Oct 18, 2020

How Netflix's Emily In Paris Wrongfully Shines Light On Life In Paris

Kristin Kerr

aybe you’ve heard about the trending Netflix show Emily in Paris, or perhaps you’ve already binge-watched the entire 10-episode season. For those who haven’t watched it quite yet, Emily In Paris stars Lily Collins as the lead, and Sex and the City’s Darren Star as the creator. With those two names, the series undoubtedly had a lot of hype built prior to its launch date earlier this month.  Emily, who works in marketing, is presented with the chance of a lifetime when her coworker finds out she’s pregnant and chooses to hand over a job at Paris marketing firm, Savoir, to Emily. As a master in social media and marketing, Emily is tasked with bringing an American perspective to the French marketing firm.

Ticket For One, S'il Vous Plait!

Paris is a city of light, romance, and old fashioned ways, right? That's what Emily in Paris would have you think. While the series has been largely well-received by American audiences for its romantic escapism, French critics have accused it of relying on outdated stereotypes of French culture, and of depicting an unrealistic version of Paris, the French capital. PEOPLE magazine spoke with a handful of born-and-raised Parisians about their reactions to Emily in Paris, and whether or not some of the show’s most outlandish moments would ever happen in real life.

The Men

Young Parisian men are all tall, toned, gorgeous, and know exactly how to treat women, right?  Well, sorry to break it to you, ladies, but this is actually not the case.

Anna, 25 says “The one part of the show French people wish was true? I never had a neighbor as hot as Gabriel. (I think there would be a mass-migration to Paris if more people did.) “

The Monogamy

One of the show's constant cliches that particularly frustrated French viewers is the idea that no French people practice monogamy. Almost every male character in the series shows signs of flirtatious behavior.

In her interview with PEOPLE, Victoire said “I’m not sure French people sleep around more than anyone else, but we make less of a big deal out of it. No one is promoting it but at least we’re not hypocritical.”

So no, not every married French man and woman does not automatically have a lover or mistress.


The Indoor Smoking

PSA: France banned indoor smoking in 2007.

“Seeing a lit cigarette in an office in the first episode almost made me quit watching the show,” Victoire adds. “This is such an outdated image that most of the show’s audience wasn’t even alive to see. People smoke where they’re allowed to,” she says.

Societal Issues

Oscar, a 26-year-old student studying sustainability, acknowledges that the series is full of clichés — but tells People Magazine that it’s still “very funny and very American-ish for us,” adding that it’s “great to watch in bed on a Sunday night.” So the show isn’t bad by any means, but Oscar also shines a light on how the series avoids showcasing anything about poverty, social fights, migration or other social issues. “To us, the way Paris is shown is like a Disneyland version, where everything is way too clean, too light and too smooth.”

To Watch Or Not...

Emily in Paris is not a bad series by any means, and honestly, if you’re in search of a light-hearted, romantic, short series to binge-watch throughout the week, this is definitely a great contender. Paris is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and even though Emily In Paris portrays clichés and, it only portrays one single vision of Paris, through a specific lens. Paris truly is an entire world in a city. Just don’t get your hopes up if you believe a dozen roses would cost a mere €5.60 – more like €30.

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