/ 28 January 2023

One Show Two Takes: Emily in Paris Season 3

Emily In Paris S3 E3 00 05 05 16rc
City of slight: Ashley Park as Mindy and Lily Collins as Emily. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Sacré bleu! How has Emily in Paris made it to a third season? Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) is still in Paris, she is still wearing over-the-top “work appropriate” outfits, and the series is still cheesy. 

The plot is wildly unrealistic and follows the same formula as the previous two seasons —  an issue arises and Emily miraculously saves the day, within the 30-minute episode. The problems that Emily and her colleagues face should take time to solve but in Emily in Paris, time does not exist. 

Even if you have never set foot in Paris, the clichés are obvious. Parisians are wearing berets and eating baguettes in a sparkling city. If you have visited Paris, you will know the city is nowhere near as clean as it is in the show. 

The series romanticises Emily’s ignorance and presents her lifestyle in a way that does not require her to adapt to French culture or even attempt to learn the language. Three seasons in, the Chicago native still butchers simple French in a thick American accent. 

Emily is sent to Paris to give the marketing firm she works for “an American point of view” (whatever that means) to help its business. Instead, the show presents brutal American ignorance but it is so confident that it comes across as arrogance. 

An American girl leaves America and is really confused is probably the most realistic part of the story. 

If you look for realism in a series, Emily in Paris will have you grinding your teeth. If you’re looking for light escapism, you’ll get it — if you are willing to lean into the clichés. But Emily in Paris is still the show everybody loves to hate. 

Emily is, of course, the main character, but her “main character energy” easily covers up her selfishness. She is still stringing people along while choosing between impressive job opportunities and men who fall head over heels for her. It seems she can’t stop playing hard to get with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), and is confused about her feelings for Nicolas (Paul Forman). Although Emily is kind of unpleasant, Collins does a good job portraying her. 

Watching the series from a Francophilic fashion lover’s perspective, you want to fight Emily’s fashion choices but we’re too tired for that in season three. 

The faux Bernard Arnault (or “Fauxnault”) and LVMH plotline is entertaining for those who watch (or hate-watch) the series for the styling. But, in reality, there is no way a company like LVMH would acquire an haute couture brand like Pierre Cadault’s (Jean-Christophe Bouvet). It’s not nearly strong enough in its accessories. 

Also, how can Emily afford so many luxury items while working an entry-level job in one of the most expensive cities in the world? Hopefully, by season four, Emily will be able to speak some French and her bright and youthful outfits won’t be haute garbage with the introduction of the show’s new stylist, Marylin Fitoussi. — Kimberley Schoeman

City of slight: Ashley Park as Mindy and Lily Collins as Emily. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

I had a suspicion that saison trois of Emily in Paris would be merde but I also knew that — like a crash on the highway — I would be watching. This is a Devil Wears Prada meets Sex and the City Netflix series created by Darren Star — the man who also brought us the latter. 

Emily in Paris debuted on our screen during the dark times of 2020. Our lives were dry as a biscuit. We couldn’t travel, dine out or see our friends with benefits, so we lived vicariously through the young Chicago marketing executive who moves to Paris for work. 

The plot was sketchy but our lives had become dull and uninteresting and we needed to escape. By the time season two came around in 2021, we could see that we were not getting an award-winning show with a nuanced plot and depth in characters. 

There are some hard facts we need to accept about this show. One, it is vacuous entertainment. The allure is not the acting. Let’s be frank, despite his good looks, Lucien Laviscount, who plays Alfie, Emily’s boyfriend, is one of the corniest and most wooden actors on the small screen. If you’re considering watching this show, I need to disabuse you of the notion that there’s any depth to it. I’ve had baths deeper than the plot. However, if you’re looking for something superficial to pass the time, then this is for you.

The real star of the show is Sylvie, Emily’s French boss, played skilfully and with unbridled joie de vivre by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu. Sylvie is the quintessential French cougar — embroiled in love triangles, allergic to undergarments, with zero guilt or fucks to give. If you need one reason to consider watching it’s Leroy-Beaulieu’s performance. 

Themes such as betrayal, friendship, affluence, excess and commitment are juxtaposed by unrealistic fashion. Every episode, Lily Collins prancing around in platform heels on Paris’s cobblestones makes me cringe, along with the airbrushed, touristy views of the city. 

We cannot ignore they’ve ticked every “woke” box imaginable by making sure there are people of colour, interracial relationships, fluidity in sexual preference and much more. 

As a lover of documentaries, thrillers and spy movies, I don’t watch Emily in Paris because I need to be fed intellectually. Au contraire. This show is a giant cliche and I don’t care. 

Let me tell you why I watch. I live in Joburg, in Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa, where my electricity goes off three times a day, where the best view I have is the office park opposite my sectional title. My life is stressful, unsexy and uneventful. I wear sneakers and tracksuits to accommodate my Covid love handles and the most gorgeous man in my vicinity is the sweet petrol station attendant with the gold tooth. I want to escape, but flights are too expensive, so my only out is watching inane, unrealistic shows like Emily in Paris, so I can imagine myself drinking a glass of rosé while staring at the Eiffel Tower. Feel free to judge me. — Lerato Tshabalala