By Lieba Nesis
It was announced in November the breakout hit “Emily in Paris “ would be renewed for Season 2 at Netflix with production returning next spring in Paris. Netflix does not release viewership numbers but Nielsen said subscribers saw more than 676 million minutes of the series during the first week of release. The show debuted on October 2nd and comprised 10 half-hour episodes of sheer entertainment. There was undoubtedly a sigh of relief from the excited cast as one Netflix show after another gets nixed. While receiving mixed reviews at best, the sheer mindlessness of “Emily in Paris” was a welcome respite from the current state of affairs. Parisians were outraged at its nasty depiction of French culture with the men portrayed as lascivious horndogs, and the women as egomaniacal brats.
The protagonist Emily, a twentysomething from Chicago, saves the bubbleheaded Parisians from their antiquated notions of doing business without utilizing social media-despite the fact she is working for an advertising firm. Her Instagram account, is a focal point of the series, with banal content depicting mediocre scenes of French culture and an equally hackneyed hashtag “Emily in Paris.” We are led to believe her Instagram following of 21,000, which is paltry in the world of social media, makes her an influencer with access to the best parties and top echelons of business. Even more unfortunate is the portrayal of Parisians as lazy, backward, and rude with all the time in the world to enjoy a croissant but little to engage in polite conversation. It seems Emily went to her nearest Barnes and Noble and purchased an “Idiot’s Guide to Paris” as she wears one beret after another, along with outdated tights and color coordinated skirt sets-I thought Paris was the arbiter, not follower of trends. The one Parisian professor who is mildly educated is so stuck up and insufferable that Emily leaves him in the middle of “Swan Lake”-a production he regards with more disdain than smelly socks. All the men are either chefs, advertisers, professors, designers, or perfumers with little diversity of occupation.
Although the inhabitants are portrayed poorly the exact opposite can be said of the City of Paris which is depicted in all its glory. Darren Star created the show, which was originally slated for TV Land and Paramount Network, as a love letter to the City of Paris playing up the romance of the streets and the gloriousness of its architecture. Star is most famous for his television series “Sex and the City” and “Beverly Hills 90210” and has been hitting home-runs in the business for over 30 years. A self proclaimed francophile, Star studied French in elementary school and visited Paris whenever he had the opportunity. His one big regret in his storied career was removing the gay kiss between two lovers in May 1994’s Season 2 finale of “Melrose Place.” He also told the Los Angeles Times after riding high on the success of Sex and the City and Melrose Place he wishes he had quit the show “Central Park West” as it was being overseen by newly inducted CBS head Les Moonves who was focused on the 1995 drama appealing to older audiences with disregard to its quality. Star remarked, “if you’re not following your instincts, it never works.” The 59-year-old has not decided whether he will incorporate the pandemic into “Emily in Paris” but he will continue filming the entire series in France. Star loves telling stories from a female perspective and says the silver living of the pandemic was getting to spend time with his 9-year-old son Evan. Star admitted he is hungry to get back to work; and the public is equally voracious to see what he has in store for the next season of ‘Emily.’