotypes and language barriers both on the French side and the American side,” Schwartz said.

Did I watch the show expecting accurate representations of French life? No. Did I go in knowing that the cliches would be endless? Yes. But, to me, that is just the charm of the series. The bright colors and clash of haute French couture and Emily’s Justice-esque outfits create an aura that makes you unwilling to look away.

Sure, the storyline may not be deep or culturally impactful, but sometimes a sound cliché—a young American girl in Paris, hot guys swooning left and right—type of show is good for the soul.

Now, “Emily in Paris” did not mimic what I expect my career in Parisian communications will look like, and that’s not a surprise. The only important thing I learned about Paris from this show is that I’m going to need to try a fresh-baked pain au chocolat. Once you binge the show, you’ll agree too.

To my disappointment, Netflix has yet to confirm a renewal for a season two, but chances are they definitely will. Having left watchers with a massive cliff-hanger, Darren Star is going to have a lot of pressure to give Emily Cooper and all the season two watchers a perfectly Parisian plot.

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