I imagine they’ve spent the past few days eating and (mostly) drinking – and probably cooking to bulk up their famalga and / or friends. I only cook when I’m starving. I came up with an alternative show that is almost as bad: seeing the two seasons of “Emily in Paris” in one fell swoop, the last one premiered on Netflix on December 22nd.
Let’s start with the obvious Lily Collins has the most spectacular eyebrows on TV and around. This facial hair and the almost natural eyelashes are the new teeth. It’s getting harder, if not impossible, to find someone in front of the cameras who hasn’t undergone laser facial hair, lengthened lashes, or corrected zippers (as my brother would say – who you don’t know, but I assure you) it is the highest aesthetic sensitivity combined with the subtlety of a steamroller). Collins seems to be bucking this trend – and luckily. Now that the compliment is gone, let’s get to the rest.
To say that “Emily in Paris” is lighthearted, happy and (very) silly is an understatement. What can we expect from a series that features a coincident (but confident) American Midwest girl moving from Chicago to Paris? “You don’t speak French,” she remembers her American friend when she is confronted with plans for a future long-distance relationship that he does not want to be part of. A detail for Emily. “Fake it until you can do it,” and let’s get to that. After all, we have just entered the realm of counterfeiting. One more, one less, nobody notices. Unless they have the trained eyes of a Portuguese woman (I won’t name names) capable of spotting a Lacoste crocodile spinning for miles in the wrong direction. Speaking of Portuguese sensitivity …
We’re still in the first episode of season one and everything is already going wrong. The door of the building where Emily settles in Paris is not Portuguese – a real disgrace to national culture. Just another insult to the many that the series has amassed with different nationalities – starting with the French. Obviously, Darren Star and Co. have not studied the lessons of cultural appropriation thoroughly and have little film culture. For the next one, please call Ruben Alves. But only if they want to maintain a minimum level of probability that was clearly never in production plans.
Let’s face it: the main character is a 28-year-old girl who is replacing an executive (who becomes pregnant) old enough to be her mother in a very responsible position on the other side of the world. Uh, extremely realistic. It even seems that there is meritocracy. The other day I also thought I had spotted a unicorn (but I was just ethylenically in a good mood). Arriving in Paris, what does such a creature do? Create an Instagram account that is adding followers at the speed of light. Even in the city known for this petit nom, the surreality of such an accomplishment is impressive in the face of an algorithm such as we do not know. And it makes the profession of the thousands (not to mention the millions) who work on social media, especially the millennials – whom Emily supposedly represents – completely irrelevant.
Luc is one of the most realistic characters in the genre. And only for the accent compared to the rest. I often hear too many Franciscans and rarely speak English without making their mistakes – something that is seldom heard on the series aimed at American ears. This colleague of Emily is the madman of the village (in this case the agency) who delivers philosophical tirades in three semicircles that are worthy of any Xing master. In one of the best dialogues in the series (don’t get excited, there are, there aren’t many), take the opportunity to put Emily in her shoes: You came to Paris, can’t you speak French and you speak arrogance? Maybe it’s ignorant rather than arrogant, she admits. Let’s call it the arrogance of ignorance, Luc indulges himself. Keep this retort in mind because it will be very useful to you – in life in general and during the rest of the episodes in particular. If Emily doesn’t even try to hide one thing, it is the frankly heartbreaking ignorance of the world in general and the culture that surrounds it.
Let’s get back to the fauna. Another adorable character (who unfortunately only appears for half a dozen minutes) is the founder of Savoir, Monsieur Brossard. She has greasy hair, greets with kisses, bites and smokes, worse still, in the office. Shocking for the American, a pleasure for the bon vivant. Smoking is a pleasure and who would we be without pleasure? He asks ironically. Germans? Answers Emily’s new French boss. Both laugh at the newcomer’s expense, completely lost in the European translation / cultural tradition. Speaking of Europeans: Sylvie Grateau deserves her own chronicle. Everything about her is amazing, starting with the wardrobe. The rags the main character flaunts in the episodes of both seasons are hideous. I know this is a highly unpopular opinion (and what pains me, my gods).
Too much color, gaudy patterns, and a surefire way to grab attention: put all of the meat in the roaster. And I’m not talking about Collins’ physical characteristics. Her character Emily likes to take to the streets with everything in her closet – at the same time. Karre Coats with blouses or pants with prints, nothing to see? Follow! The logic goes something like this: if it has a pattern, a light color, ruffles, lace or a very visible marking – it will do. It’s about mixing everything up and adding very neat accessories: Eiffel Tower pendants, necklaces with the Chanel logo, berets in unspeakable colors (everything but acceptable black), ridiculous wallets and hideous shoes.
The attached stylists (all I’m not) say that there is a dictatorial regime called “Too Much Good Taste” to combat. If there is such an authoritarian regime, I would love to go on vacation there. I’m not saying I would move there because I don’t sympathize with perfection (and I run like the devil from the cross of perfectionists – they’re usually an Angoiss enclosure).
Emily dresses like a 12 year old girl who has just discovered that she has legs, can wear short skirts, and is dazzled by all the colors of the rainbow and surroundings. All of this while acting like a teenage curmudgeon – the ideal recipe for getting serious in the real world. The one that most of us, even those who appreciate self-destruction (again, I don’t name names) try not to look like a cartoon. In real life. In the series, all of the characters are cartoons, probably the main reason for its success. In full global captivity, where we lived terrified and overwhelmed by the chaos that plagued our lives, we just wanted something calming and familiar. Characters without major dramas, a narrative devoid of tension (not even sexual, let alone) with one of the world’s most touristic cities per location was all we needed to escape reality. All very Cutchi-Cutchi. But not everything is bad.
Chapeux for the casting director who managed to bring together Lucas Bravo, William Abadie, Charles Martins, Lucien Laviscount, Kevin Dias, Søren Bregendal (and many others) and produce a mixture that we can wash our eyes with. Rarely do we have the opportunity to see such a wide range of male specimens of this high aesthetic level (and in the same series). Sorry for my French: there are plenty of cute and charming guys.
Gabriel, the handsome neighbor we all would like to have, is played by Bravo, too handsome for his own good. The actor tries to add some depth to the character, but it’s just an attempt. Emily is as fat as a paper doll, with a wardrobe that is thicker and deeper than her.
Mindy (Ashley Park – trying to make herself younger) is the poor Americanized rich Asian girl (no innocent or accidental wink of the megahit “Crazy Rich Asians”). Maybe that’s why she seems to be the only one who can tell him some truths (full of molasses, of course). Of the three typical women and friends of the star recipe, Camille turns out to be the most perfect doll of a certain Parisian BCBG archetype of a young woman (perhaps because the actress herself is actually French?).
The plans of Paris – especially those that include Haussmannien buildings – have to be recognized as idyllic. They make you dream. And as such, they are very unrealistic. I love the French capital and my lived experience knows that it is not that bright or pink (and luckily). The hyperplastic images, reworked on the cutting table, retouched to the limits of Pantone’s pastel palettes and Disney’s mimimi aesthetic, are as disgusting as a piece of cotton candy, but they add up to the narrative, I admit.
The city remains one of the main characters in season two, but now there are other reasons for interest. Alfie, a London-based investment banker exploring Brexit, seems to fill in the archetype of the good on paper who is the ideal admirer (cute, straightforward, and with a well-paying job), so to speak, that Emily ends up exchanging for neighbor chef Gabriel. Mindy falls in love with a musician (pobretanas, it’s good to see) – who, for the national women, has the additional interest of an actor playing him with Tuga genes. And finally, Madeline (Kate Walsh), Emily’s pregnant American boss who has replaced her, decides to land in Paris. Another scenario as realistic as possible. Unless the manager has realized that it might be practical to enjoy a decent maternity leave (instead of a month at home as in the US), we don’t notice the timing. But there it is, the less it has to do with reality, the better at what seems to be the leitmotif of the series.
We’ll see in season three – which, of course, given the audacity of the cunning cliffhanger that ends the final episode – will see if Emily leaves the United States for Paris forever. A scenario so unimaginable that I don’t know if they will withstand the tension.