Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” is like eating a giant bowl of Kraft mac n’ cheese on a rainy afternoon. It’s comfort food that’s trying to sell itself as a Gen Z version “Sex and the City” (it’s not).
The show revolves around Emily (played by Lily Collins), a naturally gifted digital marketing wizard who moves from Chicago to Paris and watches her Instagram explode to 25,000 followers. She goes on runs in lacy crop tops, posts photos of her morning croissant and latte and has a very handsome neighbor.
Like I said, comfort food. However, two groups can’t seem to stomach the new Netflix series: Instagram influencers and French people.
Influencers are reportedly rolling their eyes at the portrayal of their industry. In a Vulture article, writer Rachel Handler reached out to actual French influencers to ask whether Emily’s “bot-like” Instagram posts would actually make a dent in her following (which started out as only 43 people when she lived in Chicago).
“People in Paris are really tired of this,” Monica de La Villardière, a Canadian living in Paris, told Handler about Emily’s selfie in her new Paris apartment. “I have a big North American following, but my biggest following is French. So that means I have to be aware of [those clichés].”
“Uh, I don’t know,” says Lamia Lagha, another real influencer, said about Emily filming herself biting into her pain au chocolat. “This is too much for me. I would not do that.”
“She’s trying to find the easiest way to get more and more followers who respond to these kinds of clichés,” Lamia added. “She’s playing that game. And it doesn’t feel [contemporary]. Paris has changed so much.”
The influencers are seemingly onto something about the show’s use of cliché’s — so much so that the French media’s reviews of “Emily in Paris” are relatively scathing for an easy binge Netflix series.
French publication RTL wrote, “Rarely had we seen so many clichés on the French capital since the Parisian episodes of ‘Gossip Girl’ or the end of ‘The Devil Wears Prada.‘”
A reviewer for Sens Critique added that to get through the show, you have to put aside the reality of what Paris is actually like.
“[You] have to strongly love science fiction to watch this series, knowing that Parisians are mostly friendly, speak irreproachable English, make love for hours and that going to work remains an option,” the review said. “The writers may have hesitated for two or three minutes to stick a baguette under each Frenchman, or even a beret to clearly distinguish them, on the other hand, they all smoke cigarettes and flirt to death.”
Yes, it’s a ridiculous, rom-com-esque frothy TV show about dream media jobs that don’t exist anymore. But it’s just perfect for quarantine. Netflix dropped the 10-episode series on October 2, and it was all anyone could talk about over the weekend.
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