Everything about this little show is a cliche. There, that’s the bad part of the review.
But, since we are in a time of pandemic sheltering in place, a time of not being able to travel, anything that will take me to a place I love and know so well, and show it in full, is worth a watch.
Emily in Paris Season 1, starts the story – 10 episodes of approximately a half-hour each – of Emily Cooper randomly falling into a job of a lifetime at the young age of 22 which takes her to Paris to live for a year. It also happens to be her first trip out of the US. Nevermind trying to explain to yourself how a 22-year old can have a Masters degree in Communication and, it seems, more than a year of experience in the workplace office. It doesn’t make sense.
There was a lot about this show that I could identify with. On my first extended trip to Paris when I was 29, I experienced many of the faux pas and cliches of the French that Emily faced. I had studied French for years but seemed to have forgotten it all upon landing, so I could relate to Emily having to struggle with the language. Take the scene in episode 2 when Sylvie (the boss) makes Emily continually repeat the pronunciation of the name of the perfume they are marketing. “I don’t think that’s the account for you,” Sylvie says when she gives up trying. I had the exact same experience in a small épicerie when I was looking for peanut butter and tried to describe what I was looking for to the clerk. Peanut butter in French is one of the hardest words to pronounce – arachide ou cacahuete – and the clerk wouldn’t allow me to buy it until I could pronounce it.
I like Paris, but I’m not sure if Paris likes me …” — Emily Cooper
My friend’s apartment, where I stayed on one trip to Paris, was on the sixth floor, without an elevator, and like Emily, I often tried to unlock the fifth floor apartment door. Those apartment buildings are a great way to keep in shape by the way.
Walks along the Seine, taking in the amazing city, having meals at random neighborhood cafes that are fabulous, being invited to nice events, a weekend road trip to Champagne to see a friend’s family, yep, they all remind me of being in France.
The one thing that I love about Emily, is that while she is into social media, on a personal level she’s not obsessed by it. Although, it is her job and she does fall into that faux pas of using a situation and talking about work in social gatherings – a lot.
She also makes friends, has the requisite affairs, and is initially shocked by the French thinking on sex and relationships.
Emily makes all the mistakes that Americans make when they go to France for the first time. But the writers seem to have some experience there and aren’t making up the cultural differences. Some of it may be a bit buffoon-ish, but if you can watch this with a light heart and not judge, it’s worth it for the scenery and eye-candy it displays.
What did you think of Season 1? Tell us in the comments below!