Okay, so I know I am a little late in the game because Emily in Paris has already been out for weeks, and anyone who has a Netflix account has already watched it and reviews have been done to death.
I hadn’t been planning to watch this show because to be honest, the trailer was not in anyway appealing to me. Not that I disliked anything I saw in particular, but it wasn’t the kind of show that I liked to watch.
So anyway I succumbed to the pressure from the Internet to know what everyone was talking about to watch it.
I cannot comment about Paris or the French as I have never been there before (although many reviewers have said that it painted the French in an awful stereotypical light and that the show was not representative of the actual French people in any way), but seriously, the whole series was nothing but cringe for me.
Why? Because the show is so flawed and devoid of logic. In order to accept the storyline, you have to suspend your understanding of how real life works several times.
Of all the many, many things that drove me up the wall, here are the top FIVE things that annoyed me about Emily in Paris.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
5. EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH
This series takes place in France.
So why is everyone speaking English? Just because the latest import can only speak English? Why are they speaking English? For her convenience?
If so… why are they speaking English among themselves???
If the French were speaking to Emily in English, OK, I get it. But when they’re speaking to each other, why are they speaking in English? Wouldn’t the natural default would be to speak in their own mother tongue when talking to their own countrymen?
Even the ladies who were supposed to be from China all spoke in English instead of speaking in Mandarin! Emily wasn’t even there. Why would they speak in English??!!?!
And speaking of ladies from China, not a single one of them spoke with a Chinese accent. All of them were speaking English with American/Canadian accents.
Even when Mindy Chen (played by Ashley Park), who is supposed to be from China, spoke in Mandarin to the children she was a nanny for, I had no idea what she was saying, because … it was so bad. Or maybe it was not even Mandarin. I’m a “banana” (Chinese who can’t speak Chinese and only speaks English) and even my Mandarin is a zillion times better than that.
4. THE MARKETING MASTERS BABYSITS AN AMERICAN BRAT
When the company Emily is working for, Savoir, brought in the fictitious American actress Brooklyn Clark to host an event, Emily is put in charge of her.
Since when are marketing executives supposed to be babysitters as well? According to the show, apparently so. Emily was put in charge of meeting the spoilt brat upon her arrival at the hotel, and had to hunt Brooklyn down when she left the event with a 2-million-euro watch which was on loan for the event. Like… why was the watch fiasco even created? For drama? It was very poor drama which was poorly handled by Emily. When Emily finally hunted Brooklyn down in a club, not only did she not take the watch back, she watched Brooklyn get high on drugs and stayed on in the club to be on the dance floor with Gabriel. In the end it was Sylvie who had to save the day by storming into Brooklyn’s hotel suite to retrieve the watch, because helpless Emily just gave up and sat in the hotel bar and had drinks with Gabriel.
If the watch was so expensive and important, why aren’t there guards and procedures in place to make sure the watch did not leave premises, a la Ocean’s Eight? And why was Emily solely in charge of taking care of Brooklyn? Shouldn’t there be another assigned person in charge of taking care of the celebrity? Doesn’t Emily as the marketing executive have more important things to do than to pander to a celebrity just because they’re from the same country?
While we are talking about that episode, there was one scene where Emily was asked to sign several legal documents that were all in French on behalf of Savoir. She asked what they were for, and took the word of the person asking for her signature. And she was just putting her signature on random different pages that he pointed at.
Err…. since when did this happen in real life? When would a supposedly educated, intelligent person sign a document in a language she couldn’t read in front of witnesses? Wouldn’t the documents be signed much, much earlier (and not in the middle of the event) after being perused by the legal representatives of both companies?
3. A MAJOR EVENT HAS EXTREMELY POOR PLANNING
So, yes, I know that for the sake of squeezing a story into 30 minutes so that it doesn’t have to arc over a few episodes, the season penultimate episode begins with Emily being approached by American Friends of the Louvre to ask for a dress to be auctioned by Emily’s client who is a premier designer.
I am not quite sure how much time has actually passed between then and the actual event because it was not stated, but it seemed to be almost immediate because within the same episode, after procuring approval, it was the auction.
We see Emily chatting with the American organiser at the start of the event, and the organiser suddenly receives news that a couple that was vital to the auction’s success was not coming – the model who was supposed to show off the dress (which was the event’s pièce de résistance) and the billionaire who was supposed to bid on the dress – due to a thunderstorm in America.
This was all just a thin plot of the show to conveniently make Emily the model of the dress.
First of all… if this such a major event, who makes such last minute planning? Anyone who works in events knows that it could take months just to get things ready, and there must always be backup plans.
And who on earth flies internationally to arrive just in time for a lavish event? Most sane people would arrive much earlier, giving themselves time to rest and refresh themselves so that they would look splendid at the event. Considering the organiser only received the news that there was a thunderstorm when the event has already started, does that mean the couple were only getting on the plane then??? Doesn’t it take HOURS to fly from USA to France? As the organiser, wouldn’t you be expecting your important people (especially your MODEL) to be at the event much earlier to get made up and ready in the ridiculously overpriced dress? Wouldn’t a fitting have been done much earlier to ensure that the dress fits the model and that anything that needs to be tucked in or let out is done days before the event? Why don’t they have a backup model?
I’m not an event organiser and already the lack of logic annoys the bejeezus out of me!
2. PLANS CAN BE CHANGED AT ZERO NOTICE
And by plans, I mean business plans.
Gabriel, the chef that Emily has the hots for (and is the boyfriend of a really lovely French girl, Camille, who has been super helpful to Emily) who lives one floor below her, has decided to move back to Normandy to buy a restaurant which he can afford, as he could not afford to buy over the restaurant he was working at in Paris, and refused to take on a loan from his girlfriend’s family.
On the morning he was supposed leave Paris for good, he changed his plans because there was an investor (one of Savoir’s clients) decided to offer the money needed to buy over the Parisian restaurant (which was going to be closed down).
So… apparently, a business decision to buy over a restaurant can be changed at a drop of a hat. And a restaurant that was already scheduled to be closed down can suddenly be reopened.
Wouldn’t there have been any business documents or loans signed to buy over the restaurant? Wouldn’t there be paperwork done or possibly terminated for a restaurant that was going to be closed down? If he hasn’t extended the lease on his apartment, wouldn’t he be homeless? Wouldn’t he have sent a bunch of stuff in advance? Why did he keep working up to the last night he was in Paris? Wouldn’t he need to take some time to pack and prepare for his complete upheaval from Paris to Normandy? I have a lot more questions that would fill a page longer than this blog post.
The way they live their lives make zero sense. Everything is just done for the narrative.
1. EMILY IS NOT ACTUALLY LIKEABLE
It is important that the protagonist is someone we root for. We need to be invested in her happiness or her success, so that we would keep watching the series, into the future seasons.
Throughout the season, I wasn’t rooting for Emily in any way. In fact, it was quite a chore to keep watching. The only reason I finished the series was because I wanted to give it a chance (and to make this a fair review to write – I can’t write a proper review if I haven’t watched the whole thing, right?).
Yes, she’s friendly. Yes, she keeps a smile on her face. Yes, she’s trying to stay positive.
But she goes to Paris knowing barely any French words, expecting people to cater to her monolinguistic capabilities, wanting to send food back when she hadn’t even tried it (and changed her mind when she saw the chef was her hot neighbour), trying to impose American ideas on everyone, never bothering to try to understand French culture, didn’t even understand how dates work (dd/mm and not mm/dd) in spite of working in Paris for several months already, lusting over the boyfriend of the nicest French girl she knows, almost jumping into bed with any man who so much as smiles at her, and is always trying to suck up to her boss.
On that last note… while I agree that her boss Sylvie was quite bitchy towards her, she understandably has her reasons – she even lists them out to Emily’s face. But one of the things that I can’t stand is how Emily keeps trying to make Sylvie to like her and try to force a friendship, to the extent of trying to make her boss confide in her about her affair (with zero success). Emily even barges into Sylvie’s office while her boss was having a heated argument with client/lover Antoine, pretending that she had been working on a suggestion that Sylvie came up with (which she didn’t – it was Emily’s own idea which she said was Sylvie’s in order to try to make Sylvie look good). As Sylvie rightfully says, “I don’t need you to save me with an idea that I know I won’t like” – who does Emily think she is to try to pull a stunt like this? Personally of everything that Emily has done, I can see why Sylvie has intense dislike for Emily, especially when one understands Sylvie’s background and where she is coming from.
Emily’s ridiculous attempts are pretty pathetic and not at all successful. In this case, I see them more as a character flaw rather than the moral of the story; so it is definitely not something anyone should try to imitate.
Sylvie would probably have more respect for Emily if Emily had stood up for herself.
In the series, Emily was made out to always come out on top (in spite of the many problems) and that her methods worked (her marketing ideas, how she nabs clients by barging into their lives), as if that was supposed to be some sort of triumph.
So, in the end when Emily saves herself from being fired and finally gets to sleep with Gabriel, the chef she was lusting over, no, I didn’t celebrate her seeming success. And when the season ended with a few text messages that place her in an awkward situation – from Camille, Gabriel’s ex (they had broken up when he was going back to Normandy) which mentioned that she heard Gabriel was staying on in Paris, and from Mathieu Cadault, the guy she was seeing – no, I didn’t feel sorry for her at all.
I’m not saying Emily deserves the situations that she put herself in (okay, actually, she does); just that I’m not invested in her happiness or achievements. So much so I have no desire to watch the next season of Emily in Paris… if there is one.
Emily in Paris is currently streaming on Netflix.