Emily in Paris: Clichés and Controversy

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Ever since it dropped on Netflix, Emily in Paris has sparked quite a debate on its controversy. Although it has been in Netflix’s top ten, critics have been sharing their not-so positive opinions on the newly released show.

Emily in Paris follows an American who arrives in Paris with no grip on the native language, making several mistakes along the way.

For some, it is an enjoyable show to watch, portraying the cute theme of an ‘American in Paris’. For others, the show has sparked outrage from those who consider Paris to be their home, as it exploits all the clichés and stereotypes. “Between the beret, the cocktail dresses and the impeccable streets, Parisians had a hard time recognising their everyday life,” RTL, the French radio station, wrote on its website.

Viewers claimed that one of the scenes would never happen in present day Paris; a scene of a photo shoot where a lean blonde Serbian model walks across a bridge naked, only wearing the scent of a perfume. Léo Bigiaoui, a 29-year-old videographer said, “It’s a parody of the nudity they used in publicity 20 or 30 years ago!”.

Florence Coupry, a 33-year-old executive at a top French strategic communications firm, claimed that she believes the exaggeration of the clichés is intentional. “This is a programme about extreme clichés, cliché after cliché. Whoever made this is clearly having fun with the clichés. As viewers, we’re being played with here.”

Lucas Bravo, who stars in the series as Gabriel (love interest, chef and neighbor to Emily), spoke on the recent criticisms towards Emily in Paris. In fact, he somewhat agreed with the criticism saying that“I think they’re right in a way.” He further elaborated by saying, “We’re portraying clichés and we’re portraying one single vision of Paris. Paris is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have so many ways of thinking, so many different nationalities, so many different neighbourhoods. A lifetime wouldn’t be enough to know everything that’s going on in Paris.” A little secret: contrary to her character, Lily Collins actually speaks French and Lucas Bravo used to be a sous chef in real life!

However, one thing rang true for many of the viewers. In one of the episodes, Emily asks her boss Sylvie why she won’t get to know her, to which Sylvie replies: “You come to Paris. You walk into my office. You don’t even bother to learn the language. You treat the city like it’s your amusement park. And after a year of food, sex, wine and maybe some culture, you’ll go back to where you came from.”

Nevertheless, Emily in Paris is a fun show to watch, providing a refreshing escape from real life. It contains little Sex and the City Easter eggs, and has a tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Emily in Paris is a great show to watch as a pick me up, so grab some friends, find your wackiest outfit and have an Emily in Paris Marathon!