If there’s one thing we can agree on when it comes to Netflix Emily and Paris, that’s it… there is not much we can agree on. A dinner conversation will undoubtedly set off a series of opposing views – from whether Emily’s outfits were outrageous or inspired to hot images of the show’s portrayal of Parisian work ethic.
For the uninitiated, the hit show, starring Lily Collins, tells the story of a woman in her late twenties who moves from Chicago to Paris. Her experience is, to say the least, rocky as she encounters the many nuances of Parisian.
As a Midwest American living in Paris, you can bet I have my fair share of thoughts (admittedly, most of them relate to how Emily walks around Paris in those four-inch stilettos!) It turns out , that I am definitely not alone. In fact, the series has sparked international acclaim for its rather stunning account of an American expat and (at times bitingly) portrayal of the Parisian people. If you’ve rolled through TikTok recently, you’ve probably come across a number of videos that give their praise and criticism of the series – mostly from those of us in similar situations as Emily.
That said, as selfish as I and my other expats can be, I thought it might be revealing to check in with some genuine The Parisians about their reactions to the second season of Emily and Paris. What do they find most realistic about their depiction of the city in the series? Most unrealistic? And what aspects would they change? (Warning: Spoilers ahead!)
It’s true: Parisians do not mind mixing work and pleasure
One aspect of the show that continued to confuse me was the dangerously blurred lines between professional and romantic life. I mean, when’s the last time you jumped on a train to Saint Tropez on a romantic weekend with … your client !? Well, it turns out that what is taboo in the United States is not quite so forbidden in France. Pierre, a 36-year-old lawyer, commented on the lack of boundaries. “For the French, sex in the workplace is not always taboo. In America, it’s problematic to date someone in the same job, but we do not really have that in France. In fact, I think it can be illegal to say you can not date anyone in an employment contract! Everyone is free, ”he said. Another Parisian, Nina, a 30-year-old news host, reiterated a similar stance. “I have a feeling that men are the same in both our worlds. Some cheat, some are faithful. However, it is true that Parisian students have more chances of having an affair with their teacher even if that teacher is married! ” she said.
Camille is far too passive aggressive to a Parisian
While passive aggression is an art form here in the United States, the Parisian MO tends to be significantly more direct, as I have come to learn. This is especially relevant when thinking about how Camille handles her revenge on Emily. As Jenny, a 31-year-old journalist, puts it: “Despite all the mistakes of a Parisian woman, I think things would not have played out this way. Parisian women have no problem being direct and rude, so it false approach seems very impartial. ” Ah, the age-old question – would you prefer to be offended in your face or behind your back?
The most believable aspect of the show is Emily’s colleague, Luc
It is easy to wonder while watching the series whether all Parisians are as they are portrayed. I admit that after two years in the city, I can attest that certain elements (ahem, their reluctance to make American friends) agree, but I was eager to hear a genuine Parisian attitude. The most revealing response was from Nina, who remarked: “I would say that the character of Luc, who works with Emily at the Savoir agency, is a bit realistic. He is portrayed as a tormented man who is aware of the absurdity of life, “which is very French because we have all read Baudelaire, Pascal and Flaubert. But I personally imagine that such a man works in a bookstore or at a university and never in a marketing agency!”
The Parisians would have preferred a “Grand Amour” final
As someone who ended season two and felt that Emily was getting exactly what she deserved (the betrayal! The lie!), I was fascinated to discover that my Parisian friends were feeling a little different. It is perhaps not surprising that those living in a city known for its romance longed for the couple in the lead role to be successful, despite their shortcomings. As Nina put it: “I was a little disappointed that Emily is opening her heart to another man in season two. In France and in our culture, the portrayal of love in fiction is sacred. In our classic literature, people die of love! “You can not fall for one guy and fall for another the next day. It’s a discredit of ‘l’amour fou’ that should make Emily stay in Paris forever.” Interestingly, Claire, a 34-year-old event planner, agreed. “I would have preferred Emily and Gabriel to live ‘le grand amour’, but maybe in season three? She said.
The work culture in Paris is fast becoming more American
I do not know about you, but I ended season two with the impression that the Parisians take their nights and weekends more seriously than they do their work weeks. I was curious – is this description true? It turns out, not exactly. “I do not really agree with the clichés about the work culture,” Claire said. “In marketing agencies (like Savoir) we work long hours and we can work on the weekends. Of course it’s not as common as abroad, but still.” Jenny added to Claire’s criticism, saying “Working life is completely wrong with the ‘lazy’ portrayal of the series.” I do it all the time, and so do most people I know. “Regarding the impression that Parisians mock American work ethic, Nina commented:” I personally have never seen anyone ‘eye-rolling’ at Americans. I would even say that Parisians admire Americans because we have this cliché that anything is possible when you live in the United States, whereas in France it could be harder to push the boundaries. “
The clichés about Paris are predictable and that’s OK!
Anyone who has spent more than three days in Paris knows that most of what the series shows goes a very fine line between reality and fantasy. While we catch a glimpse of the everyday realities of the Netflix series (ie the car that almost hits Emily in the opening scene – a common occurrence for this transplant!), Paris is far from as luxurious as the series would make it look. Yet this amazing facade does not actually disturb the Parisians I spoke to, who are apparently well accustomed to false accounts of their hometown. As Maeva, a 32-year-old chief of staff in a public agency, put it: “As a fictional Netflix show, it should be seen as entertainment. Parisian clichés existed before the show and will continue after that. Emily will not help American viewers learn more about Paris, and that’s OK. ” Nina also had a similar reaction and offered a little warning: “I would say this to a viewer of the series: Do not expect from Emily in Paris what it is not. Take it for what it is: light-hearted entertainment. None of this is true, but if we were looking for reality, we would not watch series and movies! Take it for its magic and forget about it right away! “
Emily and Paris can be streamed on Netflix.
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