’Emily in Paris’ Is Adequately Enchanting Escapism
It grows into itself alongside its bright-eyed protagonist and heart of the show, Emily Cooper
This past July, Netflix announced the upcoming arrival of Darren Star’s latest offering, Emily in Paris—a 10-episode romantic comedy about an American marketing executive who unexpectedly lands her dream job in Paris. It’s everything you’d expect from the creator of Sex and the City and Younger: a spirited lead, a glossy workplace set in a bustling city, and scene-after-scene of beautiful, glamorous outfits. Every bit of Emily in Paris feels like a classic romantic comedy, updated, of course, with copious amounts of social media use. Our protagonist, played by the glowing and freshly-engaged Lily Collins, is a marketing exec, after all.
Still, it isn’t groundbreaking television—which isn’t a bad thing!—but it’s enchanting and escapist enough to keep us interested for a good five hours, making it a quick, easy, and worthwhile watch, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s a bittersweet reminder of life before quarantine—a long six months ago, when we were still allowed to frolic amongst crowds of tourists in any busy city of our choosing, or when we still regularly went to our actual offices instead of being cooped up in our homes, staring blankly at computer screens. (We won’t spoil you, but one pivotal moment between Emily and another character takes place in a very popular traveling exhibit you probably went to last year.)
It’s a little rough in the beginning, but the show eventually finds it footing somewhere around episode three, where it starts to grow alongside its bright-eyed protagonist and heart of the show, Emily Cooper. She’s earnest—perhaps a little too much—and while it’s easy to dismiss to her naïveté as insufferable and even overwhelming, she does win you over, just as she tries to do the same for her incredibly French colleagues. Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu plays Emily’s chic boss Sylvie Grateau, a more reasonable version of The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly, and makes for a great foil to Emily’s saccharine optimism. Where Emily makes one faux pas after another, Sylvie begrudgingly helps her pick-up the pieces, becoming a mentor of sorts, whether or not she likes it.
Ashley Park is always a delight to watch, whether on stage or onscreen, and her portrayal of Mindy Chen is no exception. As the first friend Emily makes in Paris, Mindy provides great support, and eventually gets to shine on her own, too. Star, who saw the thespian in Mean Girls twice, had been blown away by her performance, and revealed that “casting her changed how we saw Mindy a bit, because we knew we wanted her to sing.” Lucas Bravo, who plays Emily’s kind and handsome neighbor Gabriel, is perfect as the male romantic lead.
Like Star’s other shows, Emily in Paris boasts a fantastic wardrobe designed and curated by Patricia Field, who also worked on Sex and the City, as well as the aforementioned Devil Wears Prada. Culling inspiration from movies like An American in Paris and Funny Face, she put together cohesive outfits that exemplify each character’s fashion sensibilities, from Emily’s loud and vibrant getups to Sylvie’s dark curve-hugging dresses with high, high slits.
Since the turn of the previous decade, the romantic comedy has found a home not in the production houses of big studios and film companies, but rather on the silver screen as we know it today—streamable, on-demand, and episodic. Emily in Paris joins the ranks of other rom-coms on TV—Jane the Virgin, You’re The Worst, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and The Bold Type—but it doesn’t exactly offer anything different to make it stand out. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time, though, because nowadays, it’s more important than ever to cling onto anything that puts on a smile on our faces, and Emily in Paris is guaranteed to do that.
Check out the trailer of Emily in Paris below:
Emily in Paris premieres on Netflix on Friday, October 2.
Lead photos from Netflix