Many people are inspired by Paris, the art, fashion, culture, and gastronomy capital of the world. This was definitely the case for Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a young and aspiring marketing executive, in the Netflix Series Emily in Paris. Originally working for a pharmaceutical company in Chicago, she joined a Parisian fashion marketing firm Savoir as a social media strategist.
She quickly comes to realize that the business culture in France is the polar opposite of the workstyle in the United States. The French alienate her culturally different ways as she desperately tries to adapt to a new workplace in the old world. One of the main sources of conflict stems from Emily’s Instagram usage. The French believe that maintaining the prestige and glamour of fashionable luxury brands has to be achieved using old-fashioned ways. Emily, on the other hand, tries to convince that to attract young customers and to maintain the sustainability and success of the brands Savoir represents, it is imperative to utilize the advantages of social media, specifically Instagram.
In one episode, Emily welcomes an American star Brooklyn Clark (Carlson Young) who arrived for a launch of the Fourtier flagship store. When deciding what to wear, Emily suggests the classical Pierre Cadault in an effort to simultaneously promote another brand Savoir works for. However, Brooklyn decides to settle for a risque dress. At the end of the night, Emily takes a picture of Brooklyn’s skimpy outfit lying on the floor and posts it on Instagram with a #AboutLastNight. By the next morning, the post blew up acquiring 20,000 likes.
The show was produced by Darren Star, who is also known for producing Sex and the City. Since the show released on October 2, 2020, it has quickly become one of the most-watched rom-coms on Netflix. Countless fan pages appeared on Instagram reflecting some of the show’s most prominent scenes. One of the aspects viewers initially notice is Emily’s unique sense of style, which also generated its own fan page depicting many of the outfits worn on the set.
However, not all viewers love the show. It was panned and is considered one of the most “hate-watched” shows on Netflix. Critics claim that the show promulgates false French stereotypes of being lazy-workers, sexist, and arrogant. Others claim that the speed at which Emily Cooper gains popularity from each Instagram post is utterly unrealistic. Starting off with 48 followers at her arrival to Paris she reaches a follower count of 20,000 within a matter of weeks. Some Instagram fan pages such as emilyinparasite make a mockery of Emily Cooper’s excessive selfies and Instagram posts.
Despite the criticisms, the show is confirmed to return for a second season. The date of the premier remains unknown.
While the show has definitely been “Hollywooded up” and depicts a life that is unrealistic, movies and shows are often not designed to reflect realism. If people are searching for realistic scenarios, they need not look much farther than their own lives. What people need when they watch a show, especially a rom-com, is a mini escape, a distraction from life. Emily in Paris provides this much-needed humor, friendship, fantasy, and romance. Embedding stereotypes is sometimes an artistic necessity.