Clichés & the City with Emily in Paris
Created by Darren Star (the pen of Sex and the City and Beverly Hills, 90210) and produced by MTV Studios, the ultimate rom-com Emily in Paris was released on Netflix worldwide on 2 October 2020. Since its early days, this TV series has climbed Netflix’s charts. It managed to maintain the first position for weeks thanks to the double “F”: fashion and France.
There’s another characteristic that strikes the viewer since the first episode of this TV show: Star, in writing it, chose to use a huge amount of clichés. And if their casual dropping usually tends to be just a little bit annoying, in this case, the result ends up being quite different.
From the USA with love
The ten episodes follow Emily (Lily Collins), a young junior marketing executive at an American company that acquires a French boutique operating in the luxury world. When Emily’s boss (Kate Walsh) finds out she’s pregnant, she decides to send the young Emily to Paris on her behalf. She will have to move to the city, and run their social media campaigns, filling the office with a new and fresh point of view.
Once in the city, Emily, the American fashionista, steps into a tough arena. Her colleagues don’t want her to be there and they don’t even bother hiding it. She finds herself far from home, unable to speak French, surrounded by strangers but still, dressed in crazy expensive outfits.
Paris and Fashion
The costume designer Patricia Field confirms her taste once again, mixing the American style with French elegance. Earlier, she shot a few scenes in Paris with Sex & the City and The Devil Wears Prada. Yet, it looks like only now that she finally has the chance to display her work all around the city.
Because if Lily Collins fits perfectly into the main character’s role, then there is another star in Emily in Paris: Paris itself. Watching the episodes the viewers will dream of walking Parisian pavements, seeing the city in the way only Parisians know-how, from the Rive Droite and Rive Gauche to Les Jardin des Tuileries and the Place Vendôme.
A story of symbols
Romantic strolls, flowers, beautiful apartments, friendships that come out of nowhere, working skills that have no basis: this show is stuffed with clichés. However, Star is not new to this type of story. He recently created TV Land’s Younger, in which Liza, the main character, looks like Emily’s older cousin. A forty-year-old woman who lies about her age to get a job as an editorial assistant in a big publishing home, behaving like a girl in her late twenties. And going back in time, Stars has done something similar, with the rich lives of Beverly Hills teenagers in one case, and with the love affairs of a group of women in New York in the other.
If the viewer got used to the gritty reality of other recent female characters like Fleabag – who showed us the truth of what a standard girl has to do to make ends meet – here the approach is the opposite. Fleabag finds some common ground with each girl who has to live out there in the real world, tells a story in which it is easy to find oneself. Emily’s recipient, on the other hand, is different. The aim of the show isn’t to reflect reality or to deceive the viewers. Emily’s character exists only to let the spectator dream for a moment, a fragment in time, on the couch, imagining himself being her, facing the unbearable dilemma of which coat to wear.
After twenty minutes the world strikes back, but at least the escape was worth it.