If you’ve ever visited Paris, nothing about this series will resonate. On screen, the streets are squeaky clean, the natives friendly, and berets ubiquitous. In fact, Emily in Paris is the ultimate romanticised version of the city of love – an American fever dream of what France should be. Nothing is true to life; everything (from the clothes to the acting) is overblown and over-egged. And yet the show is superb. It’s utter escapism.
Emily is doing for Paris what Sex and the City did for New York. Just into its third season, it’s been widely panned by the critics, and yet hugely fêted by the average viewer – always given that they’re female, and able to suspend a phenomenal amount of disbelief. And that kind of clears up the mystery of why I like it: as a dyed-in-the-wool sci-fi fanatic, I find the show so fantastical in everything from premise to plot that it might as well take place in an alternate universe!
On loan to a Parisian agency, young Chicago marketing executive Emily (Lily Collins) bounces from mishap to mayhem, all the while making friends, enchanting locals, and solving PR crises with her breezy American charm. Granted, she’s flummoxed by the locals’ laissez-faire approach to work (“It’s illegal to work weekends in France!” scolds her boss) and baffled by the lack of amenities (“What do you mean there’s no air conditioning in Paris?” she exclaims come July). But Emily’s irrepressible positivity and refusal to take no for an answer see her through. And also make her more than a few friends along the way.
There’s Mindy, the Chinese heiress who’s posing as a broke busker (because yeah, that could happen!); Camille, the wealthy curator whose family just happen to have an estate in Champagne; and Luc, the wacky work-mate who’s whimsy personified. Add to that a fair few love interests (including a dishy chef, effete fashion director, and a British financier), toss in a wardrobe that puts Carrie Bradshaw to shame, and you have an impossibly implausible plotline of the perfect Paris life. To be honest, Emily in Paris might just as well be taking place in a galaxy far, far away. It may not be sci-fi, but it’s certainly fantasy!