The year 2021 has its days numbered and in the 45″ of the second half, Emily In Paris returns to Netflix after the controversy of the first season. We have good and bad thoughts about season two. But overall, if you're looking for entertainment that doesn't make you think hard about relevant topics… the series is a good option to end the year with a flourish.
In the first season, we followed Emily (Lily Collins), a 20-year-old American from Chicago who moves to Paris because of an unexpected job opportunity. His quest is to present an American point of view to a reputable French marketing company, Savoir. However, cultures clash as she tries to adjust to the challenges of her new life in Paris, balancing career, new friendships and complicated love life. It's right at the end of the 2020 season that we follow the love triangle between Emily, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and Camille (Camille Razat) which is resumed in the new season, but that doesn't make up the whole story, despite persisting through the 10 episodes.
Read too: Criticism | Emily in Paris
It seems not, but in part, the production together with the writers heard some of the complaints about the series. The sequel, which debuted on the Netflix platform on December 22nd, features a protagonist a little less dazzled, a little more focused, but still very superficial and immature at times.
The sequel to Emily In Paris no longer focuses on this initial moment of the girl's arrival in the French capital. At this point, she is already more adapted and has already gotten a bit of the feeling of how things work. Leaving “unstagrammable” life aside – here more relevance is given to the other characters that circulate within the plot –, we see that she still has difficulties with the language and it's something she tries to remedy by going back to A1 level classes. At this point, the series introduces two characters, a girl from Kiev, Ukraine, and a London banker in transition after the Brexit. Both are different and their experiences give a more real air, making the glamor stand a little aside.
The French characters speak more French to each other, which gives more focus to the character Camille, making Emily feel uncomfortable – we see her like that all the time -. The places that gain more visibility are the Père Lachaise cemetery (where Edith Piaf, Chopin, Balzac, etc. are buried), La Place de Vosges (where Victor Hugo lived), the Fontaine de Saint Michel, the Palace of Versailles, as well as a short trip to the Côte-d'Azur region in southern France.
Another high point of the plot is the use of European culture that can be seen throughout the 10 episodes. It was smart to bet on the mix of cultures, in addition to showing not only the contemporary features, but the classic side without giving too much focus to the most common places. The highlight of this mix is how the European countries work together and due to this dynamic, the circulation of several languages is present as the presence of a Dutch photographer, a German one and even some dialogues in Italian are pronounced by Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) which also gains more space and we follow a little more of your personal life.
The character Mindy Chen (Ashley Park) gets more layers, which is super incredible, because since the first season, it's been noticed that it has potential, but that it was conditioned to stay in stand by. Seeking to reposition herself in the music field, she starts singing in bars, but as she doesn't have a work permit, it becomes difficult until she joins a duo that plays in the streets. Performing in several places beside Benôit (Kevin Days) — a great actor and an incredible inclusion to the cast — the highlight goes to one of the most beautiful performances where they sing falling slowly, by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, from the film once – Only Once (2008).
Unfortunately, Luc co-workers (Bruno Gouery) and Julien (Samuel Arnold), however, persist in the shadows, as does Gabriel's past. The production had a great cultural advance, but Emily's life did not advance in the same way. Here the protagonist is not taken advantage of the way she should be and despite her gaudy looks, she is not a good professional – strange to be praised as an exceptional collaborator, and for every misunderstanding the script finds a way to make it easier -, and sometimes embarrassing situations involving their leadership are even more bizarre.
The issue here is quite simple: Emily In Paris (1 and 2) is not a narrative, it is a marketing product. The plot plays out Emily's daily “work”, trying to sell a product, a dream, a lifestyle and this package includes romance with characters who look like magazine cover models or some global actor, but who work as a chef or on a bench or even a work schedule in which we see that the character goes in and out at the time he wants, where little is shown of her routine sitting in front of her notebook, performing some demand or anything else related to work of office.
Being a marketing company – dealing with campaigns and all, where's the screaming, the stress, the tight time to deliver the Jobs? We don't see realism in this. Here, luxury reigns in the form of chic designer clothes, which go perfectly with beautiful, crystal-clear glasses of champagne in daylight. The series is concerned with selling a fantasy impossible for most viewers to reach, instead of actually showing the story of a young American girl full of personal ambitions living in a country that does not usually receive foreigners (rich tourists apart) as gently as it is seen.
Here, this marketing vision is analyzed and takes on a more realistic bias with the arrival of Alfie (Lucien Laviscount), a British critic of the Parisian image. The character deconstructs the myth that although Paris is seen as a perfect and romantic place, it is just a marketing product and a fake when consumed. In one passage, he reports that his hometown London is authentic, it doesn't sell love and enchantment, but it remains one of the most touristy places in the world.
Lily Collins' character is already more in tune with the culture in the City of Light, the preposterous clichés of the first season that portray the French as backward, lazy, dirty and sexist are softened. The second season's target is the Americans and is most evident with the arrival of a US customer at the Savoir office. Here the frenetic pace of work full time is not well regarded. Another point that accentuates these differences is the visit of the American chef Madeline (Kate Walsh) to Paris, which also makes explicit the lack of respect and tact with the way Europeans work. It is at this moment that the key changes in Emily's head, as the young woman returns to her essence as a “good soldier”, in other words, just an obedient employee.
Was it on purpose? Was it an apology to the French who hated the first season? We don't know, but it was predicted that at one time or another it should happen, because Emily from the first season, who was an American adapting in Paris, has already changed her vision, and this accompanies her in the evolution of the series. the showrunner Darren Star aims to show an Emily from a more reflective point of view and, perhaps, a little more real with her love life turned upside down and a difficult professional decision to be made, the latter being under suspense at the end of the tenth episode opening the ports for one more sequence.
Is it worth going on for another season with Emily in the French capital? Lily Collins is charming and charismatic enough to hook audiences, but the show doesn't allow her to do that. Nowhere near does the character resemble the beautiful and iconic Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City). In addition, in terms of plot, it is much lower than expected, as fashion, luxury, beautiful and famous people and a lot of romance are already treated in works such as O Diabo Veste Prada (2006) that tell a story and in a real way and with emotional value enough to raise important debates in society.