Flailing in Paris

January 16, 2022

Emily in Paris was renewed for four seasons, with the second season dropping on Netflix only recently.

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Watching Emily in Paris is the equivalent of watching paint dry while your neighbours drill a hole in the wall next door. You keep hoping that the paint drying process will go quicker, or turn out to be more interesting than anticipated. However, neither happens as the neighbours continue mercilessly with the drill.

The first season was widely panned but shockingly managed to garner an Emmy nomination. Season 2 appears to be the same, which makes one question why good stories with fascinating characters are being cancelled left and right by Netflix, while Emily in Paris has been renewed for a whopping four seasons of the titular character frolicking around Paris.

Season 2 is particularly painful to watch as it quickly becomes apparent that the producers have tried to deviate from the shallowness that looms over the show like cigarette smoke clings to everything in Paris. However, this is a merely mediocre attempt as there are a few supposedly light-hearted moments thrown into a mess that offers little substance. With stereotypical characteristics, predictable character arcs and another confusing ending, it somehow manages to be worse than the first season.

The show has been polarising across the board, with people either loving it, or hating it. And while the second season might not do much to convert those who hate the show, it may persuade those who love it to take a step back and figure out what they actually like about the series.

We finally see Emily make an effort towards learning French rather than expecting everyone around her to bend to her American ‘charm’ and lack of commitment. However, her learning French is only meant to be a plot device that gets her involved with Alfie, a British man who is in Paris on business.

With the first season ending on a cliffhanger, Season 2 wastes time getting back to the Gabriel-Emily-Camille conflict. Gabriel is obviously no longer leaving Paris, and Emily has to juggle her work, her infidelity and her relationship with Camille. Emily loses her relationship with Mathieu Cadault as he overhears her talking to Gabriel and confessing that she cannot stop thinking about him. He leaves her on a train to St Tropez and she makes a bad situation worse by inviting her friends, including Camille, to her trip. As she struggles with the guilt of sleeping with Camille’s now ex-boyfriend and projects her own issues onto Camille, things continue to drone on with everything else.

The show has been polarising across the board, with people either loving it, or hating it. While the second season might not do much to convert those who hate the show, it may persuade those who love it to take a step back and figure out what they actually like about the series.

Things finally come to a head when Camille realises on Emily’s birthday that she slept with Gabriel, leading to her breaking off contact with both Emily and Gabriel. In traditionally annoying Emily fashion, she proceeds to beg Camille for forgiveness with no shred of personal accountability or self-reflection as we see her kissing Gabriel in his kitchen a short while later.

After exhausting the conflicting love triangle, loss of relationships and a new love interest, the second half of the season becomes stagnant as the series goes through the motions. Beyond showcasing Paris, and lavish parties with impeccable fashion, the last few episodes do little else.

It seems as if the entire budget was blown on outfitting everyone, rather than decent writing and cinematography. The scene changes and cuts are jarring, and there is little attention to detail. At one point, Emily complains about the heat and humidity, while everyone around her is in warm clothing.

The story arcs of most other characters follow the same cliched trajectory, as Sophie continues to be suspicious and cynical, Luc continues to perpetuate French cliches, and Emily continues to be, well, Emily. The only decent character arc so far has been Mindy’s, as she leaves a comfortable au-pair job to follow her passion for singing, only to end up as a Madam Pipi at a drag club since she does not have a work visa. Instead of complaining about her circumstances, she joins a band and becomes a street performer, eventually singing at a PR event for Emily. Mindy happens to be the only redeeming factor in the show, and would have done much better as the main character since she steals the show. I’m sure we’d all like to see a Chinese heiress work her way to freedom from drag clubs to the Arc De Triomphe.

After watching the second season in its entirety, several loose ends are still left to float around while the premise of the show itself continues to lose what little steam it had. Most characters fail to engage the audience, and the show itself is so far removed from any shred of reality, it becomes borderline uncomfortable to watch. The second season of Emily in Paris is many things, but a tempting show is not one of them. Feel free to give this one a miss.


The author has a background in art and history.



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